A Kenyan believes Boeing should scrap the 737 Max and that the company’s top executives should resign and face criminal charges for not grounding the plane after a deadly accident last October.
Five months after that crash, Paul Njoroge’s wife and three young children were killed when another 737 Max went down near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, shortly after takeoff.
If Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration had done their jobs properly, Njoroge told The Associated Press, “these planes would have been grounded in November and today I would be enjoying summer with my family and playing football with my son.”
Njoroge, who is today due to be the first relative of any of the 346 passengers who died in those crashes to testify before Congress, was born in Kenya and now lives in Toronto, where he works as an investment professional.
A Chicago aviation lawyer, Robert Clifford, sued Boeing on his behalf over the deaths of his wife, Carol, his son and daughters, 6-year-old Ryan, 4-year-old Kelli and 9-month-old Rubi, and his wife’s mother.
Njoroge will be accompanied by Michael Stumo, whose daughter, Samya, also died in the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max.
In testimony he submitted to the House Aviation sub-committee, Njoroge says passengers’ families have several demands that must be met before the Max is allowed to fly again, including a new, top-to-bottom review of the plane by regulators.
In an interview, Njoroge went further, saying the plane should never fly again because of what he considers an irredeemable design flaw.
Because the size and placement of the plane’s engines raised the risk of an aerodynamic stall, Boeing devised flight-control software called MCAS.
Preliminary reports indicate that the software pushed the nose of the plane down in both crashes, and Boeing is working on changes to make MCAS more reliable and easier to control.
Boeing did not tell pilots about MCAS until after the first crash, in October off the coast of Indonesia.
“They didn’t want people to know about the design flaw, and that’s why they kept the existence of MCAS hidden,” Njoroge said.
“I’d like to see (Boeing CEO) Dennis Muilenburg and the executives resign, because they caused the deaths of 346 people,” Njoroge said.
“They should be held liable criminally for the deaths of my wife and my children and my mother-in-law and 152 others in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 because that was preventable.”
Chicago-based Boeing said it lamented the impact that the crashes are having on families of those on board.
“These incidents and the lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come,” the company said in a statement. “We are committed to working with the communities, customers and the aviation industry to help with the healing process."
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