A lengthy report released today regarding the Boeing Max 737 crash in Ethiopia in March, 2019, found that the executives at the airline manufacturer continues to deny any flaws in the design, manufacture or certification process of the new plane that killed 346 people in two crashes.
U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee headed by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) released the 200+ page report early this morning (Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020) that includes a 33-page Executive Summary with a host of findings regarding Boeing’s mistakes and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) deficiencies.
The reaction of the families of the crash of Ethiopian Flight 302 was swift. The report begins with the story of Paul Njoroge of Canada whose entire family was killed on their trip to Kenya to visit grandparents.
Njoroge said of the Committee’s report, “In light of the findings by the House Committee, the flying public should be left in a state of quandary as to the safety of flying in a Boeing plane. The report documents clear dereliction of duty by Boeing and the FAA in the design and certification process of the 737 MAX. This is not new to me and should not be new to the flying public. In my testimony before the House Committee in July 2019, I spoke about the breakdown in corporate governance within Boeing; about the management’s focus on profit-maximization and share price pumpage. In the House Committee’s report, Scott Campbell, Boeing’s 737 General Manager, ignored the June 2018’s safety concerns from Edward Pierson, a senior Boeing plant supervisor at the company’s Renton, Washington 737 MAX production factory. Mr. Campbell went on to state that ‘Boeing is a profit-making organization.’ It is, therefore, clear that at Boeing safety comes after cost-cutting, profit-maximization and share price pumpage. Further, the report has undoubtedly cast the FAA as a ‘captured’ regulator – the FAA is therefore an agency promoting Boeing and the industry, instead of promoting the safety of the flying public.
“It’s perplexing that despite the already exposed culture of malpractices by Boeing and the FAA, their principals continue to hubristically purport that ‘safety is their number one priority.’ If that is truly the case, the production, recertification and ungrounding process of the 737 MAX planes should be halted until the FAA recaptures its authority over Boeing and until Boeing builds a corporate governance framework that re-aligns it with its fundamental responsibility of manufacturing safe planes.
“I would like to remind the public that in his safety-concerns-email to Mr. Campbell, Mr. Pierson noted that he was hesitant about putting his family on a Boeing airplane. He was an informed person. I was not informed and this cost me the lives of everybody who mattered in my life. Therefore, be informed that a Boeing plane kills,” Njoroge said.
Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya Rose Stumo died with all 157 on board, said in reaction to the report, “The FAA should immediately halt the recertification process for the 737 MAX in light of this report. The FAA and Boeing hid information before and are doing it again. I asked Dennis Muilenberg to provide data on the MAX fix in October 2019 and he said he would try. We also asked FAA last October to provide documents detailing the protocols and test data for the MAX fix through a Freedom of Information request. Both Boeing and FAA have refused to provide their data that support their efforts to unground the plane. The MAX should not fly until Boeing and the FAA provide this data so independent experts and the public can confirm the aircraft is safe.”
Brittney Riffel of Redding, California, lost her husband and brother in law in the crash. She was seven months pregnant at the time and their daughter, Emma who was born two months after the crash and never got to see her father. Riffel said, “If you fly on a Boeing aircraft, I fear for your safety. It is not just about the Boeing 737 MAX8, it is about understanding that Boeing is no longer a company that cares for human safety. Reading this report gives you all the reasons you need to understand and comprehend the extent of Boeing’s complete human negligence and corporate greed. How can we trust Boeing and feel safe in their aircraft, when they still refuse to admit to the mistakes they made in the design and certification of the deadly 737 MAX8.
“It’s even worse to understand that the deaths of 346 innocent lives were completely preventable, but they chose to disregard critical safety issues putting human lives at risk for their profits. Their safety culture is clearly not a priority. The ungrounding of the MAX8 is dangerous and should not be done until ALL critical safety issues are addressed, and currently, they are not. Our families and friends are fighting this uphill battle so we can do all it is in our power to stop this from happening to other people, and to bring what little justice we can for our loved ones. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. The lifelong grief, anguish, despair and mental images of our loved one’s pain and suffering is too much to bear. The MAX8 is a deadly aircraft and will continue to be a deadly aircraft until they start prioritizing our safety over their profits and stop hiding their flaws. It’s scary to think Boeing still considers their 737 MAX8 plane development a success after murdering 346 people,” Riffel said.
Javier de Luis of Massachusetts, whose sister died in the crash, said, “Chairman DeFazio’s report painstakingly lays out the failures by Boeing and the FAA that led to the loss of 346 lives, including my sister. As an aerospace engineer myself, it is distressing to read about the errors, the program pressure, and regulatory failures of the 737 Max program. This is not the way we’re supposed to do things. Most distressing, however, is reading the statements from Mssrs. Teal and Leverkhun, where they say that they don’t consider the development of this airplane to be a failure. That statement is jaw-dropping in its hubris. If 346 deaths in a brand new airplane is not a failure, then what is?”
Zipporah Kuria from the UK, who lost her father in the crash, said, “It would be grossly irresponsible for the 737-8 MAX to be ungrounded given what we know now — it would be foreseeing a plane crash happen and ignoring it. We’ve already done that and if don’t learn from history, it will keep repeating itself.
“These crashes are symptoms of the cancer that is Boeing financial-centered culture. It is hair raising that the 737-8 MAX went through Boeing’s standard process of design and manufacture and was deemed safe. It is more concerning that the FAA co-signed. We’re not just dealing with mistakes and misfortune, we are dealing with outright deception and gross negligence, and life is the price that we will continue to pay if this is left unchecked.
“My heart is shattered. My dad lost his life and I lost him. If I’d lost him because of a faulty sensor, I may have come to accept it as an incident, but I lost my dad to greed, corruption and lack of human decency. This is why we need to Axe the MAX. The public shouldn’t continue bearing the cost for corner cutters who do not seem to have a conscious,” Kuria said.
Kuria put together two videos of her thoughts on the possibility of the Boeing 737 MAX8 being flown again. A link to her videos, as well as the petition to “Axe the Max” she initiated, www.Change.org, can be found here:
Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and Lead Counsel in the litigation pending in federal district court in Chicago, said, “It is clear that Boeing executives continue to defend the design of a faulty airplane to Congress and in the Chicago-based litigation on behalf of the families who lost loved ones. Most importantly, Boeing also continues to try to prevent disclosure of all the steps it took to cover up known defects after the first crash five months prior to the second MAX8 crash in Ethiopia. We will continue to push forward in seeking justice for the families and the flying public.”
For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).