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First Commercial Boeing 737 MAX Flight Flies December 29, 2020; Victims’ Families of Ethiopian Crash Remain Steadfast in Their Distrust of Safety of the Aircraft

Families of victims of the Boeing crash of a 737 Max in Ethiopia continue to warn the public about the lack of safety protocols and the flawed design of the aircraft that is set to take its first commercial flight on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020 following the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recent approval to return the aircraft to service in the United States.

Families who lost loved ones in the second crash involving this defective aircraft have been calling for full transparency of all documents that the FAA, Boeing and government officials relied upon in making the decision to return the Boeing 737 Max 8 to the skies. Instead, Boeing has been excessively redacting critical documents that it has provided to the government and to the families’ lawyers who have filed lawsuits pending in federal district court in Chicago.

Families who lost loved ones in the crash of Flight ET302 on March 10, 2019, have consistently questioned the United States’ rush to getting the initially self-certified Boeing plane back in the air without sufficient input from international agencies and sufficient pilot and expert testing, and many have been outspoken that the MAX never should be allowed to fly again.

Javier de Luis of Massachusetts, an engineer who once designed software for space stations lost his sister, a freelance interpreter for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Vatican, in the Boeing crash. He said of the first commercial flight, “In light of the Senate report recently released, it is inconceivable to me that this airplane will be allowed to fly again without a thorough outside review by a panel of experts. The report documented instances of inappropriate coaching of the test pilots by the FAA and Boeing during the certification flights. Add to that the fact that Boeing and the FAA continue to refuse to release any test data, and I have to wonder how is the public ever supposed to trust that these airplanes are safe?”

Nadia Milleron, mother of 24-year-old Samya Rose Stumo of Massachusetts who also perished on the flight, said, “How can we allow passengers to fly on a plane after pilots have been “coached” (cheated) on test flights? Those test flights therefore don’t tell us the planes are safe. In addition, engineers have identified many aspects of this new plane that wouldn’t pass current safety standards but which have been grandfathered in including some which had a role in the crashes: the confusing cockpit alerts. Each safety standard we have has been paid for in blood. Why should we subject passengers to this substandard plane? We have paid the consequences — now we have to implement the lessons. If we don’t, we are risking losing more innocent people. Since the FAA and Boeing won’t make sure the plane is safe, passengers will have to protect themselves and avoid the 737 Max 8.”

Zipporah Kuria of the UK lost her father on the tragic flight that took off from Ethiopia. Of its return to service in the U.S., she said, “Boeing’s claim of reformation is proving to be as baseless as its promise of safety prior to the second crash with its reluctancy to be transparent. It is harrowing that despite what we don’t know, Boeing and the FAA are expecting public trust without transparency — like a spoiled brat, tapping into its parents’ wallets. Public trust is a privilege earned, not an entitlement. Boeing has been extremely untrustworthy, deceitful and profit-driven. It’s clear that Boeing hasn’t learned its lesson, and the public may be left to pay the cost. Coached flights and withholding documents are clear indications that Boeing’s leadership is still riddled with deception and lack of accountability. With that being said, I guess when the deaths of 346 are met with a slap on wrist, wider scope for recklessness is opened. A corporation that continues to manipulate due diligence and to cut corners in matters of life and death should not be trusted with human life. As the families who paid the cost and have been forced to eat the fruit of Boeing’s deceptive patterns, this will not end well. History will keep repeating itself if we don’t learn from it. I pray we’re not to watch a rerun of the horror show our lives have turned into. To the consumers, manufacturers (Boeing) and regulators (FAA) who care more for corporate interest than consumer safety: Our safety is in your hands — please, handle it with care. No one should buy a one-way ticket when they’ve paid for a return.”

The jet will fly first between Miami and New York this morning before expanding the schedule up and down the East Coast and to the Caribbean from American’s 737 MAX base in Miami.

The first crash of a Boeing 737 Max crashed in October 2018 off the coast of Indonesia shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 on board. It was allowed to continue to fly until the second crash killed all 157 on board shortly after takeoff in Ethiopia in March 2019 when the aircraft was grounded worldwide shortly thereafter.

Several family members question the ability of Boeing to correct the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a computer software system new to the Boeing MAX 737 that can control the entire plane’s ability to fly.

“The more than is uncovered about the development of the Boeing 737 MAX, the more distrust unfolds from the families and the flying public,” said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and Lead Counsel on behalf of the plaintiffs’ consolidated litigation in federal district court in Chicago. The firm represents the families of 72 victims from 35 countries around the world including de Luis, Milleron and Kuria. “Through the litigation, we are determined to get the answers that everyone deserves from the tragic crash on March 10, 2019.”

Last week, Congress passed an appropriations omnibus bill that included oversight by the FAA in certifying planes for flight.

For more information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).

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