Boeing Agrees to Settle With Ethiopia 737 Max Crash Victims

After the Ethiopian crash, U.S. authorities grounded the 737-Max until Boeing could fix the plane's faulty software

An Ethiopian relative of a crash victim mourns and grieves next to a floral tribute at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Friday, March 15, 2019. Analysis of the flight recorders has begun in France, the airline said Friday, while in Ethiopia officials started taking DNA samples from victims' family members to assist in identifying remains.
AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene

Boeing has reached an agreement with the families of the victims of a March 2019 crash in Ethiopia of one of its 737-Max aircraft that claimed 157 lives.

In the agreement, Boeing accepted responsibility for Ethiopian Airways flight 302 losing control shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. The plane nose-dived into a barren patch of land about 40 miles (65 kilometers) from Addis Ababa. There were no survivors.



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At the time, it was the second crash to involve a Boeing 737-Max aircraft in six months. After the Ethiopian crash, U.S. authorities grounded the 737-Max until Boeing could fix the plane's faulty software.

In court documents filed Wednesday in federal court in Chicago, where Boeing is based, the company admitted that its software was to blame for ET 302's loss of control and destruction, and that the 737-Max was in an “unsafe condition” to fly. Boeing's 737-Max were recertified to start flying again earlier this year.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said the 737 Max will be allowed to fly again. The plane was grounded for 20 months following two crashes that resulted in more than 300 fatalities.

The agreement does not involve monetary compensation to the families as of Wednesday, according to court records, but it does allow victims' families to pursue individual claims in U.S. courts instead of their home country. The crash killed people of 35 nationalities.

It allows Boeing to consolidate its 737-Max legal issues to the U.S. while allowing victims' families to access the U.S. legal system, which is more equipped to handle such cases.

“This is a significant milestone for the families in their pursuit of justice against Boeing, as it will ensure they are all treated equitably and eligible to recover full damages under Illinois law while creating a pathway for them to proceed to a final resolution, whether through settlements or trial,” said Robert Clifford, Steven Marks and Justin Green, the lead attorneys representing the victims, in a statement.

On the anniversary of the first of two deadly crashes involving Boeing 737 Max jets, the comany's CEO has apologized to families affected by the air disasters. Dennis Muilenburg made the apology at a Capitol Hill hearing Tuesday.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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