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Families of Max8 crash victims accuse Boeing of playing safety ‘roulette’

Simon Calder’s Travel

Families of Boeing Max 8 crash victims expressed their disappointment after meeting with Department of Justice officials on Thursday to discuss potential criminal charges against the company.

Relatives said they left the meeting “disappointed”, stating that Boeing is playing “roulette” with passenger safety. Two of the company’s Max 8 planes crashed in 2018 and 2019.

The first accident happened in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 189 passengers and crew. The following year, an Ethiopian Airlines flight was lost with 157 people on board. Families of a dozen victims of the Ethiopian Airlines flight met with the DoJ in Washington.

The families say that Boeing violated a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to change its compliance program following the tragedies. As long as the company abided by the agreement, federal prosecutors said they’d ask a judge to dismiss a fraud conspiracy charge against it.

The agreement was set to expire on 7 January 2024, two days after Alaska Airlines flight 1282, in which a door plug blew off the side of one of its planes. Now, the families say the company should be held accountable with a criminal trial.

“Boeing has already admitted it had committed a crime”, Attorney Paul G Cassell said during a news conference on Wednesday. “Charges have been filed in Texas. We simply want that case to move forward and let the jury decide whether Boeing is a criminal or not”.

Naoise Connolly Ryan, who lost her husband Mick Ryan on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, said that the DPA was a “miscarriage of justice right from the start”.

She added: “It should never have come about. Boeing should have been prosecuted for manslaughter for the deaths of 346 people”.

Zipporah Kuria, from London, lost her dad, Joseph Kuria, 55, in the crash. said the meeting had left her “quite disheartened” and that it was “really disappointing.”

“What is required to do the right thing? Do we need another crash?” she said.

“We have to hope and pray that they will do the right thing and do their jobs in this situation…it’s not about a miscarriage of justice any more it’s about the public’s safety.”

She added: “We are literally putting our lives in the hands of people who do not mind playing a roulette game, risking our lives. They do not mind if we are the price that has to be paid over and…

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