Families of victims of the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crash gathered on 10 March near the headquarters of aircraft manufacturer Boeing to denounce what they called “total impunity” over the loss of life.
“It’s been four years and I still can’t get to sleep at night. My entire life is changed, it’s different forever,” said Catherine Berthet of France, who lost her daughter Camille Geoffroy, 28, in the 2019 crash. “This day will always mark the saddest day of my life. I cannot let Boeing forget what they did. I am doing this for my daughter and for everyone who should never have lost their lives on that day. Shortly after the first crash in 2018 of a Boeing 737 MAX, everyone knew the root cause of the crash, especially Boeing executives. This plane fleet should have been immediately grounded. But Boeing preferred to play with the odds and money of its shareholders. Now the flying public needs to know that Boeing has not changed and that the 737 MAX still doesn’t meet the international safety regulations as far as the flight deck alerting system is concerned. This plane is still dangerous.”
Supporters representing those who lost loved ones came from as far away as France and Germany as well as the U.S. and Canada, including two Chinese national families, to honour those killed in the crash. They carried pictures of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash along with placards that speak of demanding justice in the criminal arena.
The first Boeing 737 MAX plane crashed into the Java Sea about nine minutes after taking off from Indonesia on 29 October 2018, killing all 189 on board. The plane was not grounded worldwide until 157 more lives were lost when a second 737 MAX crashed about six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, headed for Kenya. The MAX fleet was grounded for 20 months, the longest grounding of an aircraft in aviation history.
Boeing announced recently that it moved its headquarters from Chicago to its facility in Virginia. The DOJ entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing allowing Boeing executives to avoid criminal charges, a case that was heard in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, where dozens of families were allowed to speak in open court about the terrible losses they have suffered. The DOJ entered into a secret deferred prosecution agreement that did not include the families, an alleged violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. The criminal case there currently is on appeal.
“The murder of our daughter, Danielle Moore, has shattered our family,” said Clariss Moore of Toronto, Canada, who lost her 24-year-old daughter in the crash. “America and the whole world know that Boeing and its CEO committed America’s deadliest corporate crime in American history. Danielle worked tirelessly for justice throughout her 24 years. We will not let the Department of Justice and Boeing take away her voice and the voice of all the victims of ET 302. For four years we have fought tirelessly for justice and demanded that the justice system do what is right. No matter how difficult it may be, we will continue to stand for Danielle, we will continue to pick up the pieces and we will continue to carry Danielle’s torch, until she gets the justice she deserves.”
Berthet added, “The flying public needs to know that no matter what Boeing says, neither the company itself nor its corporate executives have ever been condemned for what has been called the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history. Boeing and its entire management team must be held accountable for manslaughter. The criminal matter must be fully heard so that the victims’ families’ rights are respected.”