Boeing crash victims’ families demand bosses’ prosecution and £20bn fine

Families of the victims killed in two plane crashes have called for Boeing bosses to be prosecuted and the airline to be fined nearly £20billion for failing to honour its safety pledge

Clariss Moore of Toronto, Canada, holds a photograph of her daughter Danielle Moore and stands with other family members of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610

Clariss Moore of Toronto, Canada, holds a photograph of her daughter Danielle Moore and stands with other family members of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610

Boeing bosses must be prosecuted and the plane-maker fined almost £20bn for not honouring its safety pledge after two air crashes, say victims’ families.

In all, 346 people died when two of its new 737 Max jets plunged out of the sky in 2018 and 2019. The disasters were dubbed “the deadliest corporate crime in US history”.

The families’ lawyer, Paul Cassell, said the £20billion would be “justified” given the “enormous human costs of Boeing’s crimes”. He said the US government should prosecute those then leading Boeing, including CEO Dennis Muilenburg. The first crash was in October 2018, when a 737 Max 8 operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air dived into the Java Sea. The second was in March 2019, when an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 crashed six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

READ MORE: Boeing plane drops 4,000ft per minute as pilot performs ‘roller coaster’ move to avoid crash





346 people died when two of Boeing’s new 737 Max jets plunged out of the sky in 2018 and 2019
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

Flaws in the planes’ software that took control from the pilots without their knowledge were found to have played a role in both crashes. Investigators concluded that an external sensor sent the wrong data to onboard computers, which then lowered the plane’s nose.

The families’ push for charges and a giant fine comes as the US Justice Department considers whether to revive a criminal fraud charge against Boeing. In a 2021 settlement it admitted misleading air safety regulators about the Max but was protected from prosecution after it promised to improve safety procedures.





Relatives of Boeing airplane crash victims demonstrate before Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

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After a door panel blew out of a 737 Max in January, leaving a gaping hole in the passenger cabin, the Justice Department opened a probe into Boeing. Prosecutors decided that the 2021 settlement had been broken by the firm.

During a hearing of the Homeland Security investigations subcommittee on Tuesday, Senator Richard Blumenthal said there is “mounting evidence” that Boeing should now be prosecuted. The US firm had insisted it had met its obligations under the 2021 deal.

Outgoing CEO David Calhoun defended Boeing’s safety record. He acknowledged it had made mistakes but said it had “learned” from the past. He admitted Boeing had retaliated against whistleblowers but insisted he had “listened” to those employees.