Boeing has agreed to pay Ksh273,875,000,000 to victims of two plane crashes following the conclusion of a case filed in the US Department of Justice (DOJ). According to an announcement from DOJ, Ksh54,775,000,000 of the amount will be used to compensate victims’ families of the Indonesian and Ethiopian crashes that involved Boeing 737 Max 8 jets.
Boeing was accused of conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after failing to disclose information about the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) in its planes, reported to have caused the two accidents. “The Boeing Company (Boeing) has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane,” said the DOJ in a statement on its website.
The case also involved compensation of families that lost their loved ones in the two accidents. “According to the settlement agreement with the DOJ, Boeing will establish a Ksh54,775,000,000 fund to compensate the families of the 346 victims who died in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines ET302 in Ethiopia and the Lion Air JT610 in Indonesia,” said Mr Manuel von Ribbeck of Ribbeck Law Chartered who represents around 88 families in the case.
Each family is expected to receive Ksh153,370,000, once the agreement is executed. “We have facilitated all the families we represented from both Boeing MAX 8 crashes to get their money from two other funds previously established by Boeing pro bono and we will represent again the majority of the families of passengers and crew members from the Max 8 crashes to collect the settlement proceeds as soon as this fund is established,” added Ribbeck.
In the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 10, 2019, all 149 passengers and crew on board perished, among them 32 Kenyans.
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“The loss of our clients’ kin, unfortunately, can never be reversed, but we believe that Boeing will correct its errors in future manufacturing of planes. Ribbeck Law, our Chicago counterparts, will immediately begin processing of the extra funds for our clients and we further expect to conclude the remaining cases within the next 3-months to ensure families get compensated promptly,” said David Njoroge, Partner at Igeria & Ngugi Advocates, the Nairobi law firm that handled the crashes with Ribbeck Law.
The FAA later found out that the accident may have been caused by a new feature in the Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610- a Boeing 737 MAX- crashed shortly after takeoff in Indonesia, an accident said to have been caused by the same feature. At least 189 people died in the accident.