Boeing reaches settlement with families of 157 killed in 737 plane crash

Manufacturer accepts responsibility for Ethiopian Airways flight losing control after take-off in 2019

People stand near collected debris at the crash site of the Ethiopia Airlines plane near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 11th, 2019. Photograph: Michael Tewelde/AFP/Getty

Boeing has reached a settlement with the families of 157 people killed when a 737-Max aircraft crashed in Ethiopia in March 2019.

The plane manufacturer has accepted responsibility for Ethiopian Airways flight 302 losing control shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

The plane crashed into a nearby town. There were no survivors.

Micheál Ryan, a married father-of-two from Lahinch, Co Clare and a United Nations aid worker was killed in the crash.

Micheál Ryan was an engineer who worked for the UN World Food Programme’s engineering division and was two weeks short of his 40th birthday at the time of the crash.

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

In its settlement, Boeing 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 settlement does not involve monetary compensation to the families, according to court records, but it does allow victims’ families to pursue individual claims in US courts instead of their home country, which might be more difficult.

“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. – AP