Ongoing Questions Remain About The Cause Of The Crash and Aviation Safety And Inquest proceedings In The UK Are Delayed
Following the third anniversary of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX Flight ET302, the families of those who died on 10th March 2019 have spoken of their concerns and frustrations following further delays to the publication of the final accident report.
The families are very concerned about how aviation authorities decided to allow Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to fly once more before publication of the official final accident report into Flight ET 302 - the flight which caused the MAX’s worldwide grounding. At the same, the continuing wait for publication of the accident report has caused significant delay to the Inquest proceedings into the deaths of British passengers.
Sam Pegram, aged 25, from Preston, and fellow UK nationals, Joanna Toole, aged 36, from Exmouth and Oliver Vick, aged 45, were among 157 passengers and crew killed when flight ET302 crashed on 10 March, 2019, six minutes after the 737 Max aircraft took off from Addis Ababa, en route to Nairobi in Kenya.
In March 2021, the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport announced that they were preparing to ‘…release the final accident investigation report in the near future’, but 12 months on and 3 years after the accident the report still remains unpublished.
Following the world-wide grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, the FAA in the US, EASA in the EU and the CAA in the UK all re-certified the aircraft type as fit to fly last year even though the precise causes of the crash of flight ET302 have not been identified following the official accident investigation.
At the same time, the inquest proceedings in to the deaths of the English passengers have been delayed by the late publication of the final accident report. A pre-inquest review hearing has been adjourned several times due to the late publication of the final report.
The hearing is now scheduled to take place on 29th June, but it remains to be seen whether the final accident report will be published in sufficient time for this to proceed.
Most of the British victims’ families are being represented by Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Aviation Law Team, including Clive Garner. The team are supporting the families in ongoing civil court proceedings against Boeing in Chicago, USA, together with US colleagues from Kreindler and Kreindler.
Expert Opinion“The continuing delays with the publication of the final accident report into Flight ET302 are a cause of increasing concern and frustration for the families of the passengers who lost their lives onboard this aircraft. Our clients have been waiting for more than 3 years to see the results of the official investigation and to fully understand the circumstances leading to the loss of their loved ones.
“Despite assurances by the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport back in March 2021 that the final accident report would soon be published, it still remains unavailable and the wait for the results of the official investigation goes on.
“We and our clients have raised questions previously about the re-certification of the Boeing 737 MAX and why this occurred without consideration of the final accident report on Flight ET302. These concerns remain and the final report could contain important information relevant to the safety of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and the decisions of civil aviation authorities to lift the world-wide flight ban on this aircraft type.
“Publication of the final report will also enable the long delayed inquest proceedings to progress further towards their conclusion, thereby closing another chapter in this tragedy for the families we represent.
“Obviously the investigations into the circumstances leading to the crash of Flight ET302 and the deaths of 157 passengers and crew need to be thorough and comprehensive. It is crucially important that the findings are accurate and that they can be relied upon confidently by all. That said, it is now 3 years after the accident and the continuing delays in publication of the report are unacceptable, particularly as 12 months ago assurances were made that the report was in its “final stages”. The report is now long overdue and it is essential that it is published at the earliest possible opportunity.” Clive Garner - Consultant
Mark Pegram, the father of Sam Pegram, who was working for the Norwegian Refugee Council when he died in the crash of ET302, said: “It’s hard to believe that we are still waiting for the official report three years on from the accident.
“We have already seen agreements being drawn up to give Boeing immunity from criminal prosecution in the US and the lifting of the international flight ban before the report is even published. We need the report for the inquest and for all of us to be able to move forward from what has been a devastating experience for all involved.”
Joanna Toole’s father, Adrian Toole, added: “For this process to move forward, we need to see that accident report and the ongoing delays are becoming increasingly hard to understand or accept.
“Allowing the 737 MAX to fly before the official accident report for Flight ET302 has even been published or the inquest into our loved ones has been held is astonishing.
“All we are asking for is the truth and transparency and the sooner we see this report published the better.”