Partner Of Devon UN Worker Joanna Toole Speaks Out
Lawyers representing the families of several passengers killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crash have welcomed the news that the aircraft is set to remain grounded until at least the summer and urged that all safety issues must be fully and comprehensively resolved before it returns to the skies.
A total of 157 passengers and crew were killed when flight ET302 crashed on 10 March, 2019, shortly after it took off from Addis Ababa. The crash occurred just months after another Max 737 8 operated by Lion Air also crashed into the Java Sea in October 2018 killing all 189 passengers and crew.
While Boeing has been working to improve the safety of the aircraft in the months since the incidents, the company has now confirmed that the model is not expected to be in operation again before the summer.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Aviation Law team represent several families of passengers who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Working with US lawyers, the team is continuing with court proceedings on behalf of their clients against Boeing in Illinois, USA.
Expert Opinion“More than 300 lives have been lost as a result of the two devastating crashes involving the 737 Max 8.
“The aircraft went into service despite a catalogue of mistakes including the failure to train pilots adequately. The decision to keep this aircraft type grounded is essential until there are no longer any remaining questions about its safety and fitness to fly. Whether this can ever be achieved with the Boeing 737 MAX remains uncertain.
“The families we represent are understandably devastated about repeated revelations concerning the problems with the development and introduction of this aircraft and the many opportunities that were missed to prevent the needless and catastrophic loss of their loved ones.
“The ongoing litigation in the US will increase our understanding of the extent of the mistakes that were made as we continue to receive more documentation from Boeing and start to take witness testimony from individuals involved. While we clearly can’t turn the clock back, the families are determined that the full picture will be uncovered, that those at fault will be held to account and that lessons will be learned.” Clive Garner - Partner
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In recent weeks, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also published its report into its review of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Aircraft Certification Process. The step was taken in response to the two 737 Max 8 crashes.
It found that the process for certifying the aircraft was followed by both the FAA and Boeing, but also suggested several steps to improve the process. This included changes to pilot training and communication between FAA and Boeing.
Joanna Toole, a 36-year-old United Nations consultant, from Exmouth, was among those who died on board ET302.
Commenting on the latest developments, her partner Paul Kiernan, said: “Losing Joanna in such tragic circumstances has devastated my life. Jo was a truly special person, she had the biggest heart, she was entirely selfless, and she was passionately dedicated to improving the lives of animals and the fate of our planet.
“To learn from the recent document disclosures and company leaks that our loss and suffering has been caused by the systematic deprioritisation of plane safety by Boeing is incomprehensible. Knowing of the concerns for the safety of the Max 8, I cannot understand how Boeing could make the decision to keep the Max 8 flying after the Lion Air crash. The decision could only have been motivated by commercial interests, and this makes accepting this tragedy so much more difficult.
“I know that I will never be the same person I was on 9 March, 2019. But this has become a fight for justice now, a fight for accountability. We must have the honest answers, and we must hold those responsible to account. And while the focus will inevitably be on the passengers and crew who died in Indonesia and Ethiopia, this fight is relevant to all those who flew on a 737 Max 8 whose lives were similarly risked.”