Boeing crash families demand $25B penalty

  • Victims’ families seek prosecutions and a record $25 billion fine.
  • Boeing CEO apologises but faces intense backlash.

OUR TAKE
The fight for a $25bn fine against Boeing is more than a legal battle; it’s a moral crusade. It symbolises the collective agony and unyielding resolve of the victims’ families to prevent such tragedies from ever occurring again. Their courage in seeking justice transforms their personal grief into a powerful force for change. By holding Boeing accountable, they honour the memory of their loved ones and safeguard future generations from similar heartbreak. This struggle is a testament to the enduring power of human resilience and the profound impact of demanding truth and justice.
Dudu, BTW reporter

The families of victims from two Boeing 737 Max crashes are demanding prosecutions and a record fine of $24.8 billion (€22.6 billion) for what they describe as “the deadliest corporate crime in US history.” Their lawyer, Paul Cassell, asserts that the sum is “justified and clearly appropriate” given the “enormous human costs of Boeing’s crimes.”

What happened

In October 2018, a Lion Air flight crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 passengers shortly after take-off from Jakarta, Indonesia. In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight met a similar fate, crashing six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa and resulting in 157 fatalities. Both tragedies were attributed to faulty flight control systems in the Boeing 737 Max.

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Why it’s important

These crashes exposed serious flaws in Boeing’s safety protocols and corporate practices. Calhoun admitted the company’s mistakes and acknowledged past retaliations against whistleblowers, pledging to listen and improve. The Justice Department is now considering reviving a dormant criminal fraud charge against Boeing, initially linked to the crashes. The case may hinge on recent violations of a previous settlement agreement, which included an incident where a door panel flew off a 737 Max during a flight.

Opinion: A call to corporate responsibility

The devastation experienced by these families underscores a broader issue within corporate culture – the prioritisation of profit over safety. Boeing’s failures are not isolated incidents but symptoms of a systemic problem that values cost-cutting over human lives. This case serves as a crucial reminder that corporations must be held to the highest standards of integrity and responsibility. The public’s trust in aviation safety hinges on stringent oversight and accountability.

The emotional impact of these crashes is immeasurable. Behind every statistic is a person whose life was cut tragically short and a family left to navigate a sea of grief. The raw pain expressed by the families is a poignant reminder that corporate negligence has real, devastating consequences. This case is a sobering call to action for stronger regulations and more transparent corporate practices.

Doris-Du

Doris Du

Doris Du is an intern reporter at BTW Media. She graduated with a master's degree in Translating and Interpreting from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Send tips to d.du@btw.media.

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