On March 10th, 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed outside of Addis Ababa, and killed every last one of the 157 people who were on board. This horrific incident came mere months after a Lion Air plane also crashed into the Java Sea, killing 189 people. As investigators continue to piece together what happened in the aftermath of these accidents, one connection has become obvious to the public: Both planes were Boeing 737 Max models, and both crashes may have been caused by the same erratic flight-control system.
Although Boeing has repeatedly tried to quell rumors that the 737 Max planes were ever unfit for the air, investigators have reason to believe that Boeing Company may have known about the unpredictable flight-control mechanism at the heart of the crashes – and done nothing to correct it. Worse still, some have claimed that Boeing actively tried to cover up this problem, and failed to properly inform pilots and other airline professionals about the risks.
What Caused the Boeing Crashes?
According to experts, the primarily problem behind the crashes was an issue with the new automatic flight-control system, called the Maneuvering Characteristic Augmentation System, or MCAS. Because Boeing had added a larger engine under their existing single-aisle jet to create the Boeing 737 Max series, these planes already came with a fundamental design flaw: The nose of a Boeing 737 Max tends to pitch upwards, and drift too high when flying manually.
To correct this problem, the MCAS would supposedly activate when the plane drifted up too far, and push the jet nose back down. In theory, this system would reduce the risk of stalling mid-air, and thus the risk of a plane crash. However, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, Boeing withheld some crucial information about the MCAS system and how it operated – including from the very pilots and FAA officials who operated and tested their planes. While the investigations are still ongoing, it’s believed that this lack of transparency may have contributed to the crashes.
Seeking Accountability from Airplane Manufacturers
When we fly on commercial airplanes, we generally expect that these vehicles will be safe, given the incredible advances in technology and aerospace engineering that have been implemented over the last few decades. Unfortunately, many airlines and manufacturers have become somewhat complacent in this fact, and have begun to prioritize profits over people. By hiding key design flaws and withholding critical information about their flight-control system, Boeing and the two airlines involved in these crashes may be liable for the 346 deaths that happened over the last year.
At Martin Jean & Jackson, our hearts go out to the victims of both of these deadly accidents. We understand that nothing can bring back the loved ones whose lives were lost. However, we’re committed to holding Boeing Company and the airlines fully accountable for these tragedies. If you have a wrongful death claim against the airlines or Boeing, we can help you find a way to seek justice for your loved one in court.
Contact us at today to speak with our skilled wrongful death team in Oklahoma.