Coroner says Britons who died in the Boeing 737 crash were killed illegally
In 2019, 157 people died on a Boeing 737 Max plane in Ethiopia, including Sam Pegram, Oliver Vick, and Joanna Toole.
Before the inquest into the deaths of their loved ones, the lawyers for the families wanted a finding of unlawful killing.
The court heard that a design problem caused flight ET302 from Addis Ababa to Kenya to crash soon after it took off.
The flight control software, which was supposed to make the plane easier and more reliable to fly, was activated at the wrong time because a sensor failed. This sent the plane into a fatal dive.
Even though the pilots tried to get back in control of the plane, it crashed in farmland outside of the city of Ethiopia.
West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said that the crash happened because of a series of problems with how the flight control software, called MCAS, was made and used.
She said that two workers for the company had lied to regulators and pilots of the 737 Max about how to use a safety-critical system.
‘Like losing part of yourself’
At the inquiry, Mr. Pegram’s parents said that their son, a 25-year-old humanitarian worker, was kind, caring, and had a funny sense of humor that got under your skin.
His father Mark said, “He cared deeply about human rights and had the drive and inner strength to make a difference.”
Ms. Toole’s father told how his 36-year-old daughter, a sustainability activist, had “the rare combination of empathy for both animals and people.”
He also said that losing a kid was like losing a part of yourself.
Cheryl Vick, Mr. Vick’s mother, said that he was a loving father to his girls and worked hard to make the world a better place for as many people as possible. Mr. Vick was also a humanitarian worker.
Abdulqadir Qasim was a Somali refugee who came to the UK when he was 25. He was on his way to Kenya for a job interview when the plane crashed.
There was no investigation into his death, but on Monday, his wife Qamar gave a video statement in court about what a “wonderful husband and father” he was.
She said that his youngest son was a baby when the crash happened and couldn’t remember his dad.
Before the crash in Ethiopia, another Boeing 737 Max with the same problem crashed into the sea off the coast of Indonesia, killing 189 people.
After the two crashes, the 737 Max was taken out of service for 20 months.
The company has admitted that it is to blame for the loss of the Ethiopian flight, but in return for $2.5 billion (£1.9 billion) in fines and compensation, the US government agreed not to prosecute them.