The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that a bad sensor reading prior to the March 2019 crash of a Boeing 737 Max shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa was caused by impact with an object, most likely a bird. This finding contradicts the conclusion of Ethiopia’s aviation authority that the false readings were caused by electrical issues that had existed since the plane was manufactured, however, the NTSB claims that no details were provided to support this.
The crash killed all 157 people on board and was preceded by a similar crash in Indonesia 5 months prior that killed 189 people, leading to a worldwide grounding of all Max jets for nearly two years. Now, Boeing is set to be arraigned Thursday in a federal court in Texas on a charge of defrauding the United States. In response to this, families of crash victims have asked the court for time to speak after Boeing enters a plea.
The families are pushing the Justice Department to reopen a 2021 settlement in which Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion in exchange for not facing criminal prosecution over the way it obtained regulatory approval for the plane. However, both Boeing and the Justice Department oppose this request from the families of crash victims.
The NTSB’s determination of a bad sensor reading being caused by impact with an object, most likely a bird, is an important step forward in understanding the cause of the two crashes and bringing justice to the families of those who were killed. The arraignment of Boeing in a federal court and the families of crash victims seeking more accountability for the company are both part of a larger attempt to hold Boeing accountable for their actions and ensure that similar tragedies do not occur in the future.