Kenyan families to sue Ethiopian Airlines over the deadly plane crash

A worker walks near a Boeing 737 MAX 8 being built for for Shanghai Airlines at Boeing Co.'s Renton Assembly Plant, Monday, March 11, 2019, in Renton, Wash. Airlines in several countries grounded the same model jetliner Monday following Sunday's crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, the second devastating crash of one of the planes in five months.

Eight Kenyan families who lost relatives in the Ethiopian airlines crash now want Boeing held liable in a case filed in America, citing negligence.

Through a consortium of Kenyan and American lawyers, the families claim the aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines had faulty systems based on preliminary reports they have received.

The lawyers led by Carlos Velasquez and Laban Opande admitted that the case will go through a long process but promised justice not only to the eight families but to all families who were affected in the crash that claimed 157 lives, including 36 Kenyans.

“Obviously what these families want is compensation for their loved ones who died during that unfortunate crash and what we seek to do is file claims against the manufacturer of the aircraft because clearly from what we have, the aircraft had problems with its system that led to the crash,” said Velasquez.

The American lawyers will be in the country for one week to talk to the families who reached out to them and share with them their legal rights as far as the case is concerned.

Opande further stated that the families are more than willing to appear in court, and there are plans to facilitate them if they will be required to appear physically adding that the case may take long to be concluded.

“It is a very difficult case and the families are still in shock but we promise to do our very best and ensure justice is served to them; we will all go through a long process and what we are asking the families is to allow us to carry the legal burden as they deal with emotional and spiritual burden because definitely we cannot help in that,” Opande said.

Some of the affected families have had to bury soil from the crash site since no body was recovered and the DNA analysis will take six months.

The aircraft was the same type of jet as the Indonesian Lion Air plane that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew.

US regulators last month ordered Boeing to make urgent improvements to the best-selling jet involved in a deadly Ethiopia plane crash as investigators worked to piece together the aircraft’s final moments.

Ethiopia said on Tuesday an investigation into the cause of the crash is complete but did not indicate when the final report will be released, with reports indicating that an anti-stall system in the 737 Max was to blame. 

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