Families Seek Unlawful Killing Verdict for Boeing 737 Max Crash Victims
More than four years have passed since a tragic incident occurred when a Boeing 737 Max airliner crashed near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, claiming the lives of 157 people.
As an inquest finally commences in Horsham, West Sussex, three British citizens’ deaths on board the flight will be examined. This moment holds immense significance for the families of the victims as their lawyers aim to secure a verdict of unlawful killing.
Remembering the Lives Lost
Among the victims were humanitarian workers Sam Pegram and Oliver Vick, as well as sustainability campaigner Joanna Toole. Deborah, Sam’s mother, reflects on her son’s life, describing him as a joy and someone who always wanted to help others.
She and her family have endured a challenging four-year period, fighting for justice and compensation for Sam. The toll of reliving the tragedy repeatedly has left them emotionally exhausted.
Boeing’s Responsibility and Lack of Accountability
The crash of Flight ET302 resulted from a design flaw, with flight control software deploying at an inappropriate time due to a sensor failure. This error caused the aircraft to enter a fatal dive, despite the pilots’ desperate efforts to prevent it.
However, it can be argued that the plane should never have taken off following a similar crash involving the same model in Indonesia, which claimed 189 lives. Boeing eventually accepted responsibility for the ET302 crash but, through a quiet agreement with the US government, gained immunity from prosecution by paying fines and compensation.
Seeking Justice and Holding Accountable
Tom, Sam’s brother, expresses his frustration at the lack of accountability for the disaster and the absence of individuals responsible for the loss of hundreds of lives facing consequences. He questions the concept of justice when those responsible are not held accountable years after the incident. Despite Boeing’s claims of implementing significant safety improvements, the families view their words as hollow and seek tangible actions.
Honoring the Victims and Promoting Humanitarian Causes
The Pegram family’s primary focus now is to preserve Sam’s memory. They plan to establish a charitable foundation using the compensation funds from Boeing, dedicated to promoting the causes Sam deeply cared about, including assisting refugees, asylum seekers, and young individuals who wish to engage in humanitarian work. Through this initiative, they aim to ensure that Sam’s legacy continues to make a positive impact.
The Inquest as a Symbolic Step Towards Justice
Considering that the crash took place in Ethiopia and most legal battles have occurred in the United States, the inquest is perceived as a crucial step in the process. It serves as the sole formal inquiry into the incident within the United Kingdom, and while the verdict may be largely symbolic, it carries the potential to send a powerful message.
Additionally, for Adrian, Joanna Toole’s father, the inquest provides a platform to emphasize the loss suffered due to his daughter’s untimely death and its impact on her partner, Paul, as well as the broader international sustainability efforts.