A Kenyan family of a victim of the 2019 Ethiopian Airline crash has been paid $3 million by U.S. planemaker Boeing. This is the first Kenyan family out of 32 families from the country to receive a payout after losing their relatives in the deadly crash, according to local media.
“We sought and asked for the largest amount possible to be paid as compensation to the families we represent,” Manuel von Ribbeck from Ribbeck Law Chartered, a U.S. law firm that represented the family, stated after the settlement. “It is important to note however that no amount of money in the world will bring our clients’ beloved family members back.
This is the first settlement in a case by Ribbeck Law Chartered which sued Boeing on behalf of some families who lost their loved ones in the crash. A total of 157 people, including 32 Kenyans, died when the Boeing 737 Max aircraft crashed in March 2019 in the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia. That accident came on the back of a similar Lion Air jet crash in Indonesia in October 2018 that killed 189 people.
Aviation regulators around the world subsequently grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX planes. This September, an investigative report said the plane manufacturer and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were responsible for “repeated and serious failures.” Boeing’s 737 MAX was however cleared by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly again last month.
Boeing, which has lost more than than $20 billion following the crisis, is also facing a series of lawsuits from families of victims. U.S. law firm Ribbeck Law Chartered filed suits against the aircraft maker in a US Federal Court in Chicago following the two fatal crashes. According to Bloomberg, it would cost Boeing at least $1 billion to settle claims. Von Ribbeck has said the plane manufacturer “should not be greatly affected by it”.
“Most of the payments will be made by their insurance and reinsurance companies and as stated by Wall Street firms, Boeing can afford that cost: Boeing has posted record revenues of $101 billion last year and $10.6 billion in profits,” he said.
In July 2019, Boeing promised to give $100 million to help families affected by the deadly crashes of the company’s 737 MAX planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The company said in a statement that the funds will not go directly to the families but will be given to local governments and non-profit organizations to help families with education and living expenses and to improve economic development in affected communities.