The brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes have now been grounded worldwide after the second deadly 737 Max 8 crash, a crash that occurred in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019. On March 29, 2019, it was announced that black box data review suggested a faulty sensor activated an automated system on the jet, similar to the events of the late 2018 crash of another Boeing 737 Max 8 in Indonesia. On March 17, 2019, preliminary analysis of data from the black boxes obtained after the crashes indicates notable similarities between the March 2019 Ethiopia crash and the earlier Indonesia 737 Max 8 crash. As noted by the New York Times, Boeing’s public statements about rushing out software changes for the high-tech planes “amount to a tacit admission by Boeing that its automated system was flawed.”
Startling new information emerged on March 19th, 2019 that the day before the October 2019 Lion Air 737 Max 8 crash, an off-duty extra pilot who happened to be in the cockpit was able to help the Lion Air crew struggling to control their diving airplane by correctly diagnosing the problem and showing the crew how to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system to save the plane. As reported by Bloomberg, “The next day, under command of a different crew facing what investigators said was an identical malfunction, the same jetliner crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 aboard.”
Airlines, airports, airplane manufacturers, and governmental agencies have the duty to protect the safety and security of passengers. The additional groundings account for about 40 percent of all 737 MAX aircraft in service. Lieff Cabraser is committed to helping ensure that passenger safety and security is the aviation industry’s number one priority.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 took off from Addis Ababa in good weather with clear skies bound for Nairobi, Kenya, but struggled to attain a stable speed, prompting the pilot to issue a distress call and gain clearance to return to Addis Ababa. Tragically, the plane lost contact with air traffic six minutes after takeoff and then crashed, killing all 189 people on board. In response to FAA demands for “design changes” to the aircraft, Boeing announced on March 12, 2019 that it would be rushing out a software update for the planes as soon as possible, “no later than April.”
A two-hour shuttle between two of the busiest capitals in East Africa, Flight 302 carried passengers from at least four continents, including Africa, Europe, China, and the United States. As reported by the New York Times, the passengers also included delegates traveling to Nairobi for a week long UN environmental summit. The Times also noted, “While the cause of the crash is unclear, the disaster is certain to raise more doubts about the safety of the 737 Max 8, one of Boeing’s fastest-selling airplanes.” (The crashed 737 Max 8 appears to be identical to the Lion Air Max 8 that crashed in October 2018 in Indonesia).
With offices in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, and relations with lawyers worldwide, Lieff Cabraser is uniquely positioned to investigate and answer questions in connection with suspected defects in 737 Max 8 planes. Our attorneys work as a team with researchers, analysts, and other staff members, drawing upon their combined knowledge, training, and skills to provide our clients with decades of experience in the field of aviation law.