Man who lost his family on Boeing 737 Max says company executives should face criminal charges

A man who lost his family in the crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia earlier this year is calling for Boeing to ditch the plane and for its executives to resign and face criminal charges.

Paul Njoroge, who lost is wife, mother-in-law and three young children in the crash, is expected to testify Wednesday before Congress. He told The Associated Press that he believed the planes should have been grounded after a crash in Indonesia last year, but they instead kept flying until another crash in Ethiopia claimed the lives of his family members.


“I’d like to see Dennis Muilenburg and the executives resign, because they caused the deaths of 346 people,” Njoroge told the AP, referring to Boeing's CEO. “They should be held liable criminally for the deaths of my wife and my children and my mom-in-law and 152 others in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 because that was preventable.”

Njoroge claimed that if the company and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had done their jobs correctly, “these planes would have been grounded in November and today I would be enjoying summer with my family, I would be playing football with my son.”

Boeing has apologized publicly to families affected by the crash, but Njoroge told the AP that he had not received personal condolences. 

“It would be very important if Boeing executives can meet with the family members in person and apologize to them,” he said, adding that he believed the Ethiopian Airlines crash was "preventable."

Boeing told The Hill in a statement Tuesday that it was committed to working with communities in the "healing process."

“We truly regret the loss of lives in both of these accidents and we are deeply sorry for the impact to the families and loved ones of those on board," the company said. "These incidents and the lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come."

"We are committed to working with the communities, customers and the aviation industry to help with the healing process,” the spokesperson continued, adding that the company is "cooperating fully" with investigators.

The FAA referred The Hill to acting Administrator Daniel Elwell's remarks on the matter during a May 15 House hearing, in which he said the decision to ground the Max was "based upon crash site findings and satellite data that together indicated some similarities between the Ethiopian and Indonesian accidents that warranted further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause."

"I also want to take this opportunity to express my sincerest condolences on behalf of the entire FAA to the victims and their families of both Ethiopia Flight 302 and Lion Flight 610," he said. "I want to emphasize at the outset that the FAA welcomes scrutiny that helps make us better."

The Hill has reached out to Boeing for comment. 

A total of 346 people were killed in a Lion Air crash in Indonesia last year and the Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this year, both of which took place on Boeing 737 Max planes. 

Preliminary reports on both incidents found that faulty sensor readings may have triggered the planes' anti-stall system that pushed the noses of the aircrafts downward. Boeing did not tell pilots about the company's devised flight-control software called MCAS until after the first crash.

The planes have been grounded in the U.S. and other countries.