Boeing and the “manslaughter” of the 157 killed in the Ethiopian Air crash

A few days ago, I commented that:

If the Ethiopian Air crash is a repeat of the Lion Air crash then Boeing has blood on its hands

Well it now seems that Ethiopian crash was indeed a repeat.

And if that is so then there is clearly a case of “manslaughter” possible against Boeing for the 157 lives lost in the Ethiopian crash (though the deaths in the Lion Air crash would be due to “misadventure” rather than “manslaughter”).


Dan Elwell, acting administrator at the FAA, said on Wednesday: “It became clear to all parties that the track of the Ethiopian Airlines [flight] was very close and behaved very similarly to the Lion Air flight.”

Up until Wednesday, the FAA position was that a review had showed “no systemic performance issues” and that there was no basis for grounding the aircraft.

Earlier in the day, Canada grounded the planes after its transport minister Marc Garneau said he had received new evidence about the crash.

He said that satellite data showed possible similarities between flight patterns of Boeing 737 Max planes operating in Canada and the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed.

The flight data is remarkably unstable.

Within the last 12 months I have replaced a phone, a pair of speakers and a router since replacement was cheaper than the diagnosis and repair of a fault. The sophistication of technology in a large number of human appliances (white goods, cars, phones and airplanes) is now such that faults can no longer be rectified by the user. The frequency of faults is declining but when the consequence is the loss of life, that provides no comfort. Specialists – and usually more than one – are needed. In many cases the fault cannot be diagnosed and the faulty appliance is just replaced — with another probably containing the same fault.



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