The United States Congress on Wednesday heard directly from those victims’ loved ones as the pressure continues to build on Congress to hold the FAA and Boeing accountable for answers in the deadly accidents.
“The Boeing 737 max crashes killed my wife, my three children, my mom in law, and 341 others,” Paul Njoroge said.
Sitting in front of a House Aviation Committee Njoroge just wanted lawmakers to know his story. “I wanted them to relate to our pain, I wanted them to know that it is a global tragedy,” he said.
Paul Njoroge lost his three children, wife and mother-in-law in the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. The loss of the Ethiopian Airlines’ flight was the second fatal accident involving a 737 Max in five months.
A near-identical aircraft, owned by the Indonesian carrier Lion Air, went down in the sea off Jakarta in October 2018.
The 737 airplane model has been grounded since then. Boeing’s decision not to ground the 737 Max after the first crash is now under scrutiny.
In emotional testimony to US Congress, Njoroge said: “All I could think about was the 737 Max struggling to gain height and eventually diving to the ground, killing my whole family and 152 others. Every minute of every day they would be all around me, full of life and health. I miss them every minute of every day.”
He said the airplane manufacturer – which has apologized publicly to the victims’ families – had not apologized personally.
“Boeing have not to apologized to us personally. No letters. They have not reached out to us at all.
“They appear on cameras to apologize to us,” he said.
Also sitting at the witness bench with Njoroge was Michael Stumo whose 24-year-old daughter, Samya Rose Stumo, was also killed.
“It made it personal…it was important for us to hear that.” Rep. Ross Spano said. The congressman says he doesn’t think congress has gotten the full story about what caused the crash.
“We still haven’t heard from the experts as it relates to the engineers…the folks who actually built the airlines, built the computer systems,” Spano said.
It’s widely believed faulty sensors from an anti-stall system were responsible. On Wednesday Boeing announced 50-million dollars would go to the victims’ families.
“To me, it’s a publicity stunt, and I want everyone to know that nobody has received any money,” Njoroge said.
He doesn’t want the planes to fly again—but will leave that decision to the experts. “I do believe that the authorities will do a good job to make sure that when they go back up they are safe, but who wants to fly on those planes?” Njoroge said.
A question travelers, not congress, may ultimately decide on their own.