8 Kenyan families who are set to sue commercial jetliners manufacturer, Boeing, over the March 10 Bishoftu crash will be seeking compensation of up to Sh 1 billion for every family member who perished.
According to one of their lawyers, Irungu Kangata, who spoke to Baraka FM, a team of six lawyers drawn from Kenya and the United States is set to sue both Boeing and Ethiopian airlines over negligence and breach of legal duty.
“Strong evidence points that the crash has close characteristics to the Lion air crash, therefore, there is what we call a Prima Facie case, ”Irungu told Baraka FM.
Irungu added that the amount of compensation they would be seeking from Ethiopian airlines and its insurers would be guided by the 1999 Montreal convention.
According to the convention, passengers are liable for compensation of up to Sh 17 million if; ‘Injuries or death resulted from an accident and the accident took place in the course of any of the operations or while embarking or disembarking.’
The aircraft, a Boeing 737 max model crashed 6 minutes after takeoff killing all the 157 people on board.
The crash which came less than 6 months after the LionAir crash which also involved the Boeing 737 max aircraft lead to a worldwide grounding of the flight model following a global outcry.
This comes as it emerges that the ill-fated aircraft pilot’s followed the emergency steps outlined by the manufacturer but still could not regain control of the aircraft according to data retrieved from the flight’s data recorder.
“The pilots trying to regain control of the Ethiopian jet at first followed those procedures to switch off the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) but failed to recover control” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Ethiopian government is set to release the investigation report on Thursday.
This comes as Boeing plans a software upgrade of the Boeing 737 Max 8 Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
However, some legal experts have argued that that the success of the case will depend on the terms of the sale agreement between the two firms.
“For example if the sale agreement had a clause that stated that the manufacturer could update the aircraft software and train pilots after a certain period of time which they failed to do so, then the families can file a successful case basing it on negligence on the part of the manufacturer” Yusuf Abubakar a Kenyan lawyer said in an interview with Baraka FM.
36 Kenyans, four who were holding dual citizenship lost their lives in the March 10th crash.