Boeing Abandons Families Of 737 Max Crash Victims: Report

Several families of the nearly 350 people who died in two Boeing 737 Max crashes say they haven't received so much as a letter of condolence from the planemaker, according to Business Insider

The parents of a woman killed on one of the flights told Business Insider they had received "no condolences" and "no direct communication" from Boeing despite numerous public apologies by the plane maker and said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg "talks to other people but not us, the victims' families."

Nadia Milleron and Michael Stumo lost their 24-year-old daughter, Samya Stumo, when the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed in March, killing all 157 people on board. -Business Insider

And while we're guessing the Boeing legal department may have been involved in the decision not to directly contact the families of inevitable (and current) plaintiffs as the likely cause of the crashes became more clear, attorneys representing over 50 families of those killed told Business Insider that their clients were treated similarly. 

Miami-based aviation attorney Steve Marks said that Boeing's response was not "unusual" from manufacturers, however the company's reaction was "worse" than a typical response. 

Nadia Milleron, whose daughter was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash of a Boeing 737 Max, at a press conference announcing a wrongful-death suit against Boeing in April. (REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski)

According to Marks, Boeing "came out really quickly after the second tragedy, and said: 'We own it, it's our problem'," yet "has since backed those comments off, in many different ways, which I think has only inflamed the situation, as far as the families are concerned." 

Aviation attorney Mike Danko similarly told Business Insider that it's "not unusual" for a manufacturer not to apologize or offer support following fatal plane crashes, noting the company's public apologies.

Boeing has repeatedly publicly apologized for the crashes. Its CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, first apologized in a Boeing video in April, three weeks after the second crash. In the video, he said that the company was "sorry for the lives lost" and that the "tragedies continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and mind." -Business Insider

In May, Muilenburg apologized publicly, saying the company was "sorry for the loss of lives in both accidents," and "sorry for the impact to the families and loves ones that are behind." 

That said, the 737 Max situation is unique in that the crashes are suspected to have been caused by a known flaw in the plane's anti-stall system which had been raised by pilots, while over 400 pilots are now in a class-action lawsuit against the company, accusing Boeing of an "unprecedented cover-up" of "known design flaws." 

Muilenburg admitted at the Paris Air Show in June that Boeing had "made a mistake" in handling the anti-stall system, and that the company's communication was "not acceptable." 

Kenyans mourning family members and friends who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Not good enough, say the families. 

Milleron and Stumo told Business Insider that Muilenburg "never apologized for killing our daughter."

Stumo said Boeing "put a camera in Muilenburg's face," referring to his video apology in April.

"A true apology is when you sit across the table together and exchange sentiment — at the very least."

Milleron said the apology needed to say: "I did this wrong thing to you and I am sorry. I regret this specific wrong that I did to you."

 

"That's an actual apology," she said. "If they just say they are sorry to a camera, not to the actual persons that they've harmed, that is not an apology at all.

"I don't understand how he could possibly think so, and I don't think the American people see that as an actual apology."  -Business Insider

According to Danko, the aviation attorney, Boeing could have reached out and said something as simple as "We're so sorry for what happened and for the unspeakable loss you've experienced. We haven't yet gotten to the bottom of what happened but are committed to doing so. We want to make sure that no one else has to go through what you're going through now. We will not rest and our plane will not fly again until we're 100% convinced of that.