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Lawyers urge Kenyan families to pursue justice after Ethiopia air crash

All the 157 people on board the aircraft died during the March 10 crash just outside Addis Ababa. Photo/FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2- A consortium of Kenyan and American lawyers on Sunday met with families of some of the victims of the Ethiopian Air crash to offer legal advice to them on how to pursue justice for the loss of their kin.

The lawyers, led by Irungu Kang’ata, argued that many families do not know their rights in pursuing justice against the American giant aviation company Boeing, thus need to be guided by advocates.

“If you pursue justice, the company will think twice because this is a case that has high potential of serving as an example to many other people who lose their loved ones in such circumstances and they do not know where to start from,” said Kang’ata.

All the 157 people on board the Boeing 737 MAX operated by Ethiopian Airlines died on March 10 when it crashed just outside Addis Ababa, enroute to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

The unfortunate crash took place on 10 March, killing all 157 people on board among them 36 Kenyans.

His counterpart from America Freizer Shakespeare told the victims that they deserve compensation and if they file the case, other multinational companies will become more responsible but insisted that Boeing is solely answerable for the crash.

“Boeing knew the plane was not safe. You may ask how they knew. They knew because right now most engineers are from Boeing just like you and me who are feeling sad after losing loved ones. Again, after the same plane crashed in Indonesia, there was no advice or repair given to Ethiopian Airlines,” he said.

On 3 April, other eight Kenyan families who lost relatives in the crash stated that Boeing should be held liable in a case they planned to file in the United State of America, citing negligence.

Through their Kenyan and American lawyers, the families claimed the aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines had faulty systems based on preliminary reports they received.

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The lawyers led by Carlos Velasquez and Laban Opande admitted that the case would go through a long process but promised justice not only to the eight families but to all families who were affected in the crash.

“Obviously what these families want is compensation for their loved ones who died during that unfortunate crash and what we seek to do is file claims against the manufacturer of the aircraft because clearly from what we have, the aircraft had problems with its system that led to the crash,” said Velasquez.

Opande further stated that the families were more than willing to appear in court, and there were plans to facilitate them if they would be required to appear physically adding that the case may take long to be concluded.

“It is a very difficult case and the families are still in shock but we promise to do our very best and ensure justice is served to them; we will all go through a long process and what we are asking the families is to allow us to carry the legal burden as they deal with emotional and spiritual burden because definitely we cannot help in that,” Opande said.

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