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Senators grill Boeing CEO over crashes

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 10/30/19, 11:28 am

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s apologies for failures that led to two devastating plane crashes did not sway lawmakers or families of victims at a hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill. People who lost loved ones in the crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes owned by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines sat behind Muilenberg at the hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and held up photos of their dead relatives as he testified. The planes went down in October 2018 and March of this year, killing nearly 350 people.

What did the hearing reveal? Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, read aloud a text message exchange from 2016 between senior technical officials at Boeing in which they discussed problems with the software system widely blamed for the crashes. One official noted that simulations were having problems, saying, “So basically, I lied to regulators [unknowingly].” The company successfully lobbied regulators to exclude any explanation of the system from pilot manuals and training. Boeing is “deeply and truly sorry,” Muilenburg said. “We can and must do better. We’ve been challenged and changed by these accidents.” The 737 Max jets have remained grounded since early this year.

Dig deeper: Read Onize Ohikere’s report in The Sift about Indonesian authorities’ final accident report on the Lion Air crash.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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