Losing Samya has been horrific for my family and me. But our experience is multiplied 156 times over for the other victims who lost wives, children, fathers and entire families.
People around the world have a stake in what happened to that flight since they regularly rely on an airline industry that still faces troubling safety issues. More work must be done to ensure others won’t face the same grief and loss that my family now copes with each day. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approves planes for flight in the United States, and aviation authorities across the world follow its lead. The FAA must keep unsafe planes on the ground until every possible step has been taken to assure their airworthiness.
My daughter was on that plane because she was flying from Ethiopia to Kenya for her first assignment with a health systems development organization. She boarded a Boeing 737 Max 8, the same model of aircraft that crashed last October in the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia.
Investigations since the crash have revealed that a sensor sent erroneous information to the plane’s flight control system. This is similar to what happened in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia — and prompted governments around the world to ground the Max.
Congress is holding a hearing on Wednesday about the 737 Max. The meeting should focus on the key processes, investigations and testing needed to prevent future accidents. Also, victims’ families should be allowed to participate in these hearings, since they are the most deeply affected. My husband and I will attend the hearing, though we have not been invited to testify.
We want to make sure people are warned about unsafe airplanes. And we want the FAA to keep planes grounded until every investigation is finished. It is potentially catastrophic for Boeing to approve planes after a mere software fix. The FAA is accepting comments until Wednesday at its website.
None of this will bring our daughter back. But we want to help prevent others from being killed.