Father of 737 MAX crash victim stages protest on anniversary of Ethiopia crash

(Reuters) – As families from many nations gathered for a memorial in Ethiopia to honor 157 victims of a Boeing 737 MAX plane crash a year ago, one father was thousands of miles away in Canada, protesting regulators who let the jet fly.

“There’s nothing for me in Ethiopia,” said Chris Moore, who lost his 24-year-old daughter Danielle when an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX nosedived and crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019.

“I think I can do more good here than there,” Moore told Reuters, saying he wanted to honor his daughter and others on the plane by demanding sweeping changes in how regulators, like Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), certify new jets like Boeing Co’s 737 MAX.

The Ethiopian disaster, and the crash five months earlier of a Lion Air jet of the same model in Indonesia that killed 189 people, prompted global scrutiny of the design and approval of what had been the U.S. planemaker’s fastest-selling jet.

In an interim report released on Monday, Ethiopian investigators blamed faulty systems for the crash of the 737 MAX jet, which had passengers from 33 nations aboard. The report did not address whether human factors also played a role and said the analysis had not been completed.

The jet was first approved in the United States by the FAA in 2017, and regulators across the globe, including Transport Canada, followed suit under a reciprocal deal in which such approvals by one country are accepted by others.

“I have a lot of issues with the way the plane was validated in Canada,” Moore said before protesting outside the Canadian regulator’s headquarters.

His wife joined families from nations including Canada, the United States, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Italy and France for a ceremony at the crash site, which is about a three-hour drive from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide following the second crash and Transport Canada is among a core group of regulators that is evaluating needed changes for the 737 MAX to fly again. The Canadian regulator has indicated that it is prepared to take steps that go beyond the FAA’s recommendations.

Moore urged individual citizens to voice their demands regarding airplane safety to lawmakers to ensure that the 737 MAX, and other aircraft, are safe to fly.

“Let’s face it, not everyone is attuned to this issue because not everyone has lost someone,” he said, admitting that after the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, “little did I know that would affect me forever.”

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