Family of Hull man killed in Ethiopian plane crash fear Boeing 737 Max return

The family of a man from Hull who was one of 157 people killed in a plane crash in Ethiopia last year say they fear plans to bring similar aircraft back into service could put more lives at risk.

Joseph Waithaka, a Hull probation worker, was on board a Boeing 737 Max aircraft travelling from Addis Ababa to Kenya when it went down just six minutes after take-off.

I just keep feeling like my dad dies every other month, it just happens again and again and again.

Zipporah Kuria

It took months for any remains to be identified, which meant Joseph's relatives have faced the trauma of laying him to rest three times. The last was a mass burial at the crash site they were given just two days' notice of.

The Ethiopian Airlines disaster came six months after a Lion Air plane of the same model, a Boeing 737 Max, crashed off the coast of Indonesia killing 189 people.

Investigators have since found software on both flights malfunctioned and all similar aircraft have been grounded. While Boeing has set up a $50 million fund for bereaved families, the manufacturer now wants its grounded planes back in the sky.

Safely returning the 737 MAX to service is our top priority. We know that the process of approving the 737 MAX's return to service, and of determining appropriate training requirements, must be extraordinarily thorough and robust.


Zipporah's travelled on behalf of her family to hearings in Germany and America in recent weeks to lobby aviation authorities.

We feel after going through this we owe it to others to protect them and make sure they don't have to deal with what we do.

Zipporah Kuria