Partner of Exmouth air crash victim blames Boeing for failing to ground plane before tragedy

The grief-stricken partner of a woman from Devon who died in an air tragedy has blamed Boeing for safety failures which led to the crash.

Joanna Toole from Exmouth was working with the UN on March 10 2019 when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa.

The accident, which killed 157 passengers and crew, came just months after the same model - a Boeing 737 Max 8 - crashed into the Java Sea killing all 189 people on board.

157 people on board were killed in March 2019

Joanna's partner Paul Kiernan says her death, and hundreds of others, was caused by 'systematic de-prioritisation' of the safety of the fleet.

Paul, 36, said he couldn't understand Boeing's decision to keep flying the 737, rather than ground the entire fleet after the Java Sea tragedy.

Joanna's partner has described her a 'special, selfless and passionate' Credit: Family pictures
  • Paul Kiernan's full statement:

Losing Joanna in such tragic circumstances has devastated my life. Jo was a truly special person, she had the biggest heart, she was entirely selfless, and she was passionately dedicated to improving the lives of animals and the fate of our planet.

Paul Kiernan, partner of victim Joanna Toole
The Boeing model is not set to fly until at least summer following investigations

Boeing says it has been working to improve the safety of the aircraft, but the model is not expected to fly again before summer this year.

A special aviation law team has been appointed to fight the legal case against Boeing in the US.

Lawyers representing the families of those who lost loved ones in the crashes have said that those at fault must be held to account.

The aircraft went into service despite a catalogue of mistakes including the failure to train pilots adequately. The decision to keep this aircraft type grounded is essential until there are no longer any remaining questions about its safety and fitness to fly. Whether this can ever be achieved with the Boeing 737 MAX remains uncertain.

Clive Garner, Lawyer, Irwin Mitchell

In response to both crashes, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recently published its report into its review of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Aircraft Certification Process.

It found that the process for certifying the aircraft was followed by both the FAA and Boeing, but also suggested several steps to improve the process.

This included changes to pilot training and communication between FAA and Boeing.