Families of victims who died in the two Boeing 737 Max crashes that took place within six months of each other and killed a total of 346 people will receive compensation from an airline fund, Boeing announced Monday.
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“The recent 737 MAX tragedies weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of all those on board,” Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing said in a statement, calling the opening of the fund “an important step in our efforts to help affected families.”
The fund will provide $50 million in immediate assistance to families of the victims and Boeing has pledged a total of $100 million to “address family and community needs of those affected by the tragedies.”
The extra $50 million will go towards “education and economic empowerment in impacted communities,” the company said.
A separate website developed for the fund says it will be distributed pro-rata, meaning each family of each victim will receive approximately $144,500, and that families don’t have to waive their right to sue Boeing in order to be eligible to receive funds.
Lion Air Flight 610 crashed in the ocean just outside of Indonesia shortly after takeoff in October 2018, killing all 189 on board, including three children.
In March 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 also crashed just minutes after taking off from Ethiopia’s capital, killing all 157 people on board, including eight Americans.
The 737 Max jets have been grounded since March.
In July, a man who lost his entire family in the Ethiopian Airlines crash testified before a congressional subcommittee to discuss aviation safety, and brought with him blown up pictures of his wife, three children and mother-in-law who died in the Boeing 737 Max crash.
“I stay up nights thinking of the horror that they must have endured,” Paul Njoroge told lawmakers.
Boeing had announced the $100 million compensation fund in July just minutes before Njoroge’s testimony began, and the widower slammed the pledge at the time as “a press relations strategy to apologize to cameras.”
“Boeing has never reached out to families about the impossible sorrow and grief we will carry for our entire lives,” Njoroge said in July.
In addition to the compensation fund, Boeing said Monday it has raised more than $780,000 to support those affected by the crashes through a separate charitable fund from Boeing employees and retirees.
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