blood money | 

Wife of Irish humanitarian killed in plane crash in fight for justice for late husband

'The agreement reached under the Trump administration is merely a slap on the wrist that wrongly holds no executive accountable'
A Boeing 737 Max (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A Boeing 737 Max (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Clodagh Meaney

The wife of an Irish humanitarian who was killed in a plane crash is fighting for justice for her late husband.

Mick Ryan was one of 346 victims of who died in two separate 737 Boeing plane crashes in October 2018 and March 2019.

Naoise Ryan joined the families of other crash victims as they filed a motion to a court in the US.

Their motion argues that the US government “lied and violated their rights through a secret process” that allowed Boeing to escape criminal prosecution for the two crashes.

It came after a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) was reached between the US Department of Justice and Boeing.

The agreement, which is described as a corporate plea agreement, included a fine of $243.6m (€215.2m), $1.77bn (€1.5bn) compensation to the airlines involved and a $500m (€441.6) fund for the victims of the crash.

Ms Ryan said that she declined $1.4m (€1.2m) compensation: “It’s blood money. This isn’t about money.”

“If the US justice department had advised us of our right to confer with it about the crimes associated with the crash, we would have urged the department to hold Boeing accountable to the full extent of US criminal law,” she said.

“We would have pointed out that the Boeing employees whose conduct form the basis of the DPA were acting in furtherance of Boeing’s programme goals, set at the highest levels of the company.

“Boeing should be fully prosecuted," she added. "The agreement reached under the Trump administration is merely a slap on the wrist that wrongly holds no executive accountable.”

Mick Ryan (39) from Co Clare, a senior UN humanitarian worker, died when an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Ethiopia to Kenya crashed just six minutes after take-off on March 10, 2019. It has been described as the airline’s deadliest accident to date.

There were no survivors of the devastating crash that killed 149 passengers and eight crew members.

The incident occurred after a first officer on the Boeing 737 Max aircraft reported a flight control problem to the control tower just one minute into the flight.

After the plane crashed into a farm field near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres from the original airport, both black boxes were recovered.

The crash was the second fatal accident involving a Max aircraft within five months.

In October 2019, all 189 passengers and crew aboard Lion Air Flight 610 from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang, died when the plane crashed into the Java Sea just 13 minutes after take off.

A few minutes into the flight, pilots requested to return to the airport of origin just before communication between the plane and traffic control was lost.

The plane then crashed into the sea just off the coast of Indonesia.

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