Family of Exmouth air crash victim launch legal action

PUBLISHED: 15:35 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 02 July 2019

Joanna Toole, 36, died while on board a flight from Ethiopia to Kenya. Picture: Adrian Toole

Joanna Toole, 36, died while on board a flight from Ethiopia to Kenya. Picture: Adrian Toole

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The family of an Exmouth woman killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 plane crash have launched legal action.

Joanna Toole, who was killed while flying from Ethiopia to Kenya. Picture: Adrian TooleJoanna Toole, who was killed while flying from Ethiopia to Kenya. Picture: Adrian Toole

Joanna Toole's family have instructed lawyers to begin proceedings after the 36-year-old was one of seven British passengers on board Flight ET302 when it crashed on March 10, shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing all 157 passengers and crew.

An official accident investigation is ongoing into the exact cause of the crash.

Both Boeing and Rosemount Aerospace are named in the law suit filed in Chicago, United States.

A spokesman for Boeing says the company extend its 'deepest condolences' to Joanna's family but that it will not be commenting on the lawsuit directly. A spokesman for Rosemount Areospace also said the company would not be commenting.

Joanna Toole, who was killed while flying from Ethiopia to Kenya. Picture: Adrian TooleJoanna Toole, who was killed while flying from Ethiopia to Kenya. Picture: Adrian Toole

Chris Garmer, Irwin Mitchell partner and head of aviation law team, said the allegations include 'a catalogue of serious failures' by Boeing including fitting new, larger engines to the existing airframe.

He said: "These engines altered the aircraft's handling characteristics and, in particular, caused the nose of the aircraft to pitch upwards in the period following take off, increasing the risk of an engine stall."

Rosemount, which manufactures the 'angle of attack' sensors are named as 'at least one' on board the aircraft was allegedly faulty.

Joanna, who was recently recognised with a posthumous RSPCA Honours award, was on board the plane while working for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. She was travelling to the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, when the accident occurred.

Her father, Adrian, said: "Joanna was a wonderfully warm and inspirational person who dedicated her life to the welfare of animals.

"The last few months trying to accept her death in such sudden and unexpected circumstances have been incredibly difficult.

"Since the crash happened we learn more and more about the Boeing 737 MAX and its problems.

"Neither Joanna nor her family knew that there were faults in the design of this plane; with the technology and expertise available to the builders, passengers should have been able to trust that the flight would be without incident.

"We were stunned to learn about the apparent technical issues with the aircraft which was a new and supposedly state-of-the-art plane.

"Nothing can ever bring Joanna back but we hope that by continuing to push for answers about what went wrong, justice will be done and flight safety improved for others in the future."

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