Daughter recalls dad's last words before fatal Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

I think I was the last phone call he made - Zipporah Waithaka retells

Zipporah Waithaka Kuria narrates dad's last words before he boarded ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

On March 10, 2019 the world woke up to the news that Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which left Addis Ababa and was scheduled to land in Nairobi, had crashed just minutes after taking off.

Joseph Waithaka, the late father to Zipporah Waithaka Kuria, was one of the passengers.

The father of five, a British citizen but of Kenyan origin before boarding had called his daughter Zipporah, telling her: "I love you."

“I think I was the last phone call he made," Zipporah told British tabloid, The Sun.

"He just called me to tell me he loved me, and that he would call me when he got to the other side, which never happened. But I am glad that we got to speak,” revealed Zipporah who walks around with a fragment of shrapnel from the plane.

Waithaka's death features in the new Netflix documentary, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, which exposes how experts believed the 737 Max fleet was potentially unsafe.

The producers talked to aviation experts, journalists, former Boeing employees, members of the United States Congress, and families of victims, painting an overall picture of a culture of "reckless cost-cutting and concealment at the once-venerated company".

At the centre of the documentary is the MCAS system, a stabilisation program built into Boeing's new MAX aircraft in order to compensate for the change in weight distribution and aerodynamics caused by the larger engines.

The system was installed to lower the nose of the aircraft automatically if it started to pitch up. However, pilots and airlines weren't adequately informed about the new system.

Both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes in 2018 and 2019 respectively were caused by the aircraft's noses pointing down, despite the actions of the pilots onboard.

In November 2021, the manufacturer admitted full responsibility for the crash in Ethiopia, but for Zipporah, the fight for justice goes on.

“For me there are still big questions that Boeing is yet to answer and I wouldn’t fly on a 737 Max. There was an opportunity to honour my dad in Utah, and I saw that one of my connecting flights was a 737, and so I cancelled the flight and tried to rebook.

“I have to look at which model of plane I will be flying on,” concluded Zipporah

Even though the authorities fined Boeing Sh286 billion for the cover-up, their top boss received a huge payoff rather than facing criminal charges.

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