Ralph Nader's Grandniece Was Among Those Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Crash
The grandniece of former presidential candidate and renowned consumer rights advocate, Ralph Nader, was among the 157 people who died when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing Air Max 8 crashed on March 10. According to a report in the New York Daily News, Samya Stumo was only 24 and had recently graduated from the University of Copenhagen with a Master’s degree in Global Health.
In January, she started a job with ThinkWell, a global health organization as an analyst working on strategic purchasing for primary health care in six countries. Stumo was reportedly on a flight from Ethiopia to Kenya on her way to Uganda for her first project with her new job, her grandmother, Laura Nader told The Boston Globe. A spokesman for the University of Massachusetts said Stumo was known for her ability to engage others by earning their respect, friendship and trust. We offer our deepest condolences to the Nader family for their tragic loss.
Nader Speaks Out
Ralph Nader, an attorney and political activist, has published an open letter to Boeing urging the company to put passengers first and ground all 737 Max 8 airplanes immediately. “Stop digging in your heels,” Nader said. “Tell the airlines to stop digging in their heels. Public trust in your Boeing 737 Max 8 is eroding fast. Get ahead of the curve that is surely heading your way.” While Nader’s letter made no mention of Stumo, it urged Boeing to address concerns before bereaved families and members of Congress speak out and force them to take action.
Putting Profits Before People
Nader is continuing his crusade for consumer rights – a movement he started in 1965 with his book “Unsafe at Any Speed.” Nader’s book was a scathing criticism of automakers’ reluctance to introduce safety features such as seatbelts and to spend money on improving safety. In fact, Nader’s book was the inspiration behind “Still Unsafe at Any Speed,” authored by Brian Chase, senior partner at the Newport Beach auto defect law firm of Bisnar Chase. In his book, Chase talks about how the concerns raised in 1965 by Nader are still valid to this day when automakers still skimp on safety features.
Boeing has displayed that same attitude when it came to its 737 Max 8 jets where it offered critical safety features to airlines at a premium price. Budget airlines such as Ethiopian and LionAir, whose Max 8 aircraft also crashed, killing 157 people on board. Much like the automakers mentioned in Nader and Chase’s books, Boeing was reluctant to offer these safety features as standard features on its aircraft. Instead, the company saw an opportunity to maximize its profits by charging more for these crucial safety features. Hundreds of airline passengers paid the ultimate price for it.
As product defect lawyers who represent the rights of injured victims and their families, we hope Boeing heeds Nader’s advice and acts quickly to ground these airplanes worldwide and equip them with these safety features.