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UPDATE: Melvin Riffel and Bennett Riffel Killed In Plane Crash Over Ethiopia On The Boeing 737 Max 8

Mar 15, 2019

Two Brothers From Redding, California Identified As Melvin Riffel and Bennett Riffel Died In Ethiopian Plane Crash Onboard A Boeing 737 Max 8 –> Support The Family Through Go Fund Me

ADDIS ABABA, CALIFORNIA (March 14, 2019) – A worker for Caltrans identified as Melvin Riffel and his brother Bennett Riffel were among the 157 people killed in the Ethiopian plane crash on the Boeing 737 Max 8 near Bishoftu .

The fatal plane crash comes just one year after a Lion Air Jet crash over the Indonesian seas that killed 189 people. There has been widespread concern following the tragedy and a number of countries including the U.K., France and China have taken steps to ban or ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes. 

President Trump has also grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes as the investigation into the Ethiopian crash remains ongoing.  Melvin Riffel and Bennett Riffel were on vacation and had recently traveled to Australia and Mogadishu before their scheduled arrival in Ethiopia.

In total there were victims from 30 countries onboard the plane when it crashed. Little is known about the potential cause of the crash, but some details have begun to emerge. 

The captain of the Ethiopian plane said that the aircraft experienced “flight control problems” just minutes before the fatal crash. Some aviation officials have suggested that their may have been problems wit the software governing the flight control systems.

Investigators have been able to recover the flight data and voice recorders which will help shed light on what went wrong. Melvin Riffel’s wife Brittney is currently pregnant with their first child, according to a friend of the family. 

You can support the family of Melvin Riffel and Bennett Riffel by donating to the Go Fund Me page that has been set up for them. 

Causes Of Commercial Plane Crashes

Commercial air travel is extremely safe. The number of fatal plane crashes in commercial aviation has continued to decline from the 1970’s. As of 2018, there has been just one accident for every 3 million flights. The vast majority of fatal crashes take place in private aviation. Smaller planes tend to lack the safety redundancies of larger commercial aircraft such as dual engines, dual pilots and flight control systems. Here are just a few of the reasons that larger planes tend  to crash:

  • Pilot Error: Mistakes by the pilot account for the majority of crashes. This can include mistakes during take-off and landing. Generally speaking, most accidents take place during take-off and landing.
  • Mechanical Failure: All aircraft should be regularly serviced to make sure that they are in working order. A number of accidents happen when a plane suffers “explosive decompression.” This can take place if the aft pressure bulkhead malfunctions. 
  • Weather: According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) weather is the main contributing factor for 23% of all plane crashes. Thunderstorms in particular can have disastrous consequences for planes. Pilots have a responsibility to avoid inclement weather to the best of their ability. 

Despite their rarity, commercial airplane crashes can still be devastating for those involved. The Federal Aviation Administration will usually take between 6 months to 1 year to release their report about the cause of the accident. Thankfully, most large aircraft are equipped with flight and data recorders. These can help shed light on what went wrong and be used to determine liability as well. 

Liability In Air Plane Crashes

Determining liability in plane crashes can be extremely difficult. There are multiple operators, companies and agencies that must work together in order for a plane to take off somewhere and land at its destination safely. Here are just a few of the potential sources of negligence in a plane crash: 

  • Traffic Controller Liability: The federal government is responsible for operating the traffic control systems. They direct planes leaving and coming into airports. Miscommunication with the air-traffic controller may result in a crash and lead to federal liability. 
  • Plane Mechanics: A number of accidents occur when planes malfunction due to poor maintenance. If mechanics fail to maintain an aircraft properly and this leads to a crash, they may face civil liability.
  • Plane Manufacturers: Companies like Boeing that design and build aircraft may face liability in a crash under product liability law. Airplanes can be unsafe under three broad categories (1) inherent design defects, (2) marketing defects, and (3) manufacturing defects. 

The family of a victim that died in a plane crash may have legal recourse through California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. A wrongful death attorney can investigate all aspects of your case and let you know what your options are. A victim’s family may be able to recover damages for funeral expenses, loss of income, emotional trauma and loss of love. There are statute of limitations associated with being able to pursue a claim, so it’s important to act quickly. 

Investigating a Plane Crash 

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Melvin Riffel and Bennett Riffel and all of those affected by this tragedy. It is our sincere hope that everyone will donate to the Go Fund Me set up for the two victims from Redlands. It’s a good thing that the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 have been grounded. Boeing and the FAA must take every step possible to get to the bottom of what happened. The families of the victims deserve answers. 

If someone that you love has been involved in a plane crash you may have legal recourse. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We can investigate your claim free of charge and help get to the bottom of what happened. We care deeply about making sure that our clients get all the support that they need after an accident. Whether you need more information about what happened or just have questions about your rights we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

Melvin Riffel and Bennett Riffel Plane Crash Ethiopia

UPDATE: Melvin Riffel and Bennett Riffel Killed In Plane Crash Over Ethiopia On The Boeing 737 Max 8


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