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Boeing Accused of Failing to Cooperate in 737 Max Probe as Documents Go Missing

Boeing Accused of Failing to Cooperate in Probe of Plane Incident

US crash investigators have accused Boeing officials of failing to cooperate in a probe of how a panel flew off a 737 Max 9 in January, in a highly unusual rebuke, according to sources. Boeing, however, expressed its commitment to assisting with the probe and has provided the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) with the names of employees involved in critical work on the jet. The investigations have revealed a stunning new detail – the possibility that no documents exist at Boeing to explain how the airplane left its factory missing the bolts that could have prevented the incident. The NTSB has expressed its disappointment over the lack of documentation from Boeing and its inability to determine the cause of the manufacturing lapse.

Lack of Documentation and Transparency

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy criticized Boeing for not providing all the documents and information requested by the board. Homendy called the lack of cooperation from Boeing, two months after the incident, “absurd.” The NTSB previously found that four bolts intended to secure a fuselage panel hadn’t been installed on the Max 9 when it left the factory, resulting in the panel flying off during flight. The NTSB’s investigation has been hindered due to Boeing’s inability to furnish all the documentation in their possession. Critics argue that in the aviation industry, not having a record of work is highly unusual and raises serious concerns about Boeing’s maintenance and manufacturing processes.

Boeing’s Response

Boeing has expressed its respect for the NTSB and its dedication to aviation safety. The company claims to have been cooperating fully and transparently, providing information to the board since the accident occurred. CEO Dave Calhoun has reiterated their commitment to 100% complete transparency throughout the NTSB’s investigation. The shares of Boeing, the US planemaker, have experienced a decline this year, with a 23% drop in performance.

Employee Interviews and Senator’s Letter

NTSB investigations have focused on 25 Boeing workers assigned to 737 doors. However, Boeing has not provided their names, and the NTSB has been unable to interview them, despite repeated requests. Boeing has recently provided the names of the workers to the NTSB, claiming to have been proactive in their support of the investigation. The NTSB has been able to determine the approximate timing of the work conducted on the 737 door panel, as well as the fact that three individuals who participated in the work were contractors.

Senator Maria Cantwell expressed disappointment in Boeing’s lack of cooperation during the hearing, stating that the company’s actions were not in line with their promises to fully support the investigation. Senator Cantwell has written a letter to Boeing demanding additional information within 48 hours. The investigation has clarified that the plane’s door panel’s failure was not related to previously reported issues. The NTSB confirms the door panel had been moving during prior flights before it ultimately failed.

Scrutiny and Investigations

The US Justice Department is scrutinizing the incident, potentially exposing the company to criminal prosecution. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating whether Boeing had failed to comply with requirements for agency-approved designs during the manufacturing and delivery of the airplanes. The FAA has increased its oversight and temporarily halted the planemaker’s production rate until satisfied with improvements in their quality practices.

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