Boeing crash victims' families ask DOJ to fine company $24B, prosecute former execs

The relatives of victims that were killed in two separate plane crashes involving Boeing 737 MAX planes five years ago are asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to fine the company the maximum amount under the law and to prosecute the former executives that were in charge at the time.

An attorney representing 15 families who lost loved ones that died in the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 sent a letter to the DOJ on Wednesday, asking that Boeing face a $24.78 billion fine and that the corporate officials allegedly responsible face criminal charges — including former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who resigned in December 2019.

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia, in October 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in Ethiopia minutes after departure months later in March 2019. Both flights involved the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane, and 346 people were killed between the two crashes.

In 2021, Boeing reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the government that shielded the embattled corporation from criminal prosecution linked to the two fatal crashes, but the Justice Department determined in May that the plane manufacturer breached its obligations under that deal. The DOJ said at the time, "The government is determining how it will proceed in this matter."

Clariss Moore of Toronto, Canada, holds a photograph of her daughter Danielle Moore and stands with other family members of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 as she becomes emotional while screaming at Boeing C (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Since then, the victims' families have ramped up pressure on the government, after spending years seeking justice for their loved ones and to hold Boeing accountable for the victims' deaths.

The families' request to the DOJ comes a day after they held a press conference on Capitol Hill ahead of current Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun's testimony before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations regarding alleged safety concerns over the company's practices.

Several victims' relatives attended the hearing, holding signs with their loved ones' pictures. At the start of his testimony, Calhoun stood up and addressed the grieving family members, and apologized on behalf of Boeing for their losses.

Calhoun, who will step down as chief executive at the end of the year but will remain on Boeing's board, admitted during his testimony that both crashes were Boeing's fault.

Boeing has fallen under increased scrutiny since a door flew off one of its aircraft mid-air during an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

At least a dozen Boeing whistleblowers have come forward citing concerns over the company's quality assurance and culture since the Alaska Airlines incident, and the plane manufacturer is currently under investigation by multiple federal agencies.

FOX Business reached out to Boeing for comment regarding the families of crash victims' letter to the DOJ, but did not receive a response by the time of publishing.

FOX Business' Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.