July 17 (UPI) -- Family members of victims from two Boeing 737 Max crashes called for a reform of the Federal Aviation Administration during testimony Wednesday before a House committee in Washington, D.C.
Paul Njoroge, a Kenyan-born man who lives in Toronto, spoke on behalf of the families during the aviation subcommittee's hearing on aviation safety. His wife, three children and mother-in-law died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed March 10, killing 157 people.
"I think about their last six minutes a lot. My wife and mom-in-law knew they were going to die. They had to somehow comfort the children during the final moments, knowing they were already lost," he said. "I wish I was there with them."
The families of the victims of the crash -- and of the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in October that killed 189 -- called for the FAA to be reformed so that safety engineers are in charge of the agency. They also seek more money in the FAA's budget.
Investigators linked the two crashes through problems with the Boeing 737 Max's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.
The 737 Max fleet was grounded worldwide in March and the planes are still not certified to fly. They will stay on the ground until Boeing fixes a software issue and it is approved by federal regulators.
Njoroge said pilots should be adequately trained to use the 737 Max using flight control software to better know how to handle the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.
"If Boeing's wrongful conduct continues, another plane will dive to the ground," he said.
"My family died because of Boeing's negligence, arrogance, management -- what I call management disfunction and lack of internal oversight within Boeing."
On Wednesday, Boeing said that of the $100 million it set aside for the families and communities affected by the two crashes, half will go toward providing near-term financial assistance to the victims' kin.
"The tragic loss of life in both accidents continues to weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we have the utmost sympathy for the loved ones of those on board," Boeing CEO and President Dennis Mullenburg said.
The company retained Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros to oversee the victim compensation fund.