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Former Boeing manager says he warned about 737 production

(AP)

A former Boeing manager says the push to increase production of the 737 max created a “factory in chaos.”

Ed Pierson told NBC News he warned the company about problems at the Renton plant months before two of the planes crashed, killing a total of nearly 350 people. He’s expected to testify before Congress about that.

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Pierson says that before the first tragedy, he wrote to a company executive about his concerns.

“For the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane,” he wrote in the email before the crashes took place. He wanted the production to be temporarily shut down until factory issues were worked out. Four months later the first of the two crashes occurred.

“I cried a lot,” Pierson told NBC News. “I’m mad at myself because I felt like I could have done more.”

The two recent crashes have resulted in all 737 MAX jets being grounded. The Lion Air crash out of Indonesia resulted in the death of 189 people and the Ethiopian Airlines crash led to 157 deaths. It’s believed to be linked to an automated system that pushed the nose of the plane downwards.

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Recently Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg testified in front of the House Transportation Committee on Capitol Hill, where he apologized to any families affected by the crashes, many of whom were in attendance at that meeting.

In a statement, Boeing defended its handling of Pierson’s concerns. But the company stressed it has no reason to believe issues at the factory played any role in the crashes.

“Although Mr. Pierson did not provide specific information or detail about any particular defect or quality issue, Boeing took his concerns about 737 production disruption seriously,” Boeing said. “Importantly, the suggestion by Mr. Pierson of a link between his concerns and the recent MAX accidents is completely unfounded. Mr. Pierson raises issues about the production of the 737 MAX, yet none of the authorities investigating these accidents have found that production conditions in the 737 factory contributed in any way to these accidents.”

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