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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Boeing hit with what may be first US suit over Lion Air crash

Family of Indonesian man killed in fatal aircrash has sued Boeing in state court in Chicao

Boeing faces a lawsuit in the US from family of a man killed in Lion Air crash. Darren Whiteside / Reuters
Boeing faces a lawsuit in the US from family of a man killed in Lion Air crash. Darren Whiteside / Reuters

Boeing has been sued in what may be the first U.S. claim tied to the crash of Lion Air flight 610, which dove into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta October 29.

H. Irianto, the father of Dr. Rio Nanda Pratama, an Indonesian man who was among 189 killed in the disaster, sued Boeing on Wednesday in state court in Chicago, where the airline manufacturer is headquartered. Mr Irianto claims a new flight-control system incorporated in the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner caused the crash. He’s seeking unspecified damages.

Investigators believe an erroneous sensor prompted a computerized safety system to aggressively push the jet into a dive as pilots were trying to deal with multiple malfunctions. Boeing and US aviation regulators are considering whether to add a software fix to the 737 Max. Three US pilots’ unions have raised concern about what they say is a lack of information provided by Boeing on the safety system.

Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers declined to comment on the lawsuit or the crash investigation, but reiterated an earlier statement that the company is “taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this incident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved.”

He added, “We are confident in the safety of the 737 MAX.”

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Read more:

Divers recover jet's flight recorder on Indonesia seafloor

How safe is air travel?

More body parts found from crashed Indonesian jet

About the 737 Max: the plane at the centre of the Lion Air crash

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Southwest Airlines, the biggest operator of the 737 Max 8, replaced two malfunctioning flight-control sensors of the same type during the three weeks before the Lion Air craft, Wall Street Journal said, citing a summary of the US carrier’s maintenance record it reviewed. Southwest pilots reported that they couldn’t engage throttle settings, it said.

“The removal and replacement of four sensors on a single fleet type with more than 60,000 hours of service is not statistically significant,” Southwest said in an emailed response to the report. Boeing said it provided two updates to operators around the world, re-emphasizing existing procedures for these situations. Safety remains its top priority, it said.

The case is Irianto v. Boeing Co., 2108-L-012384, Illinois Circuit Court, Cook County (Chicago).