Chicago-based Boeing has been sued over a technical issue tied to the crash of Lion Air Flight 610, which killed everyone onboard after nosediving into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff last month in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The lawsuit alleges that a “auto-diving” feature added to the new Boeing 737 Max 8 and its potential hazards were not properly disclosed to airline pilots, according to the suit filed Wednesday at the Circuit Court of Cook County. The plaintiff, H. Irianto, of Indonesia, is suing on behalf of his son, Dr. Rio Pratama, who died in the crash on Oct. 29.
The exact cause of the crash has not been determined, but Boeing issued a bulletin to airlines shortly after the crash warning that the Jakarata flight experienced erroneous input in its “angle of attack” sensor, which keeps the plane from stalling.
The newly-delivered Boeing 737 Max 8, which had been flown for two months, crashed “as a result of, among other things, a new Boeing flight control system which automatically steered the aircraft toward the ground…and the crash into the Java Sea,” according to the lawsuit.
“In recent years, when aviation accidents have occurred in foreign countries, they have typically been attributed to pilot error,” the plaintiff’s attorney Curtis Miner said.
“What is particularly noteworthy and disturbing about this case is that the public reporting so far strongly points in the direction of a defect in the design of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and a failure by Boeing to adequately instruct and warn its airline customers and their pilots about the changes it made to the flight control system,” Miner said.
Boeing issued a statement after the crash and said it was “deeply saddened by the loss of Lion Air Flight JT 610. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of those on board.” Boeing said it was providing technical assistance at the direction of government authorities investigating the accident.
The plaintiff is seeking a jury trial and damages over $50,000, according to the lawsuit.