Family of Lion Air co-pilot sues Boeing over fatal crash

Indonesian forensic policemen stand beside a damaged tyre from the the Lion Air flight JT610 jet at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov 5, 2018.
Indonesian forensic policemen stand beside a damaged tyre from the the Lion Air flight JT610 jet at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov 5, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

CHICAGO • The family of the Indonesian co-pilot of a Lion Air flight that crashed in October, killing all 189 on board, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Boeing in Chicago, adding to litigation piling up against the US aircraft manufacturer in its hometown.

The lawsuit, filed last Friday in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, alleges that a Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 was unreasonably dangerous because its sensors provided inconsistent information to both the pilots and the aircraft.

Boeing declined to comment on pending litigation.

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea after take-off from Jakarta on Oct 29.

The complaint was filed on behalf of co-pilot Harvino's widow and three children, who are all from Jakarta. It also alleges that the instruction manuals provided by Boeing with the two-month-old plane were insufficient, leading to the death of the pilots, crew and passengers.

In a statement, law firm Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona said Mr Harvino and Flight 610 Captain Bhavye Suneja were both experienced pilots, having logged more than 5,000 and 6,000 flight hours, respectively, prior to the disaster.

About 30 relatives of the crash victims have filed lawsuits against Boeing, alleging that faults with the new 737 MAX model led to the deaths.

 
 

A preliminary report by Indonesian investigators focused on airline maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor, but did not give a cause for the crash.

One of the investigators, Mr Nurcahyo Utomo, told reporters it was too early to determine whether or not a new version of the anti-stall system, which was not explained to pilots in manuals, was a contributing factor in the crash.

Boeing has pointed to the actions of the pilots, claiming that an earlier flight on the same plane ended safely when pilots successfully dealt with erroneous sensor data.

A final crash report is not likely to be filed until next year.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 30, 2018, with the headline 'Family of Lion Air co-pilot sues Boeing over fatal crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe