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

Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission officials examine a turbine engine from the Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, on Nov 4, 2018.
Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission officials examine a turbine engine from the Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, on Nov 4, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Boeing Co has been sued in what may be the first US claim tied to the crash of Lion Air Flight 610, which dove into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta on Oct 29.

Mr H. Irianto, the father of Dr Rio Nanda Pratama, an Indonesian man who was among 189 killed in the disaster, sued Boeing on Wednesday (Nov 14) 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 computerised 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."

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