The families of some of the Lion Air passengers who died when their flight crashed in Indonesia Oct. 29 are suing Boeing Co. in Seattle Municipal Court in Washington, alleging the aircraft manufacturer is partially to blame for the deadly crash.
The lawsuit, which has grown to include about 21 family members, alleges that faulty equipment on the brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft contributed to the crash. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that faulty sensor readings informed the autopilot system, causing the airplane to make several anti-stall maneuvers that weren’t needed and put the aircraft in danger.
The erroneous readings forced the nose of Lion Air 610 to point downward repeatedly starting moments after takeoff from Jakarta. The pilots fought to bring the nose of the Boeing plane up, but 12 minutes into the flight, the plane pointed downward and plunged into the Java Sea at a speed of 500 mph. All 189 people aboard the Lion Air flight were killed.
In addition to manufacturing an airplane with faulty equipment, the plaintiffs allege Boeing failed to warn pilots about the potential dangers of the new automated system it implemented in its 737 Max 8 aircraft.
“We are focusing on demanding for compensation from the company because we view that Boeing had largely contributed to the accident,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs said, according to Indonesia’s Tempo.
The plaintiffs, who are seeking $1 million USD, could see their case bolstered by evidence emerging from the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines fight 302, which killed 157 people. The Ethiopian Airlines crash was the second Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane to crash, just five months after the Lion Air crash.
Investigators involved in the probe of the Ethiopia crash say black box data shows “clear similarities” between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, indicating both planes may have behaved similarly for the same of similar reasons.