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Family of 737 MAX 8 crash victim sues Boeing over 'unsafe condition'

Relatives weep during the funeral of Jannatun Cintya Dewi, a victim of a Lion Air plane crash, in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Divers on Thursday recovered the flight data recorder from the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed early Monday on the seafloor, a crucial development in the investigation into what caused the 2-month-old plane to plunge into Indonesian seas earlier this week, killing all people on board. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

A lawsuit has been filed against The Boeing Co. on behalf of the family of a passenger killed in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 last month.

The suit was filed in Cook County, Ill. by a law firm representing the parents of Dr. Rio Nanda Pratama, who was one of 189 people killed when the brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed into the sea.

The lawsuit says Dr. Pratama was flying back home from a medical conference to get married when the plane crashed.

Lion Air said the jet, on a 1 hour and 10 minute flight to Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and eight crew members.

Investigators have focused on a new automated flight-control system on the Boeing 737 MAX that was not included in prior versions of the 737 as a contributing cause of the crash.

The flight-control system is intended to help the flight crew avoid mistakenly raising a plane’s nose dangerously high, but under certain conditions can push the nose down unexpectedly and so strongly that the pilot cannot pull it back up in time to avoid a crash, the lawsuit says.

After the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a new Emergency Airworthiness Directive on the Boeing 737 MAX directed to what it determined to be an “unsafe condition” that is likely to exist or develop in other Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.

It also has been reported that Boeing withheld information about the potential hazards associated with this new flight-control system, and that U.S. aviation regulators have launched a high-priority review of the safety analyses that Boeing performed over the years and what information it did or did not disclose to airlines about this new flight-control system.

Dr. Pratama's father, H. Irianto, said, “All of the families of the victims want to know the truth and causes of this tragedy, same mistakes must be avoided in the future and those responsible must be brought to court. I seek justice for my son and all of the people who lost their lives in the crash.”

Boeing officials said they would have no comment on the lawsuit.

In a previous statement, the Chicago-based aerospace giant said, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lion Air Flight JT 610. We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those on board. ... We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this incident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved."

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