Boeing Named as Defendant in Greek Air Crash Lawsuit

February 22, 2006

The law firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that, in cooperation with the Cyprus-based law firm of Phoebus, Christos Clerides, N. Pirilides & Associates, that families of victims of the crash of Helios Flight 522 have filed a lawsuit against The Boeing Company in United States District Court in Chicago, Illinois.

115 passengers and six crewmembers died on August 14, 2005, when the Boeing 737-200 crashed into a Greek hillside north of Athens. The plane apparently lost cabin pressure, rendering the pilot and co-pilot unconscious, after taking off from Larnaca, Cyprus on a flight to Athens International Airport (See IJ Website Aug. 14, 2005).

The law firm’s announcement indicates that the “investigation of the crash of the Helios Airways Flight 522 has reportedly found that the pressurization system on the plane was not properly configured by the pilots at the time the aircraft took off.” Robert L. Lieff, a founding partner of the law firm, explained that “while there appears to have been negligence on the part of the Helios pilots, Boeing was also negligent and shares responsibility for the passengers’ deaths.”

The bulletin said the two law firms have engaged the services of “Hans-Peter Graf, a former airline commander and investigator in charge at the Swiss Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau who specializes in flight operation and human factors. He commented: “The checklists that Boeing composed and recommended for the 737 aircraft made it easy for crews to take off and fly with the pressurization system set incorrectly. The alerts and warnings given to the crew were inexcusably vague and late. The design and implementation of a superior system would have cost a minimal amount. Thus, I am firmly convinced that Boeing and its partners played a substantial role in this crash, and they could have prevented it with a proper design of the crew alerting system.”

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