Lion Air Crash Families Say They Were Pressured to Sign No-Suit Deal – The New York Times

Lion Air, which has amassed 15 major safety lapses in its 20-year history, including two fatal crashes, has a history of trying to use quick cash to make problems go away, according to government investigators, air safety regulators and people involved in previous accidents.

One former Indonesian transportation safety investigator said that a Lion Air employee once tried to hand over a black garbage bag full of cash when the investigator was probing the fatal crash of a Lion Air flight that overshot the runway in bad weather in 2004. When the investigator declined the bag of cash, Edward Sirait, now president director of the Lion Air Group, asked why the payment had been refused, the investigator said.

Such payments from Lion Air were common because transportation safety officials were poorly paid, former investigators said. A former high-level Lion Air employee confirmed that when he worked at the company, clandestine payments to government investigators, even for restaurants and prostitutes, were routine.

Mr. Sirait did not respond to a request for comment on the account of the plastic bag full of cash.

In an interview last year after the Flight 610 crash, he did not express condolences for the loss of life. He declined to discuss the unfolding investigation or maintenance logs detailing how the plane had recorded various data problems in the days preceding the crash.

“I am not an engineer,” he said. “There are so many documents that I don’t know.”

Vinni Wulandari, the sister of Mr. Harvino, the co-pilot, said that since her family sued Boeing, Lion Air has refused to pay out his pension and has not honored a verbal agreement to fund his children’s education. The company no longer is willing to meet with her, she said.

“They’ve blocked my number,” Ms. Vinni said of Lion Air’s senior management. “It’s awful how the company treats us. We are victims, too.”

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