There were no survivors on Malaysian Flight MH370, which plummeted into the Indian Ocean, the Malaysian Prime Minister has announced. And now, for the passengers’ families and for the Airline there will be legal issues as to the Airline’s liability.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razar indicated that Flight MH370 ended its flight in a remote area of the Indian ocean with no survivors.
The Airline and Malaysian authorities have been criticized for the way in which they have handled the release of information about the mysterious flight and its aftermath. The latest news comes following electronic data that has evidently come to light, however much information and data appears to have been either mislead or unknown to the Malaysian authorities.
The prime minister said his latest announcement was based on an unprecedented analysis of satellite data from Inmarsat and from British accident investigators in a multi-national search for the airliner.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing site,” he said. “It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that according to this new data flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”
The lawyers will be following up closely now that the flight’s end is known.
Under the international treaty known as the Montreal Convention, the Malaysian Airlines is under a responsiblity to pay relatives of each deceased passenger an initial sum of around $150,000 to $175,000.
Relatives of victims can also sue for further damages — unless the airline can prove that it took all necessary measures to prevent a crash or any other incident that prevented passengers from arriving safely.
CNN report one law expert on the issue of compensation: “It’s going to be extremely difficult for Malaysia Airlines to plead absence of negligence” when the plane is missing, said Brian Havel, a law professor and director of the International Aviation Law Institute at DePaul University. “The negligence may have even begun in the process of accepting stolen passports.”
Liability could also stretch beyond the airline to the plane’s manufacturer, Boeing, if a mechanical flaw is ruled the cause. But that would be a difficult case to prove if the plane is not recovered.
Monica Kelly, an attorney at Ribbeck Law Chartered who plans to file suit against Malaysia Airlines and Boeing, believes that based on her experience, families could receive between $400,000 and $3 million in damages. However, it could take two years before they see the money, she said.
More about Flight MH370 to come on LawFuel