Saturday 3 December 2016

Families of 12 passengers of missing flight MH370 sue Malaysia Airlines and government

Published 04/03/2016 | 08:12

Co-Pilot, Flying Officer Marc Smith looks out as he turns his RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft at low level in bad weather while searching for missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370 off the South West coast of Perth, Australia.
Co-Pilot, Flying Officer Marc Smith looks out as he turns his RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft at low level in bad weather while searching for missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370 off the South West coast of Perth, Australia.

Families of 12 passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have sued the carrier and the Malaysian government.

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The move comes ahead of a filing deadline next week on the second anniversary of the plane's disappearance.

The Boeing 777 carrying 239 people flew far off course for unknown reasons after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8 2014.

An ongoing search of the southern Indian Ocean has found no trace of the plane, although a wing part from the aircraft washed ashore on Reunion Island last year.

A global aviation agreement sets a two-year deadline for lawsuits by next-of-kin over air accidents.

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, who is representing 10 families, said the lawsuits involve a passenger from Russia, one from China and the rest from Malaysia.

Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Stephanie Went keeps watch for any sign of debris aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Stephanie Went keeps watch for any sign of debris aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Crewmen on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion Rescue Flight 795 search for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in southern Indian Ocean, 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) northwest of Perth, Australia
A crew member aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft prepares to launch a smoke canister to mark the position of an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
A crewman on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion Rescue Flight 795 searches for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in southern Indian Ocean
The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
A worker lowers from the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) towed pinger locator into the ocean during operational testing in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba crashes through a wave as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 4, 2014. Malaysia's prime minister visited the Australian search base for missing Flight MH370 on Thursday as a nuclear-powered submarine joined the near-four week hunt that has so far failed to find any sign of the missing airliner and the 239 people on board. REUTERS/Australian Defence Force/Handout (MID-SEA - Tags: MILITARY TRANSPORT DISASTER) MARITIME) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Australian Navy ships the HMAS Success (top) and the HMAS Toowoomba rendezvous to conduct a Replenishment at Sea evolution as they continue the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Australian Navy ships the HMAS Success (L) and the HMAS Toowoomba rendezvous to conduct a Replenishment at Sea evolution as they continue the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Tiger75, an S-70B-2 Seahawk, launches from the Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Leading Seaman Aircrewman Joel Young looks out from Tiger75, an S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter, after it launched from the Australian Navy ship the HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
The Australian navy ship Ocean Shield lies docked at naval base HMAS Stirling while being fitted with a towed pinger locator to aid in her roll in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth, Australia.
A Towed Pinger Locator (TPL), used to detect black box recorders, sits on the wharf at naval base HMAS Stirling in Perth, Australia, ready to be fitted to the Australian warship Ocean Shield to aid in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
Chinese relatives of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 leave after a meeting at the Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya
Chinese relatives of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 leave after a news conference at The Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya
A ground crewman guides a RAAF AP-3C Orion along the tarmac as it returns from the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth, Australia. Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday he was hopeful clues will emerge soon to help find Flight 370 even though searchers again failed to find jet debris, as relatives of Chinese passengers on the plane protested in Malaysia to demand the government apologize over its handling of the search. AP
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott greets leaders of international forces being used to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean (AP)
Australian Defense ship Ocean Shield is docked at naval base HMAS Stirling while being fitted with an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and towed pinger locator to aid in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
Malaysian PM Najib Razak, centre, and Australia's PM Tony Abbott greet RAAF crew involved in the search for MH370 in Perth, Australia (AP)
A Korean Air Force P3 Orion returns from the search operation for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (AP)

Apart from the airline, the lawsuits also named the government and the then heads of the civil aviation department and the navy as defendants.

Ms Sangeet said her clients were engaged in settlement negotiations with the airline earlier.

She said: "Everyone waited till the last minute to give time to the airline to settle but nothing reasonable was forthcoming. So they have no choice but to take legal action given the time limitation."

Lawyer Yeoh Cho Kheong, who is representing the families of two Ukrainian passengers, said his clients will continue negotiations with the airline despite the lawsuit.

A ground controller guides a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion on the tarmac upon its return from a search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean, at RAAF Base Pearce north of Perth
A ground controller guides a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion on the tarmac upon its return from a search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean, at RAAF Base Pearce north of Perth
A family member of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is cared for after fainting at Lido Hotel in Beijing, China.
A crewman of an RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft looks out from an observation window during a search for missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370 on March 24, 2014 off the South West Coast of Perth, Australia.
Co-Pilot, Flying Officer Marc Smith looks out as he turns his RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft at low level in bad weather while searching for missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370 off the South West coast of Perth, Australia.
A family member of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 cries as she is surrounded by journalists after watching a television broadcast of a news conference, at the Lido hotel in Beijing. Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee
A family member of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 shouts at journalists after watching a television broadcast of a news conference, at the Lido hotel in Beijing
A family member of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 falls down an escalator as he cries after watching a television broadcast of a news conference, at Lido hotel in Beijing
Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines jet, MH370, grieve after being told of the latest news in Beijing, China
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks during a press conference for the missing Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A family member of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 shouts at journalists after watching a television broadcast of a news conference, at the Lido hotel in Beijing

The two men, aged 44 at the time, were partners in a furniture business. The families said they each earned 2 million US dollars (£1.4 million) annually and were on their way to Beijing for a business deal, according to Mr Yeoh.

"If an out-of-court settlement can be achieved, I believe my clients will accept it," he added.

All the lawsuits are seeking unspecified sums for negligence and breach of contract, the lawyers said.

Ms Sangeet said she expects to file two more lawsuits on Monday, the last day for filing.

An international aviation agreement allows each next-of-kin of passengers on board a plane up to 175,000 US dollars (£123,000) in compensation, but a plaintiff filing a lawsuit can seek more.

A Boeing 777 flaperon was found on an island in the western Indian Ocean in July and confirmed by the Malaysian and French governments to have come from the ill-fated plane.

Drift modelling has shown that currents could have carried debris from a suspected crash site in the southern Indian Ocean to Reunion Island.

An ongoing search in the southern Indian Ocean is expected to end by June or July.

Press Association

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