Kuala Lumpur, Mar 5: Families of 12 passengers onboard the ill-fated Flight MH370 have initiated legal proceedings against the carrier, three days ahead of the deadline for the filing of civil suits against the company before the second anniversary of the plane’s disappearance. The plaintiffs, which also included two Ukrainian families, filed their suits yesterday at the High Court civil registry here, claiming the airline and the authorities had breached their obligations to provide a safe flight. (Read: Australia search team still hopeful as MH370 hunt nears end)
The Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers, enroute from here to Beijing, had disappeared on March 8, 2014. A global aviation agreement sets a two-year deadline for lawsuits by next-of-kin over air accidents. So far, 16 suits relating to the flight have been filed, with one of them settled out of the court in June, last year.
The families are suing the carrier and the government for negligence, breach of contract, loss of financial support, bereavement, funeral expenses and unspecified damages. Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) had on March 24, 2014, sent text messages to the next of kin that all evidence suggested that the plane had gone down in the southern Indian Ocean.
On January 29, last year, the DCA director-general had, on behalf of the Malaysian government, declared MH370 to be an accident and that all 239 passengers and crew on board it were presumed to have lost their lives. Malaysia is a signatory to the 1999 Montreal Convention, under which the airline is liable for all of the plaintiffs’ damages unless it proves that it was completely without fault, or that the accident was caused solely by a third party.