Friday, January 30, 2015

MH370 was lost in an accident?

Published: January 30, 2015 09:02 AM

Repetitions, contradictions, kin’s lawyer says of latest MH370 announcement 

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — Malaysia’s latest update on Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 did not shed any light on the still-missing aircraft and only succeeded in further flaring the tempers of affected families, a lawyer representing one next-of-kin said.
Gary Edward Chong pointed out that in the 11 months since the aircraft’s disappearance on March 8 last year, the family members of those aboard the plane have been demanding for transparency from the authorities but their cries have been left unheard.
Yesterday’s announcement, he said, only made matters worse.
“It is in our opinion, a mere repetition of earlier reports peppered with strings of contradictions lacking transparency and accountability especially in view of the on-going investigation as well as the search efforts.
“The statement, despite apologising to the next-of-kin of MH370 publicly and sympathising on their loss, has not helped but has instead infuriated a lot of them even more by simply not doing enough in providing them with concrete answers and leaving them in the dark all this while,” he said in a statement here.
The Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) was initially scheduled to hold a press conference at 3.30pm yesterday but in a last-minute change of heart, decided to cancel the meet to hold a televised address hours later without the presence of the media and MH370’s next-of-kin.
During their 6pm announcement, the DCA formally declared the Boeing 777 jetliner lost and all 239 passengers on board dead, finally allowing their families to proceed with the process of claiming damages.
Despite finally getting some semblance of closure from the 11-month-old tragedy, the families cried foul at the way DCA handled the announcement, with some accusing the authorities of lacking the guts to speak to them face-to-face.
Chong, who is a co-counsel in a suit filed by two boys whose father was aboard the ill-fated jetliner, said the case’s lead counsel Datuk Dr Arunan Selvaraj is presently discussing the matter with expert witnesses abroad.
“We will possibly be holding a press conference on this matter after his return and consultation with our clients,” he said.
The boys, 13, and 11, have filed a suit against MAS, the DCA director-general, Immigration Department director-general, Royal Malaysian Air Force chief and the federal government for the loss of support with the disappearance of their father, Jee Jing Hang, who was a passenger in MH370.
Apart from damages for loss of support, the boys are also seeking aggravated damages for injured feelings and emotions, mental distress and pain, and exemplary damages for gross neglect and breach of duty by the defendants.
The first of the expected torrent of lawsuits over the tragedy started taking shape in the United States by Chicago-based law firm Ribbeck Law in March, just a few weeks after the Boeing 777 jetliner went missing.
At that time, many relatives of the plane’s Malaysian victims considered the move premature, saying they wanted to allow investigators more time to search for the missing plane and that without hard evidence of a crash, they would not mount a lawsuit.
On March 8 last year, Beijing-bound Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board and remains missing till today, with months of searching failing to yield any clues of its resting place or debris.

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