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Father demands more for son's death
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-15 05:49

The body of a teenage boy who died after falling from the wheel well of a China Eastern airplane shortly after taking off from Dunhuang Airport in northwestern China last month is still lying in hospital while his father sues for compensation.

Li Maofu, the boy's father, has demanded 300,000 yuan (US$36,000) in compensation from the airport for its negligent security, but his calls for this amount have so far fallen on deaf ears. Airport authorities claim the boy was at fault as he "illegally intruded" in a restricted area and stowed away on the plane.

"Following two rounds of negotiation, no agreement has been reached between the family of the deceased and Dunhuang Airport as the two parties have big differences in the amount of appropriate compensation," Li's lawyer Zhang Qihuai told China Daily yesterday.

The airport promised to pay the bereaved father 80,000 yuan (US$9,700), said Zhang.

The boy, Li Dechao, hit the tarmac of Dunhuang Airport shortly after the plane took off on the morning of May 25 and died on the scene.

He was thought to have sneaked in to the landing gear compartment of the A320 aircraft after climbing the airport's fences the previous night.

"The airport should be held responsible for the boy's death as its security workers failed to fulfil their duty in guarding against possible intrusions into the restricted area," Zhang said. He added that Li should receive a minimum of 150,000 yuan (US$18,000) from the airport.

"If the airport turns down his demand for compensation, Li will take the case to court," Zhang said.

But legal experts have raised doubts over the outcome of the case. Liu Weiming, a professor from the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China, said there was no stipulation in the existing civil aviation law concerning the boy's case.

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