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Court begins compensation hearings over MH370

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-28 09:22
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A Beijing court began compensation hearings on Monday for Chinese relatives of people who disappeared nearly a decade ago on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, China Central Television reported.

On March 8, 2014, MH370, carrying 227 passengers, including more than 150 Chinese nationals, departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport with its destination Beijing Capital International Airport, but went missing before arrival.

More than 40 family members of the missing passengers had their lawsuits heard by the Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court on Monday. The hearings will last until Dec 6, according to the report.

With defendants including Malaysia Airlines, as well as the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, the engine manufacturer and insurance company, the report said that most plaintiffs have requested the court find the cause of the mysterious disappearance through the hearings, even if it is a big challenge.

So far, what happened to the aircraft and its specific location are unclear.

Families of the passengers have asked for civil compensation ranging from 10 million ($1.4 million) to 80 million yuan each, with a major portion to cover their mental anguish, it said.

No more details about the hearings have been released from the court so far.

In addition to the hearings, families of some 110 other missing Chinese passengers have reached a compensation agreement with the defendants, the report said, adding that they received between 2.5 million and 3 million yuan each.

Zhang Qihuai, a lawyer who specializes in aviation lawsuits, has continued to represent the families of missing passengers in Beijing. Before the latest hearings, he went to Malaysia and the United States to attend litigation concerning the flight, according to China News Service.

Zhang told the agency that the lawsuit in the US focused on the quality of the plane, but the US court ultimately failed to clarify which entity should shoulder the responsibility. In Malaysia, the lawsuit focused on the liability and cause of the incident, but the local court ruled only for Malaysian passengers' relatives, he added.

In 2018, a detailed report on the disappearance of Flight MH370, released by the Malaysian International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team, failed to determine the cause behind the mishap and left many questions unanswered due to a lack of evidence, according to Global Times.

In the past decade, many families of the missing Chinese passengers have refused to give up on pushing for search efforts and seeking justice through the courts.

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