Federal Court hearings in Sydney have delivered surprising news for the relatives of victims of the MH 370 airplane disappearance.
After refusing for more than 12 months to provide corporate records to assist the families of victims seeking compensation over the disappearance of flight MH 370, Malaysia Airlines has suddenly decided to cooperate.
This is good news for the adult children of four MH370 passengers — Rod and Mary Burrows, and Bob and Cathy Lawton. Their lawyer says the airline’s turnaround has come as a shock.
- The most recent medical certificate held by each member of the flight crew, including both cockpit crew and cabin crew;
- The most recent pilot licences held;
- Operational notes, logs and records held by the airline in relation to the flight;
- Procedures for carrying dangerous goods;
- Procedures for loss of radio contact, flying over oceans, and what to do in the event of hijacking;
- The operations manual for the plane, including flight deck security; and
- The flight plan lodged by the captain with air traffic control.
Maintenance log-books of the Boeing 777 and medical and personnel records of the captain and co-pilot will also be made available.
Aviation experts say these documents are relatively routine flight files, but in the case of the MH370 which remains an unsolved mystery, any information these documents bring to light is welcome news.
The Australian case is thought to be the most advanced of all court action against Malaysia Airlines and its insurer Allianz.
The family has been pressuring the airline for more than a year to produce the information, but the airline has continually stalled. The families hope the documents will assist their legal battle for damages.
It has been reported that Allianz is currently offering payments of $250,000 for each Australian victim.
Payments of $50,000 per passenger were made more than a year ago in line with Montreal Treaty, which sets out the broad obligations of airlines and insurers, but the Australian relatives of the passengers on board are seeking more.
If the documents contain any evidence of incompetence or failure, this may further the Aussie claims for further compensation.
It is unclear whether any information from the documents will be made publicly available – and the next directions hearing is not scheduled until next March 2017.
It is also not know as to why, after all this time, the airline finally decided to release the files.
It has been reported that other relatives of passengers are claiming for psychological injuries, which they say have been exacerbated by the airline’s handling of the tragedy.
Malaysia Airlines informed next of kin that their loved ones were dead by SMS. Claimants also say they have had unsatisfactory emotional and psychological support, and that the airline’s ongoing delay tactics add further to their grief and stress because justice is being delayed and denied.
The search for answers continues
Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing on March 8th 2014, with 227 passengers and 12 cabin crew on board. At some point while the plane was travelling over the South China Sea, all communication was lost.
Air crash investigators later discovered that the plane had turned around, flying back over the northern part of Malaysia before heading south towards the Indian Ocean.
The plane is thought to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, about 2,000km west of Perth in Western Australia.
The search for wreckage is ongoing. In has just been announced that the search area will be extended in the coming months at an estimated cost of $30 million.
When the worldwide team of aviation experts working on the case recentlt gathered in Canberra, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau suggested that the theory investigators most favour is that no one was at the controls of the Boeing 777 when it ran out of fuel and dived at high speed into the ocean.