Families of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could have a strong case for legal action after revelations an underwater locator beacon battery in the plane’s flight data recorder was expired.
The information could be key in a legal action against the airline over the fruitless search for the jetliner, Reuters reported Monday, citing lawyers for the victims’ families.
United States law firm Kreindler & Kreindler LP, which is representing about 20 families, said the expired battery is “potentially very significant” in determining compensation if it had hurt the search for the missing plane.
A 584-page interim report into the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER said the beacon battery for the flight data recorder had expired in December 2012 and was not replaced.
The beacon is designed to send a signal if a crash occurs in water.
The oversight was blamed on failure to properly update a computer system in the engineering department of Malaysia Airlines, Malaysian civil aviation authorities said in the report released Sunday, one year after the plane vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
“This airline, which allowed its crew and plane to fly with expired batteries on critical equipment, continues to reject offering any kind of meaningful settlement to the families without them first proving the losses they suffered, without any actual evidence of a crash,” Kreindler & Kreindler LP aviation attorney Justin Green said in an e-mail to Reuters.
“The airline… even more clearly now may be responsible for the unsuccessful search for this plane.”
In January, Malaysia Airlines officially declared the disappearance of MH370 an accident, clearing the way for the airline to pay compensation to victims’ relatives while the search for the plane continues.
Investigators said the plane, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, was flown thousands of miles off course before eventually crashing into the ocean off Australia.
The search along a rugged 60,000 square kilometer of sea floor some 1,600 km. west of the Australian city of Perth has found nothing.
– Contact us at [email protected]