Malaysian seeks $7.6 million as Flight 370 lawsuits begin

AP

A Malaysian woman on Thursday sued Malaysia Airlines and the government for $7.6 million in damages over the loss of her husband on Flight 370, which disappeared mysteriously in 2014.

Lawyers said more lawsuits are expected over the next few days ahead of a two-year filing deadline over air accidents set by a global aviation agreement.

The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board vanished after flying far off course for unknown reasons during a flight from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Beijing on March 8, 2014. A search is ongoing in the southern Indian Ocean.

Lawyer Shailender Bhar said the lawsuit filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court by K. Sri Devi, 32, her two young sons and parents-in-law alleged wrongful death of S. Puspanathan, due to alleged negligence and breach of contract by the airline and government agencies.

The lawsuit also named the immigration department, as well as the civil aviation department and the Malaysian air force, for losing track of the plane.

“They were waiting for some development in the search for the plane but nothing has been forthcoming so far. Everyone is hoping for some answers through the court,” Bhar said.

An Australian-based woman, Jennifer Chong, whose husband Chong Ling Tan was on the flight, filed similar claims in Australia last week, alleging the airline was negligent in failing to ensure passengers’ safety.

Lawyer Arunan Selvaraj, who said he is representing next-of-kin of 15 passengers, expects to file lawsuits next week. He said some families were negotiating for settlements with the airline but the approaching deadline means most are under pressure to file a claim.

“Till today, the only thing they had found was the flaperon. There are no other clues. Many people are still in denial and there are so many theories as to what had happened. Families want justice and the truth,” Arunan said.

A Boeing 777 wing part called a flaperon was found on Reunion Island in July and confirmed by the Malaysian and French governments to come from the ill-fated flight. Drift modeling has shown that currents could have carried the debris from the southern Indian Ocean to Reunion Island in the time frame between the flight date and when the part was found.

But no other parts of the plane have been found and the current search is expected to end by June or July.