Ethiopian crash compensation lawsuit continues as fault still under debate

March 9th, 2010 | by addis portal |

BEIRUT: Further legal proceedings commenced on Monday against the US aeronautical giant Boeing, seeking compensation for relatives of victims from the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.
Chicago-based firm Ribbeck Law brought the multi-million dollar case to court following the filing of petitions from 11  Ethiopian families seeking reimbursement from the disaster which killed 90 people.

Monica Kelly, a senior partner at Ribbeck, said that the Lebanese government’s official investigation was not geared towards determining liability for the crash.

“This is why an action by the families of the victims is so vital,” Kelly added. “The government cannot tell the families who is at fault, and just compensation to these families cannot be provided under the law until liability of all parties is established first.”

Ribbeck’s own investigation has been launched to establish which party was at fault and contributed to the Boeing 737-800 jet plunging into the sea minutes after taking off from Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport amid a violent thunderstorm on January 25.

 Pilot error, bad weather and mechanical failure have all been mooted as possible causes of the crash while victims’ relatives and media outlets alike await official investigation findings, gathered from information contained in the jet’s black box flight recorders.

Ribbeck’s chief investigator, Max Vermij, who has 47 years experience in air crash analysis, told reporters at a press conference in Beirut last week that it was unlikely the pilot would solely be to blame for the crash.

“The loss of control in flight is nearly always initiated by a mechanical failure of the aircraft … pilot error is not the primary cause in those kind of crashes,” said Vermij.

Key factors will determine how much relatives stand to receive if the lawsuit proves successful. – The Daily Star

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