As the search continues for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean or the Pacific nearly three weeks ago, some families are preparing to file lawsuits against the airline and Boeing, the jet’s manufacturer.
A Chicago-based law firm filed a petition earlier this week in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, seeking to secure evidence from the airline and Boeing that may have a bearing on the future lawsuit. The firm expects to represent half of the families of the 239 passengers believed to have perished in the airline accident.
The lawsuit petition was filed on behalf of Januari Siregar, who had a son on the flight. The petition is looking for the identity of the manufacturers of the plane’s components and the identity of whoever was the last to inspect the jet and perform maintenance.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, and has not been seen since. However, this week a Thai satellite is believed to have captured images of about 300 objects floating in the Indian Ocean within the area of the suspected crash site. No search ships had yet to get close to the debris for examination as of press time.
It is unknown what may have caused the flight to crash, but at this time most experts say it is likely that all of the passengers and crew are dead.
Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by heavy winds, storms, and the natural volatility of that part of the ocean. Multiple countries are taking part in the search efforts.
Malaysia Airlines has come under heavy fire for the incident, particularly from China, for declaring the passenger and crew dead without any concrete evidence of their fate. Family members of Chinese passengers on the flight have held protests and clashed with Chinese police over the incident. Such protests and clashes are extremely rare in the communist-run country.
More Airline Crash Lawsuits for Boeing
The lawsuit comes as Boeing is still facing fallout and legal problems as a result of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco last summer. A wrongful death lawsuit representing one of three passengers killed in the incident was filed March 5, in Cook County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit was filed by Kevin J. Conway, special administrator of the estate of a minor only identified as a 15-year old female Chinese citizen with the initials LJW.
On July 6, while approaching runway 28L, the Asiana Airlines plane clipped the seawall of the runway, which juts out into the ocean. When the Boeing 777 airliner crashed, at least one passenger died on site and another died in a hospital from severe injuries suffered during the crash. A third passenger, a teenage Chinese girl, died during the aftermath of the crash when she was run over by emergency responders who did not see her as they raced to the scene.
Preliminary reports from investigators have suggested that the Asiana Airlines plane was flying too slow and at too low an altitude to clear the sea wall at the end of the runway. The flight crew reportedly tried to abort the landing and circle around again, but the tail of the plane clipped the sea wall and was torn off, sending the plane skidding across the runway. Flight MH 370 was also a Boeing 777.
Boeing and Asiana Airlines face a number of Asiana Airline crash lawsuits, which have been consolidated and centralized before U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California for pretrial proceedings.