MH370 widow files lawsuit against Malaysia Airlines

Puspanathan Subramaniam was one of the 239 passengers and crew aboard the scheduled flight when it disappeared

Nine defendants, including Malaysia Airlines and the national civil aviation authority, have been named in a lawsuit filed by the widow of a passenger aboard flight MH370.

Puspanathan Subramaniam, a 33-year-old Malaysian consultant, was one of the 239 passengers and crew aboard the scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared  on 8 March 2014. 

His family is seeking 32m Malaysian ringgit (£4m) in compensation. The claim cites negligence by a range of organisations and individuals, and highlights the failure to track successfully the Boeing 777 after it veered off course over the South China Sea.

The aircraft flew for several hours after contact was lost. A sequence of satellite “pings” led the search team to conclude that the jet ran out of fuel in the southern Indian Ocean, west of Australia.

A piece of wreckage from the plane was washed up on the French island of Reunion last July. But despite the biggest search in aviation history, trawling thousands of square miles of the floor of the Indian Ocean, the fuselage has not been found.

The second anniversary of the disappearance also marks the deadline for relatives of the victims to file claims against the airline.

The Montreal Convention, which governs international aviation, stipulates: “Any action in court to claim damages must be brought within two years from the date of arrival of the aircraft, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived.”

The wide-ranging claim from Puspanathan Subramaniam’s family also cites Malaysia’s Immigration Department. It claims passport officials were negligent when they allowed two Iranian passengers to board the aircraft using false documents. The pair are thought to have been economic migrants rather than terrorists.

Malaysia Airlines has endured deeper tragedy than any other carrier this century. In July 2014, a second 777 belonging to the airline was shot down over eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 on board.

In a bid to turn around the loss-making national carrier, new management has been brought in, chiefly from British and Irish budget airlines. 

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