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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Beijing court commences hearings on compensation for MH370 victims

As a Beijing court commences hearings on compensation cases filed by over 40 families, the anguish and unanswered questions resurface.

The haunting disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 nearly a decade ago continues to cast a long shadow over the families of the 239 people on board. As a Beijing court commences hearings on compensation cases filed by over 40 families, the anguish and unanswered questions resurface, offering a glimpse into the enduring pain of those left behind.

Pursuit of Compensation and Truth

The families’ lawsuits target Malaysia Airlines, Boeing, Rolls Royce, and Allianz insurance group, seeking both compensation and the elusive truth behind the flight’s mysterious vanishing act. Zhang Qihuai, a lawyer representing the families, highlights the dual focus on financial recompense and uncovering the facts surrounding the disappearance. However, the jurisdictional challenges surrounding the Chinese court’s ability to enforce these claims remain uncertain, adding a layer of complexity to an already intricate legal landscape.

Read More: MH370: The plane that disappeared

Glimpse into the Courtroom Drama

Amid freezing temperatures in Beijing, several relatives clad in winter coats attended the court proceedings, displaying a resilience that has sustained them through a decade of uncertainty. Jiang Hui, who lost his mother on MH370, expressed a mix of comfort and hope, calling the hearing a “turning point.” He spoke of the immense pressure on the families and the deterioration of their living conditions over the years, emphasising the urgent need for legal relief.

Decade of Desperation

Jiang reflects on the unbearable weight of the past ten years and the toll it has taken on the families. As the first to take the battle to court, he acknowledges the challenges but expresses excitement at the rare opportunity to reopen the case after so much time has passed. Another grieving family member, Fu, shares his emotional journey, revealing the pressure and excitement surrounding this renewed legal battle.

Compensation Claims

Each family has filed for civil compensation ranging from 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) to 80 million yuan ($11.2 million), along with moral damages of 30 million yuan ($4.2 million) to 40 million yuan ($5.6 million). The staggering amounts reflect not only the financial toll on these families but also the intangible emotional distress they have endured. The families’ pursuit of justice extends beyond the courtroom, seeking acknowledgment of the pain and suffering inflicted upon them.

Settlements and Unresolved Grief

While some families have reached settlements with the defendants, receiving amounts between 2.5 million and 3 million yuan, over 110 other passengers’ families remain entangled in the legal web. The disparities in settlements raise questions about the complexities of assigning value to the lives lost and the anguish experienced by those who continue to grapple with an unresolved tragedy.

Unanswered Questions

The disappearance of MH370 has spawned a myriad of theories, from credible to outlandish, leaving the families in a perpetual state of uncertainty. Despite an exhaustive Australian-led search, only a few pieces of debris were found in a vast Indian Ocean search zone, prompting the suspension of the operation in 2017. A private hunt launched in 2018 yielded no results, leaving the families without the closure they desperately seek.

Read More: Five years on, five theories about MH370’s disappearance

As the Beijing court hearings unfold, the families of MH370 victims embark on a painful journey seeking closure, justice, and answers. The legal battle, laden with emotional and jurisdictional complexities, symbolises a decade of desperation and determination. Whether the court can provide the solace these families yearn for or if the mystery of MH370 will persist, shrouded in uncertainty, remains to be seen.