Lawyers looking for quality, design issues in type of aircraft that vanished
Some of the families of passengers who went missing on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370－the jetliner that disappeared on its way to Beijing in 2014－will go to the United States next week to file a lawsuit against aircraft maker Boeing, a lawyer involved in the case said.
"The lawsuit, which will begin on Tuesday in Washington, focuses on whether the aircraft used for Flight MH370 had quality or other problems in design and production," Zhang Qihuai, the lawyer responsible for the litigation, said on Thursday.
Flight MH370 disappeared from radar on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. It was carrying 239 people, including 154 Chinese passengers.
Zhang said he represents more than 60 plaintiffs, "because the litigation involves 28 Chinese passengers on Flight MH 370, and at least two family members of each victim found me to initiate the lawsuit".
All the plaintiffs are seeking compensation from Boeing, "but different families are asking for different amounts, and the exact amount for each can't be disclosed now", Zhang said.
Wen Wancheng, 67, whose son was on the flight, will leave for the US on Saturday as one of the plaintiffs' representatives. He said his aim is simply to find his son.
"As a family member, I think I need to attend the hearing if it opens in the US," Wen said.
A spokesman for Boeing said on Thursday that the company does not comment on pending litigation.
"Our thoughts continue to be with the families, friends and colleagues of those aboard Flight MH370," he said, adding: "It is important to note that the Malaysian government investigation into the MH370 disappearance remains open, and no cause has been determined.
"Boeing continues its support of the investigation, and it is providing technical advisers under the direction of government investigation agencies."
In November, there was a pretrial meeting for a separate lawsuit in Beijing Railway Transport Court. Thirty-seven cases related to the missing flight were ready to be heard.
In Beijing, the families of passengers are each seeking compensation ranging from 10 million to 74.9 million yuan (.5 million to .3 million) from five defendants－Malaysia Airlines Systems, which operated the flight and was subsequently renamed Malaysia Airlines Berhad; aircraft maker Boeing; engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce; and German insurance company Allianz.
Pretrial meetings are held to understand the demands and views of litigants before a trial. It means the case will be heard soon, "but the exact time of the trial is uncertain", Zhang said.