Thursday, July 24, 2008

More families sue One-Two-Go

PHUKET AIR CRASH
BOONSONG KOSITCHOTETHANA
The wave of litigation against One-Two-Go Airlines is gathering force as more families of the victims killed in the Sept 16, 2007 Phuket air crash are coming forward to join others in pursuing legal action in US courts. The families of a Welsh couple killed in the crash are the latest to make public their plan to sue the Thai airline, its parent carrier Orient Thai Airlines and the GrandMax Group, a related lessor, as part of a 125 million (8.17 billion baht) compensation claim.

Alex Collins and Bethan Jones, both 22, died when One-Two-Go's MD-82 jetliner crashed in strong winds and heavy rain at Phuket International Airport, leaving 89 dead and 41 injured.

The victims' parents have told the British media: ''We believe the air crash was completely avoidable and those responsible should be held to account.

''While we accept that nothing can bring Alex and Bethan and the other people who lost their lives back, we are keen to make sure we prevent this from happening again.''

The legal action comes as the sister of an American victim, Stefan Woronoff, has uncovered the chilling details of the transcript from the flight recorder on board flight OG269.

The document, uncovered by Bonnie Rind, who is calling for an inquiry by the US National Transportation Safety Board, reveals that neither the Indonesian pilot Arief Mulyadi or his co-pilot, who were both killed, were in control of the plane when it came in to land.

Ms Rind claimed that for 15 critical seconds before the crash, nobody was flying the plane.

Ribbeck Law Chartered, the Chicago-based law firm specialising in aviation disasters worldwide, is already representing more than seventy families, claiming damages of up to US$400 million in the US from the airline and the other liable parties.

They are also asking Thai authorities to file criminal charges against Udom Tantiprasongchai, chief executive and founder of the two carriers.

The Thai Department of Civil Aviation has ordered the One-Two-Go planes grounded for 56 days from today and given Orient Thai Airlines 30 days to improve its safety standards.

Mr Udom and the other airline executives could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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