Germanwings relatives to launch legal proceedings in US

2015-08-09 14:03
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Berlin - The relatives of those killed in the Germanwings plane crash are launching legal proceedings in the United States against parent company Lufthansa after turning down a payout deemed too low, German tabloid Bild reported on Sunday, citing their lawyer.

"We are preparing a claim in the United States and we see good chances of being granted legal standing," said Elmar Giemulla, who is representing 39 families of the passengers killed in the March 24 disaster that has been blamed on a suicidal co-pilot.

"With the help of the US' out-of-court system of gathering evidence, [we hope to] ascertain how it was possible for a co-pilot with a record of psychological problems ... to be allowed to fly in the first place," he added.

Giemulla is working alongside US law firm Kreindler & Kreindler, which has litigated on a series of aviation-related cases including the 1988 Lockerbie disaster, the 9/11 attacks and the 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.

Prosecutors believe that Andreas Lubitz, a 27-year-old co-pilot, deliberately crashed the Germanwings plane into the French Alps after locking the captain of the cockpit and putting the plane into a dive, killing himself and 149 others.

Some media reports suggest that Lufthansa - the parent company of low-budget subsidiary Germanwings - had been aware that he had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Lufthansa disbursed €50 000 ($55 000) per victim immediately after the crash, and later said that it would offer compensation of €25 000 to the families and €10 000 to each immediate relative.

An insurance consortium led by Allianz set aside €278 million to meet claims connected to the Germanwings crash. The sum is to cover compensation claims by the families, the loss of the Airbus A320 and associated personnel costs.

Read more on:    lufthansa  |  germany  |  us  |  germanwings crash
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