A Malaysian family sued the country's government and Malaysia Airlines pn Friday for negligence in the disappearance of flight MH370 just days after an aviation expert alleged that authorities handling the search for missing plane could be involved in a cover-up.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Jee Kinson, 13, and Jee Kinland, 11, whose father was among the 239 people lost when the plane disappeared from the radar while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Bejing, have accused the civil aviation department of negligence for failing to try and contact the plane within a reasonable time. The suit also alleges the airline did not take proper measures to ensure a safe flight.
"We have waited for eight months. After speaking to various experts, we believe we have sufficient evidence for a strong case. A big plane missing in this age of technology is really unacceptable," their lawyer Arunan Selvaraj said.
According to ABC News, the boys are seeking damages for "mental distress, emotional pain and the loss of support" following the disappearance of their father, Jee Jing Hang, who operated an Internet business earning monthly income of nearly $5,200.
The family's decision to sue came just days after pilot and air-traffic management specialist Desmond Ross blamed Malaysian authorities' failure to release recordings from the first hours of the aircraft's disappearance for the delay in finding the Boeing 777.
"If proper protocols had been followed, we would not be looking for the aircraft today," Ross said, according to The Malaysian Insider.
The pilot also said "many facts are missing" regarding the official version of Flight MH370's final moments and emphasized that international law it is an airline's responsibility to prove it was not to blame for an accident.
"Many facts are missing, but many are available and should be released. We know that the initial period was filled with confusion and even misinformation from the airline itself which, at one stage, told ATC (Air traffic control) that it had contact with the aircraft in Cambodian airspace," he reportedly said.
Ross asserted that the lack of evidence regarding recordings of communication between civil air-traffic controllers at the Kuala Lumpur control center and military defense officers could be a case of "criminal negligence."
"Nobody can tell us that the recordings do not exist," Ross reportedly said, adding that Malaysia and Australia "could be accused of covering up vital information which would help the families and independent investigators to work out what happened."
Thus far, the search for the missing jetline, which has covered an area five times the size of Lake Tahoe, has turned up no results.
However, Malaysia's Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said last week that he was optimistic that the new phase of the underwater search, which recently went into its seventh month, will be successful in finding the jetliner.
"Based on the technology available and that we are looking at the right place, we are that much optimistic. The technical committee will also continue to zoom into the areas of search. Malaysia remains committed to finding the plane and we will find it," Hussein said, according to New Straits Times Online.
"All that could have been done to find the plane at this point has been done," he added "This is it, the next phase. The search goes on."