Asiana plane crash

Asiana crash survivors press lawsuit against Boeing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 3:47am

A group of 83 passengers aboard an Asiana Airlines flight which crash-landed in San Francisco has filed a lawsuit seeking millions from the aircraft's manufacturer Boeing, their lawyers said.

While a final determination of what caused the deadly crash of the Boeing 777 is years away, Chicago-based Ribbeck Law said initial reports indicated it could have been caused by a mechanical malfunction of the auto-throttle.

Boeing could also have been at fault for the design of sliding ramps which deployed inside the plane, "further injuring passengers and blocking their exit to safety", Ribbeck said.

There were also possibly problems with the seatbelts given that police officers "had to pass knives to crew members inside the burning wreckage" so they could cut passengers free, Ribbeck said.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in Chicago, Boeing's corporate headquarters.

It would be expanded in coming days to include Asiana and component part manufacturers "who may be responsible for this disaster", Ribbeck said.

The Asiana jet from Shanghai via Seoul clipped a sea wall with its tail as it came in to land at the US airport on July 6 and skidded out of control before catching fire, leaving three Chinese students dead and more than 180 other passengers injured.

It is terrible that the sliding ramps deployed inside the plane blocking our way to the exit door, trapping us inside the burning plane
Zhang Yuan

Zhang Yuan, who suffered severe spinal injuries and a broken leg, said it was important that victims protected their rights "immediately".

"It is terrible that the sliding ramps deployed inside the plane blocking our way to the exit door, trapping us inside the burning plane," she said in the statement.

"My husband, my daughter, other passengers and I would not have suffered such terrible injuries if the sliding ramps and the seat belts would not have trapped us in the burning wreckage."

Ribbeck filed a motion seeking to require Boeing to provide details about the jet's design and maintenance and will seek access to all of the evidence discovered in the course of the investigation.

Swift legal action was "vital" for the victims and their families because international treaties prohibited US safety regulators from making determinations of liability or fault.

"Just compensation to these families cannot be provided under the law, until liability of all parties is established first," Ribbeck lawyer Monica Kelly said.