Beijing court begins compensation hearings for families of MH370 victims

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27th November 2023 – (Beijing) A Beijing court has commenced compensation hearings for the families of Chinese victims who were onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared nearly a decade ago. The court proceedings began on Monday, addressing the tragic incident that occurred on March 8, 2014, when the jet carrying 239 people, predominantly from China, vanished during its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Despite an extensive search effort in a 120,000-square kilometre (46,000-square mile) Indian Ocean search zone, led by Australia and recognized as the largest in aviation history, only minimal traces of the aircraft were discovered. The search operation was ultimately suspended in January 2017. Some debris fragments have been found scattered across the Indian Ocean.

Jiang Hui, whose mother was a passenger on flight MH370, recently stated on social media that the compensation hearings would commence on Monday at Beijing’s People’s Court in the Chaoyang district, continuing until mid-December. Beijing’s state-run China Daily has also reported on the hearings, citing Jiang’s announcement. However, the court proceedings were not listed on the court’s public website.

On Monday morning, families of the victims and members of the media gathered outside the court, as observed by reporters from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In 2018, a private search for MH370 was initiated by a US exploration firm, but the endeavour concluded without success after several months of scouring the seabed.

The disappearance of MH370 has generated a multitude of theories, ranging from plausible to far-fetched, including speculation that the experienced pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had deliberately deviated from the flight path. Malaysian officials revealed in 2016 that the pilot had simulated a route over the Indian Ocean on a home flight simulator. However, they emphasized that this did not substantiate the claim that he intentionally crashed the plane.

The final report released in 2018 regarding the MH370 tragedy highlighted deficiencies in air traffic control and indicated that the aircraft’s course was manually altered. Nonetheless, the report did not provide conclusive findings, leaving relatives of the victims frustrated and disheartened.