LONDON -- The families of those aboard missing Flight 370 deserve a fair payout from the $1.5 billion insurance policy held by Malaysia Airlines for their "appalling treatment," a London lawyer representing some of them said Tuesday.
“We’ll be giving advice to the families on what is best for their individual circumstances,” said James Healy-Pratt, a partner at Stewart's Law LLP. He is representing families from a number of countries.
The most important thing was to get to the truth by conducting a thorough investigation, preventing future accidents and fair and equal treatment for each of the families, added the former helicopter pilot-turned legal eagle, who also worked with the families of passengers on the doomed Air France flight that vanished in 2009 over the Atlantic Ocean.
It was also “unacceptable” that the missing plane was not equipped with an upgraded communications pack, “which would have told everyone far more precise data on where the aircraft was,” he said, adding that many airlines had chosen to spend the modest upgrade fee on this device.
Malaysia's Chief Inspector General Abu Bakar said Tuesday he has yet to rule out any theories, leaving the families in "a rather appalling situation of not knowing whether it was a conventional airline disaster or something sinister like hijacking, terrorism or suicide," Healy-Pratt said.
"So until the black boxes are located and the investigation work is done on them no one's going to know and that could be years."
First published March 25 2014, 6:42 AM
Sigi de Vos
Sigi de Vos is a senior producer with the TODAY based in London. She has been with NBC since 1985.
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De Vos was born in Namibia and worked as a journalist in South Africa, covering the end of apartheid. She covered both Gulf Wars, the wars in the ex-Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is also a veteran of TODAY's Where in the World Series, from Svalbard, Norway, to the Middle East and North Africa. She is a connoisseur of stories on art, science and urban legends.
De Vos has won numerous prizes for her journalism, including five Emmy Awards and a Headliner Award for her work on the war in Bosnia.