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Court agrees to hear plane crash claim

A BEIJING court has agreed to hear a claim for 100 million yuan (US$11.7 million) in
compensation lodged by the families of 32 passengers killed in a plane crash four years
This is the first major law suit involving a plane crash in the country.
The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, did not hear the claim immediately
however, saying one further document from a foreign claimant was still required,
today's Beijing Daily reported.
As well as the compensation from the plane's manufacturer and the carrier, the families
want the manufacturer and carrier to publish their findings into the cause of the crash
and apologize publicly in newspapers, TV and Websites.
This is the third time the families have sought to lodge a claim, according to their
lawyer Hao Junbo. He did not say why the court had refused to accept the two earlier
Fifty-five people died in the plane crash in Baotou, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,
on November 21, 2004. The Shanghai-bound Bombardier CRJ200LR jet crashed after taking
off from Baotou, killing 47 passengers and six crew members. Two ground staff were also
The flight carrier China Eastern Airlines offered compensation of 211,000 yuan to each
of the victims' families but this was refused.
The families filed a claim with a US court in October, 2005, asking for compensation
from the manufacturer, Bombardier Aerospace, the carrier, China Eastern Airlines and
the manufacturer of the jet engines, General Electric. The companies then agreed to pay
a total of US$11.75 million to the 32 victims.
But the families never received the compensation, Hao said. The US court abandoned the
case when China Eastern Airlines asked a Chinese court to deal with the matter.
In November 2007 and in June 2008, Hao tried to file claims with the Beijing No. 2
Intermediate People's Court but these were not accepted by the court.
On March 16, Hao applied for the third time and the court accepted the claim.


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