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Pioneering jet crash lawsuit proceeds

A BEIJING court has agreed to hear a 100-million-yuan (US$14.6 million) compensation claim lodged by the families of 32 passengers killed in a plane crash about four years ago in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Legal experts said it is the first major lawsuit involving a plane crash to be slated for hearing by a Chinese court.

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court said the suit will proceed after an additional document is filed by one of the foreign claimants, the Beijing Daily reported yesterday.

The families are seeking compensation from the plane's manufacturer and the air carrier, and they want those parties to publish their findings on the cause of the crash and apologize publicly.

The latest lawsuit is the third to be filed by the families, according to their lawyer Hao Junbo. He did not say why the court refused to accept the earlier applications.

The crash occurred on November 21, 2004, when a Shanghai-bound Bombardier jet crashed after taking off from Baotou, killing 55 people, including 47 passengers and six crew. The State Administration of Work Safety and the Ministry of Supervision blamed the crash on the failure to properly de-ice the plane's wings.

The carrier, China Eastern Airlines, offered 211,000 yuan to each of the victims' families, but those who joined the suit declined.


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