UPDATE: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a destination of Beijing, China shortly before 1 a.m. local time (1 p.m. Friday EDT) on Saturday March 8, 2014. Contact was lost with the Boeing 777-200ER, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, approximately 2 hours into the flight. There were no further radio communications and the aircraft's transponder, a signal that amplifies the plane's radar signature and provides airspeed and altitude information for the jet, was no longer being received by air traffic control. At that time the jet was apparently located approximately 90 miles to the North East of Kuala Lumpur. Chinese officials have confirmed that the aircraft never entered China airspace.
Malaysian authorities have reported that after Subang Air Traffic Control lost contact with the jet, it may have turned sharply to the West on military radar. The jet then apparently flew westerly for another hour over-flying the island of Palau Perak on the west side of the Malaysian peninsula. During the entire westbound flight of the airplane on radar there were no communications with the crew of MH370, nor was its transponder, observed.
Flight 370 was a Boeing 777-200, serial #28420, registration 9M-MRO. It was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on 31 May 2002. The aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent engines. According to the airline, it had accumulated 53,460 hours and 7,525 cycles in service. The aircraft was not previously involved in any major incidents, however, it was involved in a ground collision with another plane while taxiing at Shanghai International Airport in August 2012 which resulted in significant damage to one of its wingtips, which broke off after striking the tail of another airliner. Its last maintenance check was done in February 2014.
Malaysian Airlines is the flag carrier of Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines operates flights from its home base, Kuala Lumpur International Airport throughout Asia, Europe and The United States. The airline's headquarters are located at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor, in Greater Kuala Lumpur.
In July 2013, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash-landed on final approach to San Francisco International Airport. Three passengers died and 181 were injured as a result of that accident. Kreindler & Kreindler LLP currently represents 74 victims of Asiana Flight 214.
There have been other major aviation disasters where the airplane was not immediately located. Moving forward these prior accidents may shed light on what happened to Flight 370.
In the Silkair Flight 185 crash the aircraft similarly disappeared quickly from radar. There was much controversy about the cause of the crash, even among official investigations.
In 2002 a Boeing 747 operating as China Air Flt 611 had a rear bulkhead failure and disappeared from radar.
In 2005 a Boeing 737 operated by Helios airlines suffered a loss of oxygen which caused all on board to lose consciousness leading to the crash once the aircraft ran out of fuel.
Other scenarios are possible, like the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 when an Airbus A330 jet experienced a problem with icing of the instrument which provides airspeed data to the autopilot and as a result the AP disengaged and the pilot's did not react correctly leading to a stall from which they could not recover. The aircraft was not found until 5 days after and not recovered for 2 yrs.
These prior tragedies demonstrate that there are any number of possible causes for this crash and it is simply too early to speculate. What is most important at this time is to muster all possible resources to assist in locating the airplane. We trust that the involvement of US and other investigators from around the globe will help in this effort. We will continue to monitor the investigation and be prepared to evaluate the data and related information as soon as it is available.
While it is far too early to reach any conclusions about the cause of the Malaysia Airlines crash, it is important for family members to understand that certain of their rights are governed by the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (1999 Montreal Convention) to which Malaysia is a signatory. The treaty controls, among other things, where a claim can be brought against the carrier. Among other provisions, the Montreal Convention has limits on airline liability and provides for up to five jurisdictions where claims may be brought, which include:
(1) where the airline is domiciled
(2) where the airline has its principal place of business
(3) where the airline has a place of business through which the contract of carriage was entered into (where the ticket was bought)
(4) the place of destination (which may be the final destination on a round trip ticket)
(5) where the passenger has his or her permanent residence.
For the sake of the many grieving families, we hope the airplane will soon be found and it is likely that the cause or contributing factors will then become clear.
We are advising the MH370 families who can not bring lawsuits against Malaysia Airlines in the United States that it is premature to retain U.S. counsel based on the promise of a lawsuit against Boeing, the airplane's manufacturer. They should instead consider consulting with competent and ethical lawyers in the jurisdictions where they can sue the airline. They should not be pressured into signing retainers that may result in excessive legal fees. There will be time to investigate the promise of U.S. litigation.
About Kreindler & Kreindler LLP
Founded in 1950, Kreindler & Kreindler LLP is internationally recognized as the first and most prominent aviation law firm in the United States. The firm has been the leading plaintiff legal counsel on thousands of aviation cases, including major ones such as Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the September 11 terrorist attacks, Pan Am Lockerbie Flight 103, Korean Airlines Flight 007, American Airlines Flight 587, and many cases of small private and commercial crashes. Its ranks include airplane and helicopter pilots, engineers and other technical experts.
Kreindler Partners Comment in the Media. Read or watch more:
- Business Insider (3/25/2014): There will be a massive legal battle over missing Malaysia Flight 370
- FOX News (3/24/2014): Flight 370 investigation intensifies amid developments
- CBS/WLNY (3/21/2014): Latest on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
- CNN (3/21/2014): Will families of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 get their day in court?
- MSNBC (3/21/2014): Searchers go to the world's most remote corners to look for missing flight
- CBS/WLNY (3/20/2014): Experts weigh in on missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370
- MSNBC (3/20/2014): Latest updates on missing Malaysian Flight
- FOXNews (3/20/2014): Massive recovery mission for possible Flight 370 debris
- MSNBC (3/20/2014): Obama speaks out on missing flight
- MSNBC (3/20/2014): Search area widens for missing jet
- CNN (3/18/2014): No motive in disappearance of airplane