American Airlines pays millions to Kingston crash victims

Published: Tuesday | December 11, 2012 Comments 0

American Airlines (AA) has reportedly paid out millions of dollars in damages to several persons who were injured when one of its aircraft crashed in Kingston almost three years ago.

At the same time, the Jamaican law firm of Wilson, Franklin and Barnes, which secured the settlement, said it is still in negotiations with the US carrier on behalf of other victims of the crash.

However, Delano Franklin, a senior partner in the law firm, yesterday declined to divulge details of the case, saying he wanted to "trod carefully because the process is ongoing".

"I can speak without equivocation that American Airlines, based on submissions we have made and negotiations, have settled some and others are still being negotiated," he said.

According to Franklin, the agreements were hammered out "on a case by case basis" in a Texas court with assistance from one of the top US aviation law firms, Slack and Davis.

He said victims who agreed to the settlement were paid during the last half of this year.

Franklin, however, pointed out that some cases could still go to trial.

"Largely because there is a difference, a wide gulf, as to what the settlement ought to be in relation to some of the cases," he told The Gleaner.

Up to late last night, officials at AA had not responded to a request for comment.

narrowly escaped death

Some 145 passengers narrowly escaped death in December 2009 when AA flight 331, flying from Miami to Kingston, overshot the runway at the Norman Manley International Airport and came to a stop inches from the sea just off the Port Royal main road.

Yesterday, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), which has been probing the incident, said it has now determined the cause of the crash.

However, director general of the JCAA, Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby, declined to discuss the findings, saying the report is still being finalised and will first have to go to Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies.

He said the report could be released by the end of next month.

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