Asiana Airlines Flight Passengers May Receive Different Payout Amounts, Depending on Citizenship Status
Foreigners who were in the recent Asiana Airlines plane crash may receive less financial compensation than Americans who were on the same flight, as the higher paying U.S. courts may refuse to handle the cases of many foreigners.
Foreigners may have to pursue lawsuits and payouts for their grievances in courts in Asia and other places outside the U.S. because of an international treaty that addresses international air travel passengers, according to the Washington Post.
The international agreement may make it more difficult for foreigners to obtain payouts as large as the ones they would receive in American courts, as such lawsuits in other countries are generally more difficult to win and less generous in their financial compensation, according to Fox News.
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco airport on July 6, injuring 182 passengers and killing three Chinese girls aboard the plane, according to the Huffington Post.
The majority of the people aboard the Asiana Airlines flight were foreigners.
The people who were injured, paralyzed or who lost family children are estimated to each win millions of dollars in American courts.
“If you are a U.S. citizen, there will be no problem getting into U.S. courts,” said Frank Pitre, an attorney who represents two American passengers who were in the crash. “The other people are going to have a fight on their hands.”
There were no known mechanical problems on the 7-year-old Boeing 777 from South Korea, which crashed Saturday at San Francisco International airport, killing two and injuring at least 181, an Asiana Airlines CEO said Sunday.
“We purchased this airplane in March 2006 … currently we understand that there are no engine or mechanical problems,” Yoon Young-Doo, the president and chief executive of the airline, told a press conference at company headquarters.
He said the pilots had about 19,000 hours flying experience between the two of them. He did not comment on pilot error or air traffic control problems as a potential cause of the crash.
"For now, we acknowledge that there were no problems caused by the 777-200 plane or engines," Yoon said. He said when the plane was landing, the crew made usual in flight announcements and no emergency alarm sounded.
The two passengers killed on Asiana Airlines flight 214 were Chinese nationals, two 16-year-old girls. Chinese state media said they were Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia of Jiangshan Middle School in China's eastern Zhejiang province.
"I bow my head and sincerely apologize for causing concern to the passengers, families and our people,” Yoon said.
The flight from Seoul has 291 passengers and 16 crew. Of those on board, 141 were Chinese nationals, 77 were South Korean, 61 Americans, one Japanese, three Indians, three Canadians, one French, one Vietnamese, and 19 others of unidentified nationality.
“Please accept my deepest apology,” Yoon said, bowing to cameras in the press conference.
“We’ll make our utmost efforts to cope with the tragedy.”