February 27, 2019 Articles

U.S. Litigation on the Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Dismissed

The decision to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds provides a detailed background of what factors courts look at in foreign air crash cases.

By Michael S. Krzak

On March 4, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370), a Boeing 777, disappeared over the southern Indian Ocean. The flight originated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was en route to Beijing, China, at the time it disappeared. There were 227 passengers and 12 crew members on the aircraft. See In re Air Crash over Southern Indian Ocean, on March 8, 2014, No. MC-16-1184 (KBJ), 2018 WL 6133070, at *2 (D.D.C. Nov. 21, 2018). The 12 crew members were Malaysian citizens, and the 227 passengers consisted of 14 nationalities, including 152 Chinese citizens, 38 Malaysian citizens, and 3 U.S. citizens. Id. Following the disappearance, an unprecedented international search and rescue, followed by a search and recovery effort, took place. It is now three and a half years since the aircraft disappeared, and while some pieces of the wreckage have washed ashore in the Indian Ocean and on the coast of Africa, most of the plane has not been found, including the cockpit voice recorder and the digital flight data recorder. None of victims have been found. Id. at *4. 

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