Relatives of passengers killed in Taiwan plane crash unhappy with suggested settlement

By Erik Crouch, February 12, 2015

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The relatives of passengers who were killed in the TransAsia flight that crashed into Taipei's Keelung river have been offered a settlement of NT14.9 million (USD472,807) each, but have turned it down. They say they are "dissatisfied with the amount and 'method' of payment."

There are not many details about the "method" that has turned people off, but it could be something a simple as tact: the airline has jumped to settle this issue, turning up with an offer less than a week after the final body count from the flight.

As for the value of the settlement, it's pretty clear what "dissatisfied with the amount" means. Around the time of the MH17 shoot-down last year, many were speculating what the "proper" amount of compensation would be. Some lower estimates floated around the US200,000 mark, and went as high as US8 million per passenger.

The investigation is still underway to determine what exactly took place in the cockpit of the doomed Taiwan flight, but it's increasingly possible that there was pilot error - and not only mechanical failure - that led to the crash. According to the Straits Times, the black box indicated that there was a "flame out" failure in the plane's right engine, and the pilot promptly decided to manually shut down the left engine - possibly by mistake.

If this was an issue of pilot training, and not simply a freak mechanical fault, then it's possible that TransAsia may lose quite a bit of money in this settlement - although that may pale in comparison to what they could lose if people start to see them as "that airline whose pilots flip the wrong switch."

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