Malaysia Airlines sued by brother of American man on flight MH370

Flight MH370 disappeared while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014, with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Flight MH370 disappeared while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014, with 239 passengers and crew on board.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The brother of an American man who was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 when it disappeared while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014 is suing the carrier in a US court.

Mr Phillip Talmadge Wood was on temporary assignment in Malaysia for International Business Machines Corp. when he boarded the flight to the Chinese capital, according to the complaint filed in Washington on Jan 12 by Mr Thomas Wood of Fort Worth, Texas.

Mr Thomas Wood, who is managing the affairs of his brother's estate, is seeking as much as the US$155,937 (S$224,100) maximum automatically allowed under the terms of the 1999 Montreal Convention, and more unless Malaysia Airlines can prove that his brother's death was caused by something other than the negligence of the carrier or those in its employ.

Mr Philip Wood was survived by his sons Nicholas and Christopher, according to the court filing.

Ms Khairunnisak Dzunnurin, a spokesman for Malaysia Airline, did not immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit. Calls to Malaysia Airlines' media office were not answered outside of regular business hours.

Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation last year declared the incident, which claimed the lives of 239 passengers and crew on the Boeing 777, an accident.

Investigators concluded that someone on board intentionally disabled the aircraft's tracking devices, and the jet turned south before plunging into the Indian Ocean off Australia's western coast.

More than 80,000 sq km of seabed have been scoured, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said on Wednesday (Jan 13) in its weekly update. The search of the full 120,000 sq km area will be completed in the middle of the year, the bureau said.

The only solid evidence so far from the missing Boeing 777 is a wing component that washed up in July on Reunion Island, some 3,800km from the search zone.

The multinational team hunting for the plane has said it will not expand the southern Indian Ocean search zone without new clues about the wreck's exact location.