Two Malaysian boys have launched a lawsuit against Malaysia Airlines and the government for negligence over the loss of their father in the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370, in the first legal action over the disaster.
Jee Kinson, 13, and Jee Kinland, 11, said in the suit on Friday that when the plane dropped from the radar while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, the civil aviation department did not try to establish contact within reasonable time.
"We have waited for eight months. After speaking to various experts, we believe we have sufficient evidence for a strong case. A big plane missing in this age of technology is really unacceptable," their lawyer Arunan Selvaraj said.
Although Malaysia Airlines and the authorities say they are doing all they can to find the plane, Selvaraj accused authorities of failing to take responsibility over its disappearance.
"Now we are talking about what had happened on the 8th of March 2014. So we want answers, basically we want the responsible party - nobody's coming forward - so we want answers, we want people to know what actually transpired, we want accountability, we want those who are responsible to come forward," he said.
The suit said the national carrier was negligent and failed to take all due measures to ensure a safe flight. It also named the director-generals of civil aviation and immigration, the country's navy chief and the government as respondents and alleged they committed gross neglect and breach of duty.
Mental, emotional and financial losses
The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for mental distress, emotional pain and the loss of financial support following the disappearance of their father, Jee Jing Hang, who had operated an Internet business earning monthly income of about $5,178.
"The question is, could we have salvaged the situation if action was taken earlier?" Arunan said. "We want accountability."
The plane is believed to have gone down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, where a search is ongoing. Not a single piece of debris from the plane has been found.
Australian officials, who are coordinating the search, have said the hunt for the plane could take another year.
The plaintiffs also blamed the country's immigration department for negligently allowing passengers with fake identity papers to board the plane for Flight MH370.
Malaysian police determined that two men traveling with stolen passports on the plane were Iranians seeking to migrate illegally to Europe and were not terrorists.
Malaysia Airlines' brand had also been severely damaged after it faced a second disaster in July, when its Flight 17 was blasted out of the sky as it flew over an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
The tragedies forced the carrier to launch a $1.9b overhaul to revive its charred image, including the sacking of 6,000 workers, which makes up about 30 percent of its staff.