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Missing Plane Update: The Search for Malaysia Flight 370

January 1, 1970 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

The search continues for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing on March 8, 2014, over four months ago. More than 26 countries have been involved in the search, with the Australian government coordinating much of the effort. A new search area, more than 1,000 miles northwest of Perth, has been identified after recovery efforts in the original area were unsuccessful.

The new search area was selected after modeling the available satellite data on Flight 370. Further satellite testing is being performed to collect more data points. The additional data points can be compared to the satellite data on Flight 370, and hopefully narrow the search area further. An undersea search of the new area is expected to take almost a year. Nearly $60 million has been set aside by the Australian government to cover costs of the search.

Bids from private companies are now being accepted to select a group to run the undersea search. A company should be selected and ready to begin by late August. Currently, the 23,000 square mile area is undergoing a bathymetric survey. This evaluation will show the search teams obstacles to avoid while towing the equipment through the deep waters of the Indian Ocean.

Aviation Accidents

Claims against Malaysia Airlines by the families of those lost on Flight 370 will be governed by the Montreal Convention. The convention applies when an accident occurs on an international flight and the countries involved are signatories to the treaty. The Montreal Convention is very friendly to the survivors of passengers in comparison to previous international aviation treaties. The Montreal Convention governs only claims against an airline.

The Montreal Convention does not govern other potential sources of recovery, such as claims against manufacturers of the plane and its parts. The court where the case is brought will ultimately decide which law applies. Choice of law applies depends on the circumstances of each accident. Evidence from the plane could answer many questions concerning how this accident occurred. More importantly, locating the lost flight will bring answers to grieving families and, hopefully, allow them to bury their loved ones and bring some closure and peace to these families.

Aviation at Fleming, Nolen & Jez

Our founder, George Fleming, began his career representing the United States in aviation disasters, and our firm has continued to represent clients in aviation cases. Fleming, Nolen & Jez has helped many clients reach favorable settlements in cases such as the Alaska Airlines aviation disaster, the American Airlines Flight 587 crash, the TAN SAHSA crash in Honduras, US Air Flight 427 disaster, and more.