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US-Bangla plane crash in Nepal: Victims’ families face long wait for compensation

  • Published at 01:37 am June 12th, 2018
Rescue workers work at the wreckage of a US-Bangla aeroplane after it crashed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal on March 12, 2018 REUTERS
Rescue workers work at the wreckage of a US-Bangla aeroplane after it crashed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal on March 12, 2018 Reuters

Three months after the fateful crash that killed over 50 people on board a private airlines flight at Kathmandu, victims’families face a long and complex process to receive the compensation they were promised two months ago. 

Flight BS211 of US-Bangla Airlines, carrying 67 passengers and four crew members, crashed near Tribhuvan International Airport in the Nepali capital on March 12, killing 27 Bangladeshi nationals including all four crew members, 23 Nepali nationals and one Chinese. 

On April 11, Bangladesh Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal said the family of each of the 27 Bangladeshi victims would receive a $50,000 (roughly Tk42 lakh) in compensation. 

“We have not received any compensation yet; we don’t know how long it will take,” said Firuja Begum, whose son Faruq Hossain Priok and three-year-old granddaughter Priyonmoyi Tamara died in the crash. 

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday, Firuja said her daughter-in-law Almun Nahar Annie, who survived the crash, submitted all the relevant documents over a month ago. The US-Bangla Airlines authorities told them that their case was under process.

Tangail resident Masud Uddin Bhuiyan, whose wife Umme Salma, a high-ranking official at the Planning Commission, died in the crash, said he submitted the documents four weeks ago, but had yet to hear about the compensation.

Why is it taking so long?

Dhaka-based law firm FM Associates is processing the applications on behalf of the families of both the deceased and the survivors, said the airlines authorities.

“We are processing the applications from the families of the deceased first. Once we complete that, we will process the applications submitted by the survivors,” said Al Amin Rahman, managing partner of FM Associates.

Successors of about half of the victims have been identified so far, and the law firm has filed lawsuits on their behalf, he told the Dhaka Tribune. The lawsuits are in trial already, and are likely to be settled in four months, he added. 

“Successors of the rest of the victims have been asked to submit all the papers; we are working with them,” Al Amin said.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, US-Bangla CEO Imran Asif said they had briefed the victims’ families about the process of getting the compensation, and had forwarded all the information to the designated law firm.

“The application by one of the victims’ successor is at the final stage; hearing of nine others’ cases are in progress,” he added. “We will hand over the compensation once the successors are finalized through the litigation.”

He further added that another platform is working with a Nepali law firm for the compensation for the families of the Nepali and the Chinese victims, and the airlines authorities are in regular contact with them.