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Swissair crash: legal cases still pending

Four-and-a-half years after Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the sea in Halifax, eight compensation cases are still pending against the former national carrier.

Since the accident – which killed all 229 people on board – little information about its cause has been brought to light.

What is clear, however, is that a fire broke out in the plane and the electricity system failed – both events are thought to have played a central role in the crash.

Anton Fürer, who heads the Swissair 111 Post Emergency Organisation, says Swissair settled 221 cases out-of-court.

On the remaining cases Fürer says: “We continue to negotiate with the lawyers of the plaintiffs or in some cases await a decision from the US courts.”

For legal reasons he was unable to give figures on the amount of damages given to the victims’ families.

In October 1998, a month after the crash, Swissair paid 156 families a total of SFr4.7 million. The following March, the airline paid each of the victim’s families SFr195,000.

The cases – all pending in the United States – are to be paid out by the insurance policy of the former SAir Group.

According to Swissair, payouts would be “decided on a case-by-case basis dependent on real damages suffered”.

swissinfo, Urs Maurer (translation: Karin Kamp)

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR