SIA and Taipei crash survivor settle lawsuit

SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) confirmed yesterday it had settled a lawsuit brought against the company by a survivor of a plane crash that killed 83 people in Taiwan three years ago. 

“I can confirm that a settlement has been reached with the plaintiff but we are prohibited by the court from disclosing the amount,” SIA spokesman Ric Clements told AFP. 

“It is, however, substantially less than the plaintiff had demanded.” 

In his lawsuit filed in the United States, retired college professor Harald Linke had demanded unspecified damages for injuries he received when an SIA plane crashed while attempting to take off on the wrong runway at Taipei’s Chiang Kai-Shek airport on October 31, 2000. 

Linke’s lawyer, Kevin Boyle, said in Los Angeles that the amount offered to settle the lawsuit was “extremely substantial and probably a record sum for a post traumatic stress syndrome case without significant injury”. 

Boyle said SIA “finally offered us what we deemed to be an honourable amount,” adding that the terms of the deal were protected by a confidentiality agreement. 

Clements, however, said “we do not know the basis for saying that the settlement was a record sum.” 

The crash happened when Flight SQ006, a Boeing 747-400 en route from Singapore to Los Angeles, attempting to take off during a storm, ploughed into construction equipment and exploded, killing 83 people and injuring 57 of the 179 people on board. 

The former New York University biology professor’s negligence suit was the first of several brought over the crash to reach trial in the United States, his lawyers said. 

The settlement should set an important precedent in resolving more than 140 US lawsuits stemming from the crash, they said. 

The cases are being heard in California as the jet was bound for Los Angeles after a refuelling stop in Taipei. – AFP  

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