LAWYERS representing the families of British passengers killed in a plane crash - including Winwick man Tim Oakes - say more must be done to improve airline safety in the country.
Speaking after today’s inquest in Warrington, Irwin Mitchell’s specialist aviation law team, which acts for the families of five British victims among the 19 passengers and crew on board the flight in 2012, said the tragedy ‘robbed them of their future’.
An official accident report released in August last year identified a range of concerns including the overloading of the aircraft and suggestions that the pilots were not properly trained to handle an emergency that involves loss of power in one of the engines during take-off.
Meanwhile Explore Worldwide Ltd have admitted liability following the crash.
At the end of the inquest Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and Partner in Irwin Mitchell’s Aviation Law team who represented families at the inquest, said: “Our clients have suffered terribly following this tragedy and this inquest has been a very emotional experience for them.
“The basic facts speak for themselves. Prior to the Sita tragedy, from 2000 to 2012 there were 14 air crashes in Nepal that caused over 150 deaths and this tragedy was the sixth fatal plane crash in the country across a two-year period.
“Clearly Nepal domestic flights had a dreadful safety record prior to the Sita crash and following on from this inquest our families clearly believe that more should have been done in advance to warn of the dangers of internal flights in Nepal. “Had this been done, it is likely that a number of the British passengers may not have purchased the holiday package and would still be alive today.
“Since the Sita Air crash, there have been four further air accidents, one of which tragically killed all 18 persons on board – this continuation of poor safety is very concerning.
“While we were delighted that the EU listened to our concerns regarding Nepalese airlines, our clients and the public at large need to see that the authorities and industry are taking proactive measures to improve flight safety. “Once this has been achieved and the EU Commission removes Nepal carriers from the blacklist, the process of restoring confidence in domestic flights in Nepal with Nepalese carriers can start.
“In terms of the legal case against Explore in England, although they have admitted liability we still have to reach agreement as to the fair value of our clients’ claims for the loss of their loved ones. “We hope to negotiate without the need for a trial but we will be issuing proceedings in the High Court on the issue of the quantum of the claims as part of the on-going litigation/ negotiation process.”