Dar es Salaam. Relatives of those killed in the Precision Air plane crash last Sunday could potentially receive at least $129,000 (about 300 million shillings) for each victim if they follow the correct compensation procedure according to experts, experts say. international best practices governing the aviation industry.
The plane carrying 39 passengers (38 adults and an infant) and four crew members crashed into Lake Victoria in Bukoba at 8:53 a.m. while arriving from Dar es Salaam. Nineteen people died in the crash, while 24 survived.
According to the President of the Association of Insurers of Tanzania, Mr. Khamis Suleiman, in accordance with the principles of strict liability, the relatives of each person who died in a plane crash are entitled to a payment of $129,000.
“Under strict liability rules, as detailed in aviation conventions, one must be paid 100,000 SDRs (Special Drawing Rights), which is equivalent to $129,000 if the country is a signatory to the Air Force Convention. Warsaw and if the airline is found not to have been negligent,” he told the Citizen yesterday.
He said the amount could increase, given that victims would be free to go to court and demand compensation depending on the level of damage they could claim to have suffered in the process.
“You talk about an incident where there were young professionals who had just been hired. Their relatives would be free to seek payment based on the specified reason and damages, which could be verified by a competent authority,” he noted.
Suleiman said that since the aircraft insurance system is largely based on a reinsurance agreement between a local insurance company and a foreign company, accident proceeds would be kept locally.
Those who suffered injuries in the accident would also be free to claim compensation if they wish.
The managing director of Allied Insurance Brokers Tanzania Limited (AIBT), Mr. David Nolan, said it was difficult to determine the exact amount to be paid in compensation to the victims of the accident.
“There is no correct answer to a very difficult and, of course, emotionally charged question,” he told the Citizen.
As a first step, he said, airline insurers could seek to settle with the victims’ families to avoid lengthy lawsuits and legal costs. However, this would only affect immediate dependents and spouses who would be entitled to claims.
“If, however, the family is unhappy with the offer, they can take legal action against the airline or any other party they believe is responsible for the loss. This is often done as part of a class action through which many families of victims come together,” he said.
He said it was due to similar circumstances that Ukrainian families in the Netherlands received significantly more than the families of Chinese also involved in the Malaysian Airlines crash.
“Compensation amounts vary significantly depending on the above parameters,” he said, insisting that the air carrier, however, has a “strict” responsibility to pay any amount of compensation up to a certain limit, regardless of the circumstances of the loss.
The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty signed in 1999 to establish airline liability for the death or injury of passengers.
The strict limit of liability imposed on the carrier is approximately $145,000. The United Republic of Tanzania ratified the treaty in 2003. The Montreal Convention, however, only applies to international travel.
Domestic flights are governed by the Tanzania Civil Aviation (Air Transport) Regulations 2008, under the Tanzania Civil Aviation Act 1977. This legislation sets a strict liability limit of $120,000 per passenger.
On the other hand, aviation insurance expert Panachelius Pancras said that there are laws governing the aviation industry around the world in the event of an accident and how victims should be compensated. In this case, however, Precision Air was liable for the claim.
“It was purely a plane crash, which must be covered by insurance…the important thing here is that those who are to be compensated are cooperating with insurance experts to guide them on how to make sense of the payment “, he noted. .
Plane crashes are very complex in terms of compensation, he said, noting that environmentalists can also say there has been an oil spill and they may also need to be paid.
He said the payments depend on how the victims deliver the documents that show how the accident caused problems for them and their families, for example, how they lost promising family members like doctors and doctors. ‘others.
Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (Tira) Public Relations and Communications Officer Mr Eliezer Rweikiza said the insurance regulator will work with those who were personally involved in the accident and those who lost loved ones to ensure that they receive compensation in accordance with the law.
“In the event of a disaster, an investigation is first carried out, then insurance measures follow. We are waiting for the process to take place so that they can all be effectively compensated,” he said.
On the other hand, insurance claims manager Michael Emmanuel said that from an insurance perspective and International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines, every airline is required to have in place aircraft insurance coverage that would cover the hull as well as liability coverage. to protect third parties who may suffer from the uncertainties caused by misfortunes like this.
He said the insurance fraternity had an important role to play in terms of risk improvement measures before taking aviation risks domestically. A prudent underwriter will also need to assess aircraft maintenance records.
French experts are investigating the accident
The government confirmed on Tuesday that French experts have already arrived and joined Tanzanian experts to carry out investigations into the cause of the accident.
“Fundamentally, air crash investigations take time, but experience shows that they take between one and two months to complete,” the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport told Mwananchi yesterday. , Mr. Gabriel Migire.
He noted that preliminary reports show the accident was caused by bad weather during the landing.
He noted, however, that the in-depth investigation, involving experts from Tanzania and France, would involve obtaining information from flight data decoders and cockpit voice recorders, among other things.
International media reported on Monday that a team from the French air accident investigation agency Bureau d’Enquête et d’Analyse pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA), together with technical advisers from the Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR, were on their way to Tanzania to take part in the investigations. .
According to a BEA spokesperson, the media reported that the Bureau was sending a team to Tanzania with technical advisers from ATR.
Under international rules, the locally conducted investigation would typically include the participation of authorities in France, where the plane was designed, and Canada, where its Pratt & Whitney engines were manufactured.
ATR said it was “fully committed to supporting the customer and the investigation.”
Experts say most plane crashes are caused by a cocktail of factors that take months to fully understand.
ATR is the company that built the ATR 42-500 turboprop.
Precision Air is one of ATR’s largest customers in Africa.
In December 2011, Precision and ATR signed a $98 million contract for the former to buy four ATR 42-600s and one ATR 72-600.
Delivery of the 50-seat ATR 42-600s was to begin at the end of 2012.
The ATR 72-600 was to be delivered in 2014.