Compensation after Fifteen Years

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
By George Hatcher

I know I’ve said before how cases take a long time. Sometimes they drag on in unexpected ways. Take for example the LAPA case. On August 31 1999 Líneas Aéreas Privadas Argentinas scheduled Flight 3142 (LV-WRZ) to fly Buenos Aires–Córdoba with a hundred and one persons aboard. The twenty-nine year old Boeing 737-204C failed to get in the air because the flight crew forgot to put the flaps in the appropriate position for flight. Instead of shooting into the air, the plane sped through the perimeter fence, across a street, struck a car and collided with a median and machinery on the road.

The accident took sixty-five lives, two of them not even on the plane. Forty aboard were injured, seventeen of them seriously. NTSB records say there were 80 fatalities and 21 minor injuries.

That’s what is widely known. What many do not know is that after the accident, nine families were given the wrong bodies. Those bodies were exhumed, checked, delivered to the correct families, and reburied at the cost of Argentina’s First Chamber of the House. The financial cost associated with all of this was covered. Not the emotional cost.

Three of those families affected will be compensated 100 thousand dollars plus interest.

In my heart of hearts, I do believe no amount of money can ever compensate for the wear and tear on the families due to the mix-up, even if at the time, the hasty mistake was well-meaning (or expedited due to politics.) Can you imagine what the families went through, seeing the resting places disturbed, then having to endure new funerals? It must have been like losing them more than once—refreshing the whole misery of loss a multiple of times. I cannot help but wonder about the families who were not compensated. I wonder if it has been so long that there is no one left to pay.

This can be of no assurance to the families of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. It is further proof that aviation crash cases do take a long time. Tragedy is tragedy. There is no best case scenario in a tragedy.

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