Excessive compensation claims by relatives of South Koreans killed in a plane crash in Kampot province more than a year ago have delayed an insurance settlement, said the president of the company that operated the ill-fated aircraft.
PMT Air president Sar Sareth said the relatives of the 13 South Koreans were demanding $1 million for each victim, while about $50,000 was being sought as compensation for each of the five Cambodian airline employees killed.
All 22 aboard PMT Air flight U4 241 were killed when it crashed during bad weather in mountainous terrain in Kampot province during a flight from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville on June 25 last year.
The compensation process had been slowed down by the “over demand” of the South Koreans, Sareth told the Post on July 7.
“The insurance company can’t afford to pay them,” Sareth said.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the victims were continuing negotiations with the insurer at its office in Singapore, he said.
Sareth said responsibility for compensation rested solely with the insurer, which he declined to name.
“PMT Air has no responsibility to pay [compensation],” he said.
Meanwhile, Heang Sorphon, 35, the widow of one of the flight crew, said she had given up all hope of receiving any compensation from PMT Air for the death of her husband, Uth Chandara, a flight engineer.
The only payment from the company to the families of the five Cambodian PMT Air employees was $1,000 for funeral expenses, she said.
An Sim, whose cousin Top Chanthu was a stewardess on the plane, said the families of the five Cambodian victims were too poor to pursue compensation through the courts.
“How do we find a justice if we don’t know any one at court?” she said.
Matt Sothi, president of the Cambodian Pilot Association, said he hoped that the courts or the government would put pressure on PMT Air to pay compensation to its employees.