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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Meeting to finalise Kampot air crash payouts: officials

Meeting to finalise Kampot air crash payouts: officials

Lawyers to meet this week with airline and insurance representatives to settle payments for the families killed in 2007 PMT plane crash.

NEARLY two years after a plane crash that killed 22 people in Kampot province, the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation will hold a meeting to finalise insurance payments for the families of those killed in the accident.

Mao Havannall, secretary of state for civil aviation, said that he would chair a meeting in Phnom Penh this week, bringing together lawyers of the victims, airline officials and insurance company representatives to resolve the issue of compensation for the victims' families.

"No compensation has yet been paid, but things are still in negotiation," he said. "We have scheduled to meet this week ... to work out a solution."

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR TWO YEARS NOW, AND I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT's GOING ON...

A Russian-made Antonov An-24 aircraft operated by PMT Air crashed in Kampot in June 2007, killing 22 passengers, including Cambodian crew and 17 South Korean nationals.

At the time, Mao Havannall said PMT Air was insured by an unnamed British insurance company that pledged to offer payouts for any lives lost due to air crashes. But he said the amount offered by the company was still unclear.

He added that those affected by the crash had the right to claim compensation after examinations of the aircraft's "black box", which provides an electronic record of the flight, showed pilot error had also played a hand in the crash.

"In general, I think that all the victims' relatives have the right to demand what they want, but the compensation will be offered based on the relevant evidence," he said.

Dwindling hopes

Heang Sorphon, who was married to the An-24's co-pilot Uth Chandara, who died in the crash, said she had little hope of receiving compensation from either the insurance company or the airline.

"I have been waiting for two years now, and I have no clue what's going on with the money," she said, adding that she had requested several thousand dollars following the crash.

Chan Seth, who requested US$70,000 when her husband Hean Chandara, an aircraft engineer, perished in the accident, also said she had little hope of receiving compensation.

But PMT Air President Sar Sareth told the Post that his company handed the case over to lawyers of the insurance company following the crash and was encouraging them to expedite compensation payments in line with their agreed policy.

He said the insurance company had already set the compensation levels for individual victims and that everyone would receive the money at the same time, but that the compensation claims of the Korean families had slowed down the process.

"If the Korean families demanded a fair amount of compensation, the problem would've been solved long ago," he said, adding that each had requested between $500,000 and $1 million.

"They are demanding too much, which the insurance company may not be able to afford."

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