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PMT crash relatives to wait year for settlement

COMPENSATION claims by families of the 22 victims of the PMT Air crash in Kampot could be delayed another year, as airline management and legal officials discuss how to settle the claim, Mao Havannal, secretary of state at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said Tuesday.

The Russian-made Antonov-aircraft crashed into the side of a mountain in June 2007 while carrying mostly South Korean tourists from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville.

It was thought the wrangle would be resolved two weeks ago at meetings chaired by the SSCA between lawyers for the victims, airline officials and the undisclosed insurance company.

But the SSCA said it had failed to invite the relevant parties to the talks, meeting only with government lawyers to determine the legal jurisdiction of the settlement.

"First we had to meet with our internal experts and legal team to study the case properly," Mao Havannal said.

He confirmed that payouts would be made in accordance with Cambodian law, not international law, but suggested legal avenues would be pursued as a last resort if roundtable negotiations failed.

Victims' families expressed hopelessness after being excluded from negotiations.  

"There is no sign that I will get any money, but we will never forget what happened," said An Sim, cousin of air hostess Top Chanthu. PMT President Sar Sareth could not be reached for comment.



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