Asiana offers $12,000 to crashed plane survivors

Asiana offers $12,000 to crashed plane survivors

SEOUL - Asiana Airlines said Sunday it was offering an initial compensation payment worth $10,000(S$12,000) to all surviving passengers on board a plane that crashed in San Francisco last month killing three people.

The South Korean airline recently started offering the cash to help the 288 surviving passengers meet urgent medical expenses and other needs before final compensation amounts are decided later, an Asiana spokeswoman told AFP.

"This is a minimum payment we are offering for all passengers, regardless of whether they were injured or not," she said, adding the amount will be deducted from the total compensation once it is decided.

Those who were relatively unharmed and whose ultimate compensation may come to less than $10,000 will still be allowed to keep the rest of the money, she added.

The latest offer is not a settlement and will not affect ongoing or future lawsuits filed by passengers, the spokeswoman added.

South Korea's second-largest air carrier is faced with a horde of legal battles after the July 6 crash, which left three dead and some 180 injured.

The tail of the Boeing 777 passenger jet from Shanghai via Seoul broke off after clipping a seawall short of the runway, prompting the aircraft skid out of control and catch fire.

Alongside 16 crew members the aircraft was carrying 291 passengers - many of them Chinese - and more than 120 of them escaped unharmed. The cause of the crash is under investigation by US aviation authorities.

A group of 83 passengers on board the flight filed a lawsuit in July seeking millions from Boeing and warned their claim may be expanded to include Asiana later.

Other groups of passengers have reportedly filed separate suits in the US.

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