Assessing the challenges families of plane crash victims face after search operations cease.
Families of plane crash victims often face many challenges in the aftermath of losing their loved ones that can compound their grief. A massive search may be required to recover plane wreckage and the remains of victims. These circumstances can become highly distressing for families as they await news about whether their loved ones have been found. Many are forced to face the tragic reality that even after widespread search efforts, such a recovery may never be made.
This is the predicament that several surviving relatives of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crash victims are now facing. Recent media reports say that the official search for the bodies of crash victims who have yet to be found has been called off. The news was announced by the head of Indonesia’s rescue agency.
Source: BBC Report “AirAsia 8501 crash: Official search for bodies ends”
“The search for remaining bodies from a plane crash in the Java Sea ends on Tuesday night, the head of Indonesia’s rescue agency has confirmed. The ships involved in the search will then be pulled out on Wednesday, Bambang Soelistyo told the BBC.”
To read more visit http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31925944.
There were 162 people on board the flight, which was en route to Singapore from Surabaya in Indonesia when the crash occurred amid inclement weather, killing all of the passengers in December. A reported 106 bodies have been recovered while 56 remain unaccounted for.
AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes signaled before the recent announcement that the search would soon be coming to a close.
Source: AFP Report “Indonesia calls off AirAsia search”
The chief of the Malaysian low-cost airline said that the operation had been “successful” but added that it could not “go on indefinitely.”
“There is a time period and we’ve agreed with the families that this is obviously not something that can go on indefinitely,” he said.
Surviving relatives of plane crash victims involved in commercial aviation accidents often face legal challenges in settling the affairs of the deceased. This can include any wrongful death and personal injury claims that they are eligible to pursue. When a victim’s remains are not recovered however, it can prove to be even more difficult to move forward in these matters.
According to New York based aviation accident attorney Jonathan C. Reiter, whose law firm has handled a number of high profile plane crash cases, even in the event that the bodies of plane crash victims remain unaccounted for, and search efforts are discontinued, there are ways families can still move forward legally. Says the attorney, “officials will typically make an official determination of death, or families can seek such a declaration from courts if they are stuck in limbo in settling a missing plane crash victim’s affairs.”
According to the AFP report, the families of victims in the Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crash agreed with the decision to bring the search effort to a close. BBC’s Alice Budisatrijo in Jakarta reported, “The families of those missing are disappointed but understand that the search cannot go on indefinitely.”
The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee is reportedly still investigating the cause of the crash. A final report is expected to be released by August.