The Malaysian government officially declared the disappearance of Flight 370 an “accident”, on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, thus allowing the families of the victims on board to officially begin seeking compensation, according to the Chicago Tribune (“Malaysia Declares MH370 Crash An Accident To Clear Compensation,” 1/29/2015). Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation released a statement that all 239 passengers aboard Flight 370 are now presumed to be dead, NBC News Reported (“Malaysia Airlines MH370 Declared An ‘Accident,’ Search for Survivors Ends,” 1/30/2015).
While the search for survivors has officially ceased, the underwater search for the wreckage will continue in the Southern Indian Ocean, according to NBC News. The Convention on International Civil Aviation, more commonly referred to as the “Chicago Convention,” defines the term “accident” as encompassing planes that have gone missing, according to the Chicago Tribune. Further, an aircraft is considered “missing” under the Chicago Convention at the point when official searches have ceased without a location of a wreckage, NBC News reported. The declaration, which was jointly agreed to by the governments of Malaysia, China and Australia, enables the families to move forward and to seek compensation for their losses, the Chicago Tribune reported. Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices, was interviewed by John Cody of WBBM-AM, 780 radio, and spoke on this topic to the listeners of this top-rated all-news station in Chicago.