Singapore Insurer Sues Boeing Over SilkAir Crash

December 18, 2000

Singapore Aviation & General Insurance Co. filed a complaint in Federal District Court in New York to recover damages from Boeing and several other companies it claims to be responsible for the 1997 crash of a Silk Air 737 which killed all 104 persons on board.

The complaint alleges negligence in the design of the aircraft involving either the rudder control mechanism, or flaws in the galley design which allowed water to penetrate sensitive electronic equipment. It names Parker Hannifin Corp. and Honeywell in addition to Boeing, and seeks repayment of the $35 million cost of the aircraft.

The filing comes soon after Indonesian investigators determined that there was no “pilot error” involved in the crash, which occurred over open water in clear weather on a flight from Jakarta to Singapore.

U.S. aviation authorities have questioned the findings, and have reiterated their belief that the plane’s captain, who had a history of problems with the airline, and was heavily in debt, deliberately caused the plane to crash.

Singapore Aviation is seeking recovery of the cost of the plane, but courts in Singapore have already levied damage award on SilkAir, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, and its insurance carriers, as well as the travel agency which sold the tickets for the flight, and the current filing raises the possibility of additional claims for reimbursement of these amounts.

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