Devastated Relatives ‘Still In Dark’ Over Mountain Crash - 12 Months On
AVIATION experts acting for the devastated families of three Britons killed when an airliner crashed into an Afghan mountain have demanded answers from the country’s government on the first anniversary of the tragedy (Tuesday, May 17).
Mystery still surrounds the cause of the crash 12 months ago which killed all 44 passengers and crew on board the Pamir Airways domestic flight, despite repeated attempts by the families’ lawyers to unearth details about why the ageing Antonov AN24B aircraft crashed.
But now, as relatives of the victims continue their battle to come to terms with their losses, aviation lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are calling upon the Afghan Government urging it to take immediate action to help the families of those who died and provide the ‘answers and justice that they deserve’.
Among the 44 passengers and crew that died was 28-year-old David Taylor from Stoke on Trent, Clapham based Daniel Saville, 40, and father of three Chris Carter, 51, from Caerphilly, Wales.
The Irwin Mitchell Aviation Law team acts for all three British families and is also liaising with representatives of 29 Afghan victims.
Jim Morris, a Partner in the Irwin Mitchell Aviation Law team and himself a former RAF pilot, has confirmed that the heartbroken families have still not received any messages of condolence or indeed any communication at all from the airline.
Morris confirmed, “We and our clients understand that the Kunduz to Kabul flight took off in bad weather before losing contact and crashing in the Afghan mountains. However, even this basic information has not been confirmed to us by the Authorities investigating the crash, leaving the families of those who died no closer to the truth."
Clive Garner, Head of Irwin Mitchell Aviation Law also said: “We are deeply concerned about a number of issues surrounding the crash of flight 112. Firstly, we still have no idea why this aircraft crashed causing such a devastating loss of life.
“Secondly, we have received reports that the Afghan Government has actually grounded all Pamir flights due to concerns about the airline's safety and solvency.
“Thirdly, we have received reports that critical documentation in relation to the aircraft and its airworthiness were forged. As a result, we have been informed that the insurers of the aircraft are refusing to compensate the families of those who died."
The families and their lawyers are calling on the Afghan Government, which was responsible for the regulation and oversight of the safety of the airline, to come clean and provide a full explanation of the background circumstances. They are also calling upon the Afghan Government to ensure the families of all of the victims have access to fair compensation, giving them ‘The much needed financial security they are entitled to’.
There have recent concerns expressed about the activities of the Bank of Kabul which reportedly owns a majority stake in Pamir airlines. In a lengthy article published in The New York Times on 29th March 2011, it was reported that the Bank was on the brink of bankruptcy due to its dubious lending of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Garner continued: “Enough is enough. The least that these families deserve are answers to their questions and reassurance that justice will be done. We are calling on the Afghan Government to urgently take control of this situation. We want the Government to ensure that the investigation into the accident is completed promptly and to the highest standards, and we want them to arrange for the immediate payment of full and fair compensation to the families of all of the victims, regardless of their nationality.
“It is only when these steps are taken will the families feel that justice has been done and they will finally be able to start moving on with their lives.
“For those left behind, especially those who were financially dependent on those who lost their lives and those who have young families to support, the devastating consequences of this tragedy are far reaching. Our clients have all suffered and continue to suffer tremendously because of the loss of these young men who were working in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people and assisting in the fight against Opium cultivation and the fight against illicit drug production and trafficking. The families have been through an awful lot but they remain wholeheartedly committed to continue with their fight for justice."
Kim Taylor, who lost her son David in the tragedy said: “To this date we have never had a letter of condolence or any correspondence whatsoever from Pamir following the air crash. My husband Peter and I find it disgusting that after repeated attempts by Irwin Mitchell to contact Pamir following the crash no correspondence has been received from the airline.”
David, a former Army PTI instructor in the Parachute Regiment who had served in Iraq and Northern Ireland was working in Afghanistan along with Daniel and Chris on a US Government funded project to stop Afghan farmers cultivating opium poppies.
Kim said: “One year on we are still no closer to knowing what happened and the heartache we feel is unbearable. We want answers to our questions, to know that lessons have been learnt, action taken and justice done for our wonderful, loving son.”
Daniel Saville's partner Chioma Ibe said: “Nothing can take the pain away of losing Daniel and the life we were so excited about leading together. He was my best friend and the man I was going to grow old with and would have been a wonderful husband and father.
“I’m struggling enough with grief, without having to also struggle to keep a roof over my head and pay mounting debts.
“Daniel was one of life’s exceptional people, and I and his family have been robbed of an amazing man in a crash that has taken 44 lives and shattered 44 families."