Tue, Nov 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Singapore Airlines must pay NT$1.3 million for crash

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Singapore Airlines must pay more than NT$1.3 million (US$40,900) to the Civil Aeronautics Admin-istration for damages incurred in the crash of flight SQ-006 at CKS International Airport, the Taipei District Court ruled yesterday.

"The defendant shall pay NT$1,339,919 to the administration in compensation for damage caused by the crash at CKS International Airport on Oct. 31, 2000," Civil Judge Lu Shu-ling (呂淑玲) said in her verdict.

The government's original civil claim had asked for NT$3,020,494, but the court only granted a portion of it.

As of press time yesterday, Singapore Airlines had not said whether it would appeal.

According to the Code of Civil Procedure (民事訴訟法), both the defendant and the plaintiff are allowed to appeal within 20 days of receiving an official verdict from the court.

The civil claim was filed by the administration on May 9 last year, after the criminal part of the plane crash was settled in 2002.

In June 2002, Taoyuan Prosecutor Chiang Yuan-chen (江苑臻) charged Captain Foong Che Kong, a Malaysia, and co-pilot Latiff Cyrano, a Singaporean, with negligent killing under Article 276 of the Criminal Code.

Eighty-three passengers died in the crash and 71 were injured.

The third co-pilot, Ng Kheng Leng, a Singaporean, was not found to bear any legal responsibility for the crash.

According to the prosecutors' report, the pilots' errors in attempting to take off from a taxiway that was closed for construction caused the crash. Prosecutors absolved the airport of any responsibility for the crash.

Traditionally, however, pilots who survive a crash are not be indicted. Due to the three pilots' willingness to cooperate on every aspect of the investigation and an agreement reached with Singapore Airlines and the passengers' families, prosecutors decided to suspend Foong's and Cyrano's indictment for three years.

If the pilots do no commit any crimes within the three-year probation period, they will not have criminal records or have to take any legal responsibility.

The two were also banned from piloting any flights into Taipei for a year.

Prosecutors said that the third co-pilot, Ng, was not responsible, as his duties did not begin before the plane took off. In other words, he was not in charge of maneuvering the aircraft when the crash occurred. As a result, he does not bear any legal responsibility.

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