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Malaysia Airlines sued by brother of American passenger who vanished with MH370

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 — The brother of an American man who was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 when it disappeared while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014 sued the carrier in a US court.

Phillip Talmadge Wood was on temporary assignment in Malaysia for International Business Machines Corp. when he boarded the flight to the Chinese capital, according to the complaint filed in Washington on Jan. 12 by Thomas Wood of Fort Worth, Texas.

Thomas Wood, who is managing the affairs of Philip Wood’s estate, is seeking as much as the US$155,937 (RM686,044) maximum automatically allowed under the terms of the 1999 Montreal Convention, and more unless Malaysia Airlines can prove his brother’s death was caused by something other than the negligence of the carrier or those in its employ.

Philip Wood was survived by his sons Nicholas and Christopher, according to the court filing.

Khairunnisak Dzunnurin, a spokeswoman for Malaysia Airlines, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit. Calls to Malaysia Airlines’ media office weren’t answered outside of regular business hours.

239 killed

Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation last year declared the incident, which claimed the lives of 239 passengers and crew on the Boeing Inc. 777, an accident.

Investigators concluded that someone on board intentionally disabled the aircraft’s tracking devices, and the jet turned south before plunging into the Indian Ocean off Australia’s western coast.

More than 80,000 square kilometers (31,000 square miles) of seabed have been scoured, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said Wednesday in its weekly update. The search of the full 120,000 square-kilometer area will be completed in the middle of the year, the bureau said. The only solid evidence so far from the missing Boeing Co. 777 is a wing component that washed up in July on Reunion Island, some 3,800 kilometers (2,360 miles) from the search zone.

The multinational team hunting for the plane has said it won’t expand the southern Indian Ocean search zone without new clues about the wreck’s exact location.

The case is Wood v. Malaysian Airlines Berhad, 16-cv-53, US District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).— Bloomberg