Malaysia Airlines, MH17 victim families reach settlement on second anniversary

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, July 18 (UPI) — Malaysia Airlines reached a settlement agreement with the relatives of most victims who died on Flight MH17 on Sunday, the second anniversary of the crash.

The airline has agreed to pay damages of up to $145,000 to victims’ families as per the Montreal Convention, which regulates air travel. The second anniversary on Sunday was also the deadline for submitting damages claims but now that an agreement has been reached, the process for relatives has come to an end.

No further details will be released because both parties have agreed to secrecy, Veeru Mewa, the lawyer representing victims, said.

In October, the Dutch Safety Board said MH17 was destroyed by a Russian missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. The board had been investigating the crash of the Boeing 777 since the aircraft went down in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Most victims were Dutch. A memorial service was held on Sunday near Amsterdam.

The plane was hit by a Russian-made 9M38 Buk missile, Dutch investigators concluded. The missile hit the front left part of the plane, which broke off entirely. The Dutch board said airspace over the area should have been closed.

While the Dutch report confirms that MH17 was downed by a missile — a theory investigators believed possible from the start — it does not address who was responsible for firing the missile.

In January, Russia accused the Dutch Safety Board of incorrectly determining the possible launch site area of the missile that destroyed Flight 17.

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