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Airline fined for chaotic aftermath of 2013 airline crash

Several weeks ago, we wrote about the hectic aftermath of an Asiana Airlines jet crash at the San Francisco International Airport in July. A new report had described how firefighters weren't able to communicate with one another effectively, leading to the death of one of the survivors when she was hit by a fire truck. The federal Department of Transportation has underscored the chaos that ensued -- at the airport and for families trying to get information -- by fining the airline $500,000.

According to federal officials, lots of people tried to contact the airline to find out information about their loved ones who were on board. While the commercial airline accident killed three people, dozens more people were injured in the crash. Many of the passengers' families were half a world away in China and South Korea, and so contacting the airline by phone was their best, and perhaps only, opportunity to learn the fate of their loved ones.

However, initial calls to the airline were directed to the automated reservation system, which instructed callers on how to make an Asiana reservation for a future flight. It took some time for the airline to get a hotline going, which has come to be the norm for this kind of situation. Even then, it was nearly a week before airline representatives had spoken with all family members. Never before has an airline been fined for failing to generously and promptly aid the families of victims of a crash.

Obviously, families and injured parties have a lot on their plates in the aftermath of a crash. An experienced plane crash victims' rights attorney might be able to deflect some of the attention and allow an affected family the time and space to recover.

Source: Associated Press, "Days After Asiana Plane Crash, Families Neglected," Justin Pritchard, Feb. 26, 2014

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