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Crash Victims Sue Boeing Over Asiana Airlines Crash

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Families of some passengers who were harmed in the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed at San Francisco Airport last month are suing Boeing as well as the airline.  The suits say Boeing bears some responsibility if Asiana pilots were not sufficiently trained to fly the 777, the plane involved in the accident. 

Boeing said it would not respond to questions about the lawsuits.Frank Pitre, lawyer for the victims, says Boeing had a campus in South Korea where it trained pilots to fly the 777.  "That’s one of the things we’re going to be getting involved in in discovery," he said. "What was the extent of Boeing’s training of these pilots? What did Boeing know at the time of the training of these pilots, about their fitness to operate the 777? Were there concerns?"

The pilot involved in the crash had never landed a 777 at San Francisco, but he had a more experienced trainer with him. It’s believed they came in for a landing too slowly. 

The suits say Boeing put audible warnings about low air speed into some planes after a Turkish Airlines crash in 2009, but the 777s were not modified.

Scott Schuldt is a former Boeing engineer who worked on the 777. He says pilots allowed to fly 777s are supposed to have enough accumulated flight expertise to land the  plane safely. "There’s a certain point where you expect a certain level of airmanship. You’ve got an airplane that weighs half a million pounds when it takes off, full of fuel. Three hundred people on board."

Thelegal complaints also say passengers in business class were safer because they had a shoulder belt in addition to a lap belt. But passengers in the main cabin had only lap belts. Of the 300 passengers aboard, 180 sustained injuries. Three teenage girls died.

More suits are expected. Parents of the Chinese girls who died in the crash are working with a New York law firm.