Family begins compensation battle after fatal plane crash

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Richard Osman – a 40-year-old father-of-two who worked as a geologist for mining company Centamin – was among 66 passengers and crew who died when EgyptAir flight MS804 plunged into the Mediterranean in May 2016.

No one on board the plane survived.

Now Mr Osman’s widow is suing EgyptAir for damages through London’s High Court.

But the family is facing a tough fight after EgyptAir claimed that the English courts had no right to hear the case.

The operator is citing the fact that the plane did not crash in British territory and that Jersey – where Mr Osman booked his flight through a travel agent – is not part of the UK.

The airline, which has no office in Jersey, says that means the English courts simply have ‘no jurisdiction’ to consider the family’s claim.

A brief hearing was held in the High Court yesterday as the International Air Transport Association – a trade association of the world’s airlines – sought permission to take part in the case.

Tim Marland, representing the association, said it had ‘a very considerable interest’ in the issues raised by the claim.

Mrs Justice Lambert adjourned the case, which is expected to return to court next month.

Relatives of those killed are still waiting for an official explanation of the cause of the accident. Egyptian authorities have now concluded their inquiry and a file has been passed to the country’s Attorney General in Cairo.

But a separate investigation by the French has stalled due to the Egyptians’ apparent refusal to hand over debris and raw data from the aircraft’s black box recorders. It is understood that French investigators are exploring three possible causes: terrorism, a fire caused by the co-pilot’s mobile devices overheating after being plugged into an incorrect socket in the cockpit or a mechanical fault.

Terrorism is considered to be the least likely cause.

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