Counting the Increasing Number of Victims: Hercules Crash in Indonesia

aviation
One hundred and forty-two people (so far) were determined to have been killed by the Indonesian AF Lockheed C-130B Hercules that just crashed into a residential neighbourhood near Medan-Soewondo Air Force Base, Tuesday June 30. However fewer than that number were supposed to be aboard the plane. Initial numbers released were 12 crew and 101 passengers. Families said their relatives had paid to be on the aircraft, but that is in violation of Indonesian military regulations. Some of the twenty-nine additional bodies recovered from the wreckage may have been in the buildings that were impacted, but some were unauthorized passengers.

I wonder about compensation for those unofficial passengers–if they will get less or more as a consequence. They (maybe) thought they had legitimate tickets. In any case, they are just as dead as everyone else. Likely there will be punitive measures taken, but broken rules are not necessarily broken law. How will investigators determine who profited from those fraudulent tickets or instead, will the military be punished for poor oversight? This all remains to be seen. Let us hope that compensation for those families left behind will be just. Insurance companies use a compensation formula that covers pain suffered by those on board, and is determined by factors like age, dependents and earning potential. The international treaty known as the Montreal Convention guarantees a (floating) minimum level of compensation for families; but sometimes the operator, (like Lufthansa, for example, in the case of the Germanwings crash) will try to get by with paying less.

But we should not ever lose sight of the horror of this accident. Yesterday morning, one hundred and forty-two people were alive, and full of promise. Today they are history.

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