The families of the 239 people on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will get $50,000 each as compensation in the interim, according to reports this week.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, a Malaysian official confirmed the payout total.
Hamzah Zainuddin, who serves as the deputy minister for foreign affairs, told the paper that some of the families were paid already. The final payout has yet to be decided, and experts have said it could result in a legal battle between Malaysia Airlines, Boeing, and the families.
The final amount is generally determined after the plane is located. An investigation into the cause of the crash also has to be launched before anything can happen, the Journal notes.
“When we talk about the full payment, we have to wait until we announce the issue on the tragedy MH370 is over … whether the plane is found, whether we announce the plane is lost,” Hamzah said, reported SCMP.com.
Families can claim as much as $175,000 under the rules laid out by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
At the same time, the Australian and Malaysian governments have pledged to keep searching for the missing jet. They’re currently still looking to search the deep-sea area in the southern Indian Ocean.
Over the weekend, families set up a crowdsourcing website to raise money to pay a “whistleblower” who comes forward with news to help locate the plane, which went missing March 8.
However, Hamzah responded to the allegations, saying “the government has been very transparent from day one.”
A few days ago, a team of Australian researchers looking into the disappearance of Flight 370 released data on Wednesday about an unusual underwater sound recorded around the time the plane vanished, though the lead scientist acknowledged the chances it is linked to the jet are slim.
The low-frequency sound was picked up by underwater listening devices in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia on March 8, the same day the Boeing 777 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board. Researchers at Curtin University in Western Australia have been analyzing the signal to see if it may be the sound of the plane crashing into the ocean.
But Alec Duncan, who’s heading up the research, said the sound appears to have originated well outside the jet’s projected flight path that officials determined based on satellite and radar data, and is therefore unlikely to have come from the plane.
“It’s one of these situations where you find yourself willing it all to fit together but it really doesn’t,” said Duncan, senior research fellow with Curtin’s Center for Marine Science and Technology. “I’d love to be able to sit here and say, ‘Yeah, we’ve found this thing and it’s from the plane’ — but the reality is, there’s a lot of things that make noise in the ocean.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.