More relatives of those aboard the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are moving to file suits against the carrier and the Kuala Lumpur government as a two-year deadline for legal action nears.
At least 11 suits seeking damages were lodged by family members against the airline and the government at Malaysia's high court Friday, with more applications expected next week before the deadline expires as stipulated under the Montreal Convention, according to Channel News Asia.
The international convention, ratified by Malaysia in 2008, says that a suit may be brought within two years of the date an aircraft was due to have arrived, in this case, on March 8.
Carrying 239 passengers and crew, flight MH370 was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 when it blipped out of radar. The Boeing aircraft's sudden disappearance shocked the world, and the frantic search has so far only turned up one piece of flaperon that washed ashore on the Indian Ocean in July of last year. There were mostly Chinese, Malaysian and Australian passengers on board.
The debris however offered scant clues on what might have happened, with the jet's crucial voice data recorder remaining missing to date. But authorities said a piece of debris found in Mozambique this week could be another breakthrough.
The theories and speculations around the fate of the aircraft had left passengers' kin "deeply unsettled," and with the deadline nearing, hope to determine the exact cause was also fast dissipating, said Voice 370, a coalition of MH370 kin.
"We wonder if the authorities hope that if they stop updating us, we will eventually stop asking and this will lead to an uneventful end to any serious ongoing inquiry," the group said in a statement it posted on its Facebook page Thursday.
It said it feared airline authorities may be moving to finally end the search, which could be "truly unfortunate."
"Voice 370 urges authorities to press on and search on in the current search area," it said, stressing that winding down the expensive, two-year operation was "unacceptable."
"We believe that they should not throw in the towel, close this case and simply chalk it up as an unsolvable mystery," it added.
Last month, the group also complained of restrictions to filing suits, such as legally requiring the permission of the administrator of Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS) to do so.
In May 2015, Khazanah Nasional, the sole shareholder of MAS, appointed an administrator to oversee the transfer of selected assets and liabilities from MAS to a new company, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), which began operations in September.
MAS claims that it has legally upheld its responsibilities, stressing that it had constantly informed relatives of the two-year deadline to "ensure that those affected take the necessary steps to preserve their legal rights," Channel News Asia reported.
To date, it said it had approved a total of 96 requests from relatives to start legal proceedings, with 42 others collecting full compensation.