The first anniversary of the PMT Air crash in Kampot province passed Wednesday, but families of the 22 victims who died on board the flight are still waiting to be compensated. And there is no indication from PMT, or the government, that the victims’ families will be paid anytime soon.
PMT director Sar Sareth said Wednesday that none of the families of the five Cambodian crew, the Uzbek pilot, the three Czech and 13 South Korean passengers who died has been compensated.
“The families have not received insurance yet,” he said by phone.
“We have pushed the insurance company to pay the victims,” Sar Sareth said, but he also claimed it was the families who were to blame for the delay in payment.
“The victims’ families asked for too much money from the insurance company. It makes it difficult to pay,” he said.
Chan Seth, the wife of the plane’s deceased pilot, Hean Dara, has asked for $70,000 in compensation, but the insurance company is only willing to give each family a flat $20,000, he said.
Sar Sareth, who has never revealed the name of the company that reportedly insured the plane, claimed again Wednesday that he could not remember the firm’s name.
Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management and the man who led the crash search operation last year in the mountains of Kampot province, said the company must take responsibility for ensuring that compensation is paid.
Nhim Vanda said he has asked the State Secretariat for Civil Aviation to intervene in the compensation issue.
“I have already requested payment of insurance to the family’s victims,” he said. “The company has to think about this case.”
However, Him Sarun, SSCA chief of cabinet, said Wednesday that getting the airline’s insurer to pay up is the responsibility of PMT and not that of the government.
“This case involves PMT and the insurance company,” he said, adding that he also did not know the name of the company that reportedly insured the crashed plane.
Chan Seth said Wednesday that she is seeking $70,000 in compensation, saying that being widowed since the crash, she has struggled to support her two children.
“We have not gotten any insurance money from PMT,” she said.
Am Sim, sister of crew member Top Chanthu, said she has requested only $10,000 from PMT and a year later has still heard nothing.
“The official at PMT told me that they will pay the victims’ families… one year ago,” she said, adding that she feels helpless to act against the company.
“I am concerned that if I sue PMT in court, I think I will not win,” she said.
Hean Sorphon said she didn’t request a specific amount of compensation from PMT but had been promised by PMT that she would be paid for the loss of her husband, Uth Chandara, the flight’s engineer.
“I lost my husband. I am running the family by myself. I work hard to feed my children but only earn $100 a month,” she said.
“When my husband was alive, we had $300 each month,” she added.
A South Korean Embassy official declined to comment on the case Wednesday.