Relatives of the 19 people killed when a Tanzanian passenger plane crash-landed in Lake Victoria over the weekend are entitled to compensation of $170 million, the government said late Thursday.
Precision Air flight PW494 carrying 39 passengers (38 adults and a toddler) plus four crew members crashed into the lake close to the town of Bukoba early Sunday as it flew from the commercial city of Dar es Salaam.
Baghayo Saqware, Commissioner of Insurance at the Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (Tira), said the crashed airline had valid insurance.
“First of all, let me express my sincere sympathy to all the victims. Precision Air had a valid insurance cover insured by local and international brokers,” Saqware said. “In short, the sum insured for Precision Air is more than $50 million and the passengers’ insurance claim is $170 million,” he said.
Saqware, who was speaking during a road safety seminar for members of parliament in Tanzania’s capital city Dodoma, said the money will be paid as soon as investigations are completed.
“The victims of this plane crash accident will be paid as soon as possible because aircraft accidents are usually not controversial,” he said.
The preliminary probe report will be issued in 14 days, according to the Tanzania Airports Authority. But the final investigation, which involves international experts, including the plane’s manufacturers from France, is likely to take long, local analysts said.
The plane crash is Tanzania’s first deadly aviation accident in decades.
Khamis Suleiman, chairman of the Association of Tanzania Insurers, said that in line with the principles of strict liability, the relatives of each person who dies in a plane crash are entitled to a payment of $129,000
“Under the strict liability rules, as detailed in aviation conventions, one is required to be paid 100,000 SDRs (Special Drawing Rights), which is equivalent to $129,000, if the country is a signatory to the Warsaw Convention and if the airline turns out not to be negligent,” he told The Citizen newspaper.
According to Suleiman, the amount could increase, considering that the victims would be free to go to court and demand compensation in line with the level of damages they may claim to have suffered in the process.
“You are talking of an incident where there were some young professionals who had just been employed. Their relatives would be free to request payment in line with their specified reason and damage as may be verified by a competent authority,” he noted.