298 people died when the plane was shot down July 17, 2014, over Ukrainian territory
The airline has settled with 170 of the families, said a lawyer involved in the negotiations
Malaysia Airlines has settled damages with the families of most of the passengers killed on flight MH17, said Veera Mewa, an attorney representing some of the families
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Malaysia when it was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukrainian territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists. All 298 people on board died in the crash.
Lawyers representing the families of 170 MH17 passengers reached the deal with the airline for an undisclosed amount, Mewa told CNN. He could not provide details, citing a confidentiality agreement between the airline and the families.
Lawyers representing a smaller group of families are still negotiating with Malaysia Airlines over a settlement, Mewa said.
The airline issued a statement saying it “will not be commenting on matters of compensation as these are confidential and will not be disclosed to any person other than the relevant family members and the parties’ legal advisers.”
MH17 went down in a heavily militarized area of eastern Ukraine. Several Western nations and the Ukrainian government have accused pro-Russian separatists operating in the region of shooting down the plane with a missile.
Rebel leaders and the Russian government have repeatedly disputed those allegations, and have suggested instead that Ukrainian forces shot the plane down with either a surface-to-air missile or one of their own fighter jets.
Another Malaysia Airlines aircraft
Authorities are still searching the Indian Ocean for another Malaysia Airlines aircraft.
MH370 disappeared without a trace on March 8, 2014, during a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.
A number of pieces of debris confirmed to be from – or thought highly likely to be from – MH370 have been discovered around the Indian Ocean in the past year, including a flaperon encrusted with barnacles discovered on Reunion Island.
Dozens of relatives of the 239 passengers and crew members who were on the flight have already collected compensation, according to Malaysia Airlines. But others have been struggling with the legal and emotional complexities surrounding the mysterious loss of the plane. And some are accusing the company of trying to dodge responsibility.
Lawyers say that without a definite answer to the mystery, and no bodies to bury, it is difficult for the families to move on with compensation claims.