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Out-of-Court Compensation Agreed in Manchester Jet Crash

November 9, 1985

MANCHESTER, England (AP) _ Lawyers representing relatives of 126 victims of an Aug. 22 jetliner fire at Manchester airport announced Friday a multi-million dollar, out of court compensation settlement.

The Boeing 737 jet, operated by British Airtours, a subsidiary of British Airways, burst into flames when an engine exploded as it was attempting to take off for the Greek island of Corfu. Fifty-five people were killed and 82 people escaped from the burning aircraft.

Roger Pannone, a spokesman for the lawyers group, described the settlement as ″generous and reasonable″ but said the precise amount would not be immediately made public.

The agreement was reached with representatives of British Airways, Boeing, the Seattle-based manufacturer of the aircraft’s frame, and Pratt and Whitney, manufacturer of the 737′s engines.

″We are confident the vast number of claimants will accept the terms,″ Pannone told a news conference.

Pannone said he believed that the damage settlement ″is less than we would have got in the American courts, but it is more than we would have obtained if we sued in the British courts.″

In Britain, under the Warsaw Convention, the maximum amount that can be awarded for injury or death in an air crash is $75,000, but the United States is not a signatory to that agreement.

Pannone said he hoped that the first payments would be made before Christmas, something that could make the settlement historic for producing air crash compensation in record time.

″I am very pleased,″ he said. ″Anything that produces a settlement, which means that people don’t have to wait a long time and go to litigation, is very good.″

William Beckett, whose daughter Sarah, 18, was killed in the crash, said he expected to receive about $84,000.

″I am relieved but not excited,″ he told reporters. ″Money can’t bring my daughter back.″

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