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Airline To Pay Crash Family $2.4M

July 31, 1998

MIAMI (AP) _ A jury ordered American Airlines on Friday to pay nearly $2.4 million to the family of a woman killed in a crash on a mountainside in her native Colombia.

Carmen Eliza Ruiz, of Cali, Colombia, was one of 159 people killed Dec. 20, 1995, when Flight 965 crashed on the way from Miami to Cali. Four people survived.

Ms. Ruiz’s husband, Fabio Polania, was awarded $378,000 and the couple’s two children were awarded $1 million each.

The airline initially acknowledged its pilots were partially at fault in the crash, then blamed an aircraft computer and Colombian air traffic controllers.

Last year, a federal judge ruled there was enough proof of negligence on the part of American that the only matter for juries to decide was how much to award in damages in each case.

Friday’s judgment was the third in three weeks against the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline.

Sixty-four victims’ families have settled with American for undisclosed amounts. Several lawsuits are still pending.

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