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Passengers begin legal action against Boeing after Asiana Airlines crash

By Michael Martinez, CNN
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 0241 GMT (1041 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dozens of passengers initiate legal action against plane maker
  • Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed July 6 in San Francisco, killing three
  • The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating
  • Early attention has focused on the actions of the crew during landing attempt

(CNN) -- Passengers who were aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crashed in San Francisco, began legal action against Boeing Co., which made the plane, according to a law firm representing passengers.

Boeing, which is headquartered in Chicago, declined comment. Spokeswoman Debbie Heathers referred all calls to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Ribbeck Law Chartered, a Chicago-based law firm, said Tuesday that it had filed the initial court petition on behalf of more than 80 passengers.

The firm said Asiana Airlines will be added as a defendant in the next few days. Legal action will also be taken against several unidentified "component part manufacturers who may be responsible for this disaster," the firm said in a statement.

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Asiana spokesman Ki Won Suh declined to comment on the law firm's plans against the airline.

The Asiana 777 fell short of its approach and crashed on the runway at San Francisco airport on July 6. Three people were killed and more than 180 others hurt.

Seconds before crash, passengers knew they were too low

The NTSB is investigating. The early stage of the investigation has focused heavily on actions of the crew during the landing attempt.

The law firm filed a petition for discovery in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, and the petition "demands that the court orders the defendants to immediately release to the victims of the crash all relevant evidence concerning design and manufacturing records of the accident aircraft as well as any records concerning its maintenance," the law firm said in a statement.

The 83 passengers represented by the firm include some who have serious back injuries, broken legs and brain trauma, said attorney Monica R. Kelly.

During the crash, sliding ramps deployed inside the plane, blocking passengers' access to the exit door and trapping them inside the burning plane, the law firm alleged. Also, passengers were injured when seats collapsed during the crash-landing, Kelly said.

The law firm also cites reports that the crash could have been caused by "a mechanical malfunction of the auto-throttle," according to the firm's statement.

Related: Asiana to proceed with TV station suit

CNN's Kyung Lah contributed to this report.

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