CHICAGO (Mar. 27)
A suit seeking $127 million in damages against Air France and Singapore Airlines were filed in circuit court here last Thursday by 42 persons rescued last July from Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The 42, most of them Israelis, accused the two airlines of failing to take adequate precautions to prevent the hijacking of an Air France plane by Palestinian terrorists last June 27 after the plane took off from Athens. The 42 were among some 250 passengers and crew members on the hijacked plane. Uganda President Idi Amin freed some of the passengers, and Israeli forces in the daring raid rescued 102 passengers.
The suit charged Air France did not screen passengers boarding the plane in Athens and that Singapore Airlines was involved because the hijackers came from Bahrain on a Singapore Airlines plane also unscreened. The suit was filed here because Chicago is one of the few cities in the world where the two airlines both have offices.
Relatives of two persons killed during the Israeli rescue mission and of Mrs. Dora Bloch, a passenger who was in a Uganda hospital at the time of the rescue and believed to have been later killed by Uganda soldiers, joined in the lawsuit. The suit charged that by failing to make adequate security checks on passengers, each airline became “an accessory and an accomplice in the hijacking” and “aided and abetted the hijackers.”
The suit asserted that the airlines failed to discover that the hijackers, seven of whom were killed by the rescuing Israelis, carried small arms, one small machinegun, 20 hand grenades and four boxes of dynamite, first on the Singapore plane and then on to the Air France plane. The attorney for the plaintiffs said they were demanding a jury trial and that it would be for a jury to decide the liability of each airline in respect to the demand for $28 million in compensatory damages and $99 million in punitive damages.