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Double Six air tragedy families considering legal action seeking compensation

Faridah Stephens and Donald Mojuntinaction taken in hopes of recognising and alleviating the immense suffering endured over nearly five decades

KOTA KINABALU: The families of Sabah leaders who perished in the Double Six air tragedy are considering legal action against the Federal Government to seek compensation. 

In a joint statement Tuesday, Faridah Stephens, Datuk Donald Mojuntin and Kartina Salleh Sulong, who spoke for and on behalf of the Stephens, Mojuntin and Sulong families, said this step is taken in hopes of recognising and alleviating the immense suffering endured over nearly five decades.

The “Double Six” tragedy killed all 11 onboard –

Tun Fuad Stephens, Chief Minister.

Datuk Peter Mojuntin, Minister of Local Government and Housing.

Datuk Chong Thien Vun, Communications and Public Works Minister.

Datuk Salleh Sulong, Sabah Finance Minister

Datuk Darius Binion, Assistant lMinister.

Datuk Wahid Peter Andu, Fnance Ministery Permanent secretary.

Dr Syed Hussein Wafa, Sabah’s economic planning unit director.

Ishak Atan, Malaysia’s Fnance Minister’s private secretary.

Corporal Said Mohammad, Tun Fuad’s bodyguard.

Johari Fuad Stephens, Tun Fuad’s son .

Gandhi J. Nathan, pilot.

The family are considering legal action to seek compensation, hoping the immense suffering they endured over nearly five decades will be recognised and alleviated.

“The declassification of the Malaysian Investigation Report on April 12, 2023, provided crucial insights into the circumstances of the crash, but the reasons for the long delay in releasing the report remains opaque.

“The long and inordinate delay has only deepened the wounds suffered by the families as they have not been able to move forward and obtain closure in respect of this tragic chapter in their lives.

“Moved by an unwavering desire for justice and closure, the families are now asking the Federal Government of Malaysia to make amends in the form of compensation and have conveyed their request to them.

Regrettably, to date, there has been no response,” they said.

On June 6, 1976, a devastating air crash involving the Nomad Aircraft 9M-ATZ claimed 11 lives.

This event has since been etched in Sabahan’s hearts as the Double Six Tragedy.

The 11 were on a flight from Labuan when the aircraft crashed in Sembulan while approaching the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

“As we approach the 48th anniversary of this tragic day, the families wish to express their heartfelt gratitude for the unwavering support and understanding from the public.

“A commemorative ceremony organised by the State Government will be held on June 6, 2024.

“We invite the community to join us in remembering and honouring the remarkable lives lost.

“The families continue to carry the legacy of their loved ones not only in their hearts but also through their actions. They are committed to seeking the truth and justice, ensuring that such a tragedy never occurs again,” said the statement.

They also appreciate the continued coverage and engagement by the Sabah newspapers on the issue.

“They have played a critical role in keeping this story alive in the public consciousness. Your support is invaluable as we strive for closure and healing,” it said.

Australia’s investigation into the Double Six air crash reached the same findings as Malaysia’s probe.

This was that the GAF Nomad aircraft was being operated illegally and that the pilot had allowed for the aircraft to be overloaded in the aft, or rear, section.

Malaysia, in its report, had stated that there were no elements of sabotage or engine failure, while pathological tests on the pilot Captain Gandhi J. Nathan proved that he was reasonably fit at the time and not suffering from the effects of alcohol or drugs.

According to the report, the probable cause of the crash was that the GAF Nomad aircraft had been overloaded in the aft, or rear section.

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