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CHICAGO, Illinois (AFP) – A group of 83 passengers from the Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed in San Francisco has filed a lawsuit seeking millions from the aircraft’s manufacturer Boeing, their lawyers said.

While a final determination of what caused the deadly crash of the Boeing 777 is years away, Chicago-based Ribbeck Law said initial reports indicate it could have been caused by a mechanical malfunction of the auto-throttle.

Boeing could also have been at fault for the design of sliding ramps which deployed inside the plane, “further injuring passengers and blocking their exit to safety,” Ribbeck said in a press release.

There were also possibly problems with the seatbelts given that police officers “had to pass knives to crew members inside the burning wreckage” so they could cut passengers free,” Ribbeck said.

The class action lawsuit was filed in Chicago, Boeing’s corporate headquarters.

It will be expanded in coming days to include Asiana and several component part manufacturers “who may be responsible for this disaster,” Ribbeck said.

The Asiana jet from Shanghai via Seoul clipped a sea wall with its tail as it came in to land at the US airport on July 6 and skidded out of control before catching fire, leaving three dead and more than 180 injured.

Zhang Yuan, who suffered severe spinal injuries and a broken leg, said it was important that victims protect their rights “immediately.”

“It is terrible that the sliding ramps deployed inside the plane blocking our way to the exit door, trapping us inside the burning plane,” she said in the statement.

“My husband, my daughter, other passengers and I would not have suffered such terrible injuries if the sliding ramps and the seat belts would not have trapped us in the burning wreckage.”

Ribbeck filed a motion Monday seeking to require Boeing to provide details about the jet’s design and maintenance and will seek access to all of the evidence discovered in the course of the investigation.

Swift legal action is “vital” for the victims and their families because international treaties prohibit U.S. safety regulators from making determinations of liability or fault.

“Just compensation to these families cannot be provided under the law, until liability of all parties is established first,” Kelly said.

“Ribbeck Law’s independent experts will monitor the official investigation and will conduct our own investigation for our clients to assign fault to each of the responsible parties for this tragedy.”

Photo Credit: AFP/Justin Sullivan

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