They received nothing.
The case in question was:
MARTIN JOHN BEATTIE, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant
Civil Action No. 82-3520
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
July 7, 1988, Decided
[The case is summarized like this]:
This lawsuit charges United States Navy air traffic controllers
stationed at McMurdo Naval Station on Antarctica with responsibility
for the loss of life sustained in the most serious air disaster in the
history of New Zealand, when an Air New Zealand DC-1O passenger
aircraft crashed into Mt. Erebus, killing all 237 passengers and 20
[*1069] crew members. n1 The issue before the Court is whether
negligence by the air traffic controllers caused or contributed to the
[and the courts decision was]:
...the Court concludes that the disaster that befell Flight 901 on
November 28, 1979 in Antarctica was the fault of Air New Zealand and
of the flight crew, and that the Navy air traffic controllers at
McMurdo Station bear no responsibility for the event. Accordingly,
judgment will be entered in favor of the defendant, the United States.
Therefore, the plaintiffs in the case did not receive any money from
the United States.
Note, too, that the crash occured November (not December) 28, 1979.
Let me know if you need any additional information on this.
search strategy: searched legal databases for: [ antarctica "air new
zealand" mcmurdo ]
Clarification of Answer by
11 Nov 2004 14:04 PST
Thanks for the kind rating.
I have access to databases with New Zealand legal cases and to
newspaper databases as well, but oddly enough, there's very little in
either on lawsuits related to the Mt. Erebus crash. Even the articles
that provide ten-year and twnety-year "anniversary" retrospectives do
not talk about lawsuits taking place in NZ.
The closest they come is (1) mention of the Royal Commision inquiry
into the crash, and the various challenges and partial reversals that
took place over the course of almost 20 years, and (2) write-ups about
the case in the US, including a legal fact-finding proceeding that
took place in NZ, but that was directly realted to the US case, rather
than to any lawsuits in NZ.
If you know any more details about lawsuits in NZ or the UK --
particularly the case name, or the names of any parties in the suit --
then let me know and I'll see if I can find anything else.