Portion of fee used to establish group to improve aircraft fire safety

PHILADELPHIA – (10/27/1999) Arthur Alan Wolk, internationally-known aviation attorney based in Philadelphia, on Friday, October 22, achieved a landmark first domestic settlement from Swissair flight 111. Today, Wolk announced that he is donating a portion of his fee to establish a panel of unbiased experts to study and recommend critical improvements in aircraft wiring and fire safety.

The settlement, reached on behalf of the family of 37-year-old Richard Coburn, a husband and father of three, formerly of East Brunswick, NJ, is hoped to be the first of many from the tragic plunge into the waters of Halifax, Nova Scotia of a Swissair MD-11. Wolk and Coburn’s widow both hope to achieve some lasting benefit from the tragedy by working to improve aviation safety.

The cause of this accident is still under investigation by Canadian and U.S. authorities. Privately, however, most agree that Wolk’s assessment, made within hours of the crash was correct – – that the disaster was preventable.

Wolk has been on the plaintiffs’ steering committees of most of the country’s major aircrash disasters and has correctly identified the causes of each disaster well in advance of the release of official findings. He is also credited with many times providing vital information to government investigators.

Wolk, who is a member of the Swissair 111 plaintiffs’ steering committee; the group that is guiding all of the victims’ cases through the courts, says that this early settlement will accelerate the process of closure for victims’ families whose agony has been prolonged due to the lack of settlements thus far.

“Now the Coburn family will be secure with Richard Coburn’s legacy and can begin the most important job of cherishing the memory of their wonderful husband and father. By working to improve aviation safety it is our hope that no other family will again suffer such unspeakable pain,” said Wolk.