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Relatives of passengers killed in an Ethiopian Airlines crash in Lebanon earlier this year have filed a class action lawsuit in a US court against plane manufacturer Boeing, their attorney said Tuesday.

“We have filed a lawsuit in Chicago, Illinois, against the Boeing company,” Manuel von Ribbeck, of the US firm Ribbeck law, told AFP

Ribbeck said initial analysis of data gathered so far showed a severe mechanical failure was probably behind the tragedy. “It had to be a severe mechanical failure which could be caused by a design or manufacturing defect or a maintenance problem,” he stressed

But Lebanese Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi has said data recovered from the black box showed all instruments were working well until the plane plunged into the Mediterranean in a fierce storm.

Ribbeck and two other attorneys from his firm as well as an aviation expert are currently in Beirut meeting with victims’ families.

Ribbeck slammed as insufficient the reported $20,000 in compensation per passenger currently being offered by the airline’s insurance companies and said he would be seeking upwards of a million dollars for each victim represented by his firm.

“There is no reason why the same insurance companies pay 10 times more elsewhere than what they are offering in Lebanon,” he said.

“There is no reason why a Lebanese is worth less.”

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