August 01, 2011 11:23
The missing pilot of the Asiana cargo plane that crashed into the ocean southwest of Jeju Island on Thursday took out a handful of insurance policies for property damage and one life insurance policy over a 20-day period beginning from June 17. The pilot, 52-year-old Choi Sang-ki, was entitled to receive up to W3.2 billion (US$1=W1,054) in payments if he died.
The news emerged after one insurance company notified the Financial Supervisory Service of its suspicions regarding the timing of the crash so soon after Choi signed up for the various policies, and regulatory authorities subsequently launched an investigation. According to industry sources on Sunday, the policies Choi signed up for mostly entitled him to payments if he is hurt or killed in an accident or natural disaster.
"It seems unusual to sign up for such a raft of insurance policies at one time, but we cannot ascertain what Choi's real intentions were, so we have to wait until the cause of the accident is revealed," an FSS official said.
Choi's family members and pilots at Asiana were enraged by the insinuations of fraud, saying that such accusations were an insult to the pilot.
Meanwhile, Choi and co-pilot Lee Jung-woong, 43, remained missing as of late Sunday on the fourth day of search operations, while rescue workers were still unable to recover the aircraft's black box. The average depth of the waters where the plane crashed is 87 m, which gives the rescue team hope that the black box will be found sooner or later.
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