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AIRLINE OFFERS $75,000 TO SURVIVORS

SHARE AIRLINE OFFERS $75,000 TO SURVIVORS

Avianca Airlines offered Friday to pay $75,000 to each survivor of January's crash on Long Island without requiring recipients to waive rights to future damages.

The airline's offer was called an unprecedented act of generosity.In a U.S. District Court hearing in Brooklyn, Avianca attorney George Tompkins said the Colombian airline would also continue to pay all medical expenses at least until the end of the year for the survivors of the crash of Avianca Flight 052. The plane, en route from Colombia, went down in Cove Neck, Long Island, Jan. 25, killing 73 people and injuring 85.

"It's the right thing to do," Tompkins said of the offer. "There's no need to hold families up."

"It's a great humanitarian gesture," said Robert Solomon, who represents two New Jersey crash survivors. "This is an offer that has no apparent downside for any of the surviving passengers."

Solomon said the offer was unusual because Avianca is agreeing to pay damages without a prolonged court battle and because families that accept the award will not have to give up their rights to sue for compensatory damages over the $75,000 limit set by the Warsaw Convention.