5 Nov 2010

Tongan govt hands out money to next of kin of some Ashika victims

8:17 am on 5 November 2010

The Tongan government yesterday handed out more than 600,000 US dollars to the next of kin of 14 victims who died in the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika ferry in August last year.

74 people died in the ferry tragedy.

Matangi Tonga online reports each family received a cheque of more than 42,000 US dollars.

The handout was given to the next of kin of the victims who had not filed any civil claims against the government.

At the same time it is understood that those who had already filed claims could also receive money if they withdrew their claims, but they were advised to consult with their lawyers first.

It was also confirmed that an initial 423,000 US dollars was paid out last week to next of kin of nine victims in Vava'u and to one family in Ha'apai.