LONDON - Families of most of the British victims on the Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, have agreed to an out-of-court settlement from the airline's insurers, a spokesman for the families said Wednesday.
"This does not bring us great joy - you cannot compensate with money for the loss of someone you love," said Dr. Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed by the 1988 terrorist bombing of Flight 103. She would have turned 24 on Thursday.
Insurance companies are offering each family about $850,000, said Press Association, the British news agency. That's less than the compensation the families of some U.S. victims have already received.
The explosion aboard the New York-bound jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, killed all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground.
Two Libyans have been indicted in the bombing but have never been turned over to U.S. authorities for trial.
So far, Pan Am has paid an estimated $500 million in damages, and about 20 more cases are pending, according to lawyers for American victims.
In May, the family of one victim, Frederick "Sandy" Phillips, of Little Rock, Ark., accepted a $2 million settlement just as his case against the airline opened in court. Phillips, 27, was one of 35 Syracuse University students aboard the flight from London.
The airline is appealing a jury's decision to award $19 million - the highest amount so far - to a woman in Uniondale, N.Y., whose husband was killed in the crash.
A New York jury ruled in July 1992 that the airline was responsible for letting the bomb be smuggled aboard.
The disaster killed 33 Britons - 22 in the air and 11 on the ground. The families of the 11 people killed on the ground have already settled their claims.
British newspapers quoted Peter Watson, the Scottish lawyer who acts for the British families, as saying only that a total of 14 British families are considering an offer from the airline's insurers.
"The offer is under consideration, and I hope to make an announcement within the week," Watson said.
Swire said the Lockerbie Air Disaster Group would continue pressing for retaliation against the perpetrators. Libya, the prime suspect, has denied responsibility.
"Certain key questions remain unanswered - for instance, who did it? And why was it not prevented?" said Swire.
"If the American government pursued policies to make other nations hate them enough to blow up one of its aircraft, why did they not take enough action to protect their aircraft?" Swire asked.
Copyright 1996. The Associated Press.