Con­ti­nen­tal ‘re­spon­si­ble’ for Con­corde crash in 2000

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

PARIS: A Paris court has said Con­ti­nen­tal Air­lines was "crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble" for the crash of a Con­corde su­personic jet 10 years ago, and fined it 200,000 eu­ros (£170,000).

It has also been or­dered to pay 1m eu­ros to the jet's op­er­a­tor Air France.

A Con­ti­nen­tal me­chanic, John Tay­lor, was given a 15month sus­pended prison sen­tence over the crash.

Con­ti­nen­tal has said it will ap­peal, say­ing the ver­dict "only pro­tects French in­ter­ests".

An­other air­line op­er­a­tive, Stan­ley Ford, and three French of­fi­cials were cleared.

The Con­corde caught fire shortly af­ter take-off from Charles de Gaulle air­port in Paris in July 2000, killing 113 peo­ple.

The court ruled that the crash was caused by a piece of metal left on the run­way af­ter fall­ing from a Con­ti­nen­tal jet. In­ves­ti­ga­tors said this caused a tyre-burst in the jet, which in turn rup­tured a fuel tank.

The judge in the case con­firmed in­ves­ti­ga­tors' find­ings that ti­ta­nium de­bris dropped by a Con­ti­nen­tal DC-10 onto the run­way at Charles de Gaulle air­port be­fore the Con­corde took off was to blame.

John Tay­lor should not have used ti­ta­nium parts to make re­pairs on the DC-10 be­cause the metal was known to be too dan­ger­ous for aero­plane tyres, and he should have used a softer metal, alu­minium, in­stead, the court found.

Con­ti­nen­tal had dis­puted this in­ter­pre­ta­tion, say­ing the air­liner, op­er­ated by Air France, was al­ready in flames be­fore it hit the small piece of ti­ta­nium.

"While we agree with the court's de­ci­sion that Stan­ley Ford was in­no­cent of the charges he faced and we share his re­lief that his decade-long night­mare is over, we strongly dis­agree with the court's ver­dict re­gard­ing Con­ti­nen­tal Air­lines and John Tay­lor and will of course ap­peal this ab­surd find­ing," a UK-based Con­ti­nen­tal spokesman said in a state­ment. Fi­nan­cial claims were not trial's fo­cus, but ap­por­tion­ing blame was, says BBC's Chris­tian Fraser in Paris. -BBC News

ED­IN­BURGH: Cars drive slowly along a road dur­ing snow fall in Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land. -Reuters

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