News / Europe

French Court Overturns Continental Airlines Conviction in Concorde Crash

Air France Concorde on fire after striking debris on the Paris airport runway in 2000.Air France Concorde on fire after striking debris on the Paris airport runway in 2000.
x
Air France Concorde on fire after striking debris on the Paris airport runway in 2000.
Air France Concorde on fire after striking debris on the Paris airport runway in 2000.
Elaine Cobbe
Twelve years after the crash of an Air France Concorde jet outside Paris that killed 113 people, a French appeals court on Thursday dismissed all criminal charges against Continental Airlines, despite saying that a stray part from one of its planes led to the crash of the supersonic jet. The ruling reverses an earlier court decision that found the U.S.-based carrier guilty of manslaughter.

The appeals court in Versailles dismissed manslaughter charges against Continental Airlines and two of its mechanics. The airline had been fined some $260,000 for its part in the July 2000 crash that killed 109 people onboard and four people on the ground.

Olivier Metzner, an attorney for Continental Airlines, argued that the Concorde had design flaws that made it vulnerable to disaster.

Metzner said the case was a "political issue" and that the Concorde was "unfit to fly."

But the appeals court upheld the findings of aviation investigators that the accident was the result of a chain of events that began with a metal strip on the runway that fell off a Continental Airlines jet. The part punctured one of the Concord's tires, which struck the plane's fuel tank, set off a fire, and brought down the jetliner.

The court upheld Continental's civil responsibility in the case and ordered the airline to pay $1.3 million in damages to Air France. That money is intended to compensate the airline for lost business, and to be used toward settlements to the victims' families.

Stephane Gicquel is the head of the victims’ association.

"They explained to us that the French system of air safety is not optimum," Gicquel said, "and that it allowed a plane to fly that should not have flown - but what's happening? In the end," he said, "we’re leaving here with a huge question mark over everything, and a feeling of anxiety."

The verdict is not the end of legal proceedings in the crash.

The chief engineer in charge of the supersonic program is set go on trial in January to determine his responsibility for the crash.

And now that the criminal case against Continental is over, Air France is free to sue the U.S. airline to recover the settlements to the victims’ families.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid