Trial Opens over Air France Concorde Accident

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on February 3, 2010

A trial for a crash that happened almost 10 years ago is finally underway as of Tuesday. On July 25, 2000 an Air France Concorde jet plummeted from the sky only a couple minutes after taking off and smashed into a Gonesse suburb hotel, exploding on impact. All of the 100 passengers and 9 crew on board were killed, while another 4 people on the ground died as well. After the incident, over 30 years of Concorde flights were grounded.

Continental Airlines is being charged with failure to properly keep their planes maintained after French authorities launched an investigation that found a titanium strip from one of the carrier’s DC-10 jets as part of the cause. The strip was laying in the Concorde jet’s path on the runway while it was taking off, slashing the plane’s tires and causing debris to crash into its fuel tanks.

However, Continental Airlines is arguing that the jet was on fire before it even came to the spot on the runway where the titanium strip laid. They also claim that the Concorde was suffering from dangerous design defects, which were known about but never corrected.

Aside from Continental Airlines itself, 2 of its employees have been charged in the case as well, mechanic John Taylor and maintenance official Stanley Ford. 3 others have been charged too: Claude Frantzen, a former official for the French civil aviation watchdog; Jacques Herubel, the former chief engineer of Concorde; and Henri Perrier, the former head of Concorde’s Aerospatiale division, who is also said to have known about the jets defects but did nothing.

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