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The BBC's Jamie Coomarasamy
"The plane is equipped with newly designed radial tyres"
 real 56k

The BBC's Simon Montague
"Probably the world's biggest ever payout for a commercial aircraft disaster"
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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Lawyers back Concorde cash deal
Air France Concorde prepares for test flight
Concorde: Currently undergoing rigorous testing
Lawyers representing relatives of victims of the Concorde crash in which 113 people died have recommended accepting a multi-million dollar compensation package.

The deal now has to go to the families, who are expected to decide within a week whether to accept the offer or to take their claim to the American courts.


In my estimation our clients should say yes

Ulrich Von Jeinson, lawyer
German lawyer Gerhardt Baum, who represents 55 families, said reports that an agreement had been signed were speculation, and the deal had not yet been done.

But Ulrich Von Jeinson, a lawyer representing 10 families, told the BBC they were recommending the Air France offer to their clients.

Concorde on fire, seconds before crashing
The crash killed 113 people near Paris in July last year
He described German press reports that a $135m deal had been agreed as "unrealistic", but declined to say whether the figure was too high or too low.

Asked if the package will be the largest in aviation history, Mr Jeinson gave no comment, but added: "In my estimation, our clients should say yes."

He said the families would make their decision known by the end of next week at the latest, possibly sooner, and he hoped the deal would be signed in May.

Huge potential damages

The relatives are allowed to file suits in the US - where potential damages awards are far greater than in Europe - because the flight was bound for New York, and several US companies were involved in the aircraft's construction.

Concorde prepares for further tests
Concorde has now been fitted with new tyres
Ninety-six German passengers on a charter flight to New York were killed when the Concorde caught fire and crashed during take-off from Charles de Gaulle airport.

Nine crew members and eight people on the ground also perished in the crash, which led to the grounding of all Concordes owned by Air France and British Airways.

On Tuesday, an Air France Concorde took to the skies over southern France for the latest series of tests aimed at allowing the supersonic airliner to return to service.

Investigators believe that a metal strip lying on the runway punctured one of Concorde's tyres, sending debris hurtling into the plane's fuel tanks, triggering a major leak and fire.

An Anglo-French working group reported encouraging results from tests of a new, specially designed Concorde tyre last week.

Engineers are also working on ways of protecting the planes' fuel tanks from punctures.

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