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Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
Relatives accept Concorde cash
Air France Concorde, on fire during take-off
The crash killed 113 people near Paris in July
Lawyers representing relatives of victims of the Concorde crash last year in which 113 people died say they have reached a compensation settlement with Air France.

All those involved are said to have agreed not to divulge the value of package, but in the past the airliner's insurers have said their offer comes close to $150m.

One of the lawyers for the German relatives, Gerhart Baum, said they would be paid damages on a scale not seen before.


German relatives will now be paid damages to a level not known before

Lawyer Gerhart Baum
He said the deal had been approved by the relatives and Air France, and was oriented towards American ideas of compensation payments, rather than lower German precedents.

The deal involves compensation for "emotional damage," not foreseen in German law.

The supersonic airliner crashed soon after take-off last July, killing all 109 people on board and four people on the ground, most of them German.

Nearing the end

Their families had threatened to take their case before United States courts, which are known to award millions of dollars in damages.

They are entitled to file suits in the US, because the flight was bound for New York and several US companies were involved in the aircraft's construction.

The 40cm metal strip believed to have triggered the accident
A 40cm metal strip is believed to have triggered the accident
The settlement, which is expected to be signed by all parties by June, will avert a US court battle.

Mr Baum said that although his clients have a strong interest in uncovering the cause of the accident, it played no role in the negotiations.

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.

Last year, Air France and its insurers filed a suit against Continental Airlines, after investigators reported that the metal strip probably came from one of its jets.

The negotiations between Air France and the German relatives also involved Continental and more than a dozen companies that may be implicated in the incident, said Mr Baum.

Concorde flights have been barred since the accident, but both Air France and British Airways - the only two who operate the plane - say they hope to resume service this year.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rob Broomby
"All the lawyers vowed not to reveal the amount to be paid out"
The families lawyer Gerhart Baum
"The families are satisfied"
The Concorde Crash

Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash

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17 Apr 01 | Europe
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