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Five to face Concorde crash trial

Air France Concorde trails fire from its engine (2000)
The crash occurred shortly after take-off from Charles de Gaulle airport

US airline Continental and five people will stand trial over the 2000 Concorde crash near Paris which killed 113 people, French judicial officials say.

The five are two employees of Continental Airlines, two from Concorde maker Aerospatiale and one from France's civil aviation authority.

The trial, expected to take place in 2009, could last two to three months.

The plane caught fire after its tyres were punctured by a piece of metal on the runway from a Continental plane.

Continental has said it would fight any charges in the case.

Accident inquiry

Rubber from the tyres ruptured the plane's fuel tanks shortly after take-off from Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.

A French accident inquiry in 2004 found that the strip of metal had fallen on the runway from a Continental Airlines DC-10 that took off just before the Concorde flight.

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Emergency services at the scene of the Concorde crash in 2000

It is claimed that the metal was titanium, when safety rules dictated it should have been aluminium which is softer, and less likely to puncture tyres.

It is also claimed that Concorde's fuel tanks had a design defect that made them susceptible to damage.

All 109 people on board the Concorde flight and four people on the ground were killed.

The disaster began the process which led to all Concordes being taken out of service.

Charges

The trial follows a recommendation by prosecutors in March that charges be brought.

The five accused are:

  • John Taylor, the Continental mechanic who allegedly fitted the metal strip to the DC-10, and Stanley Ford, a maintenance official from the airline
  • Henri Perrier, a former head of the Concorde division at Aerospatiale, now part of the aerospace company EADS, and Concorde's former chief engineer Jacques Herubel
  • Claude Frantzen, a former member of France's civil aviation watchdog




SEE ALSO
US airline faces Concorde inquiry
10 Mar 05 |  Business
Concorde crash kills 113
25 Jul 00 |  Europe


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