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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
US airline sued over Concorde crash
Air France Concorde, on fire during take-off
The doomed Concorde used the same runway after the DC-10
Air France has filed a suit against America's Continental Airlines for its alleged role in the 25 July Concorde crash that killed 113 people outside Paris.

French investigators believe that a metal strip that burst the Concorde's tyres may have come from a Continental's DC-10 aircraft.

The torn Concorde tyre and the metal strip
The metal strip suspected of piercing the Concorde tyre
A lawyer for some of the victims of the crash said on Tuesday he was also planning to sue Continental over the accident.

But Continental said on Wednesday that "at this stage of the investigation, there is however no conclusive evidence that Continental Airlines is involved in the Concorde crash."

Civil aviation code

The metal strip was found on the runway used by Concorde.

An Air France spokeswoman said their case was based on the civil aviation code which makes airlines responsible for any damage caused by pieces that fall off their aircraft.

Scene of Concorde crash at Gonese, outside Paris
Air France blames Continental airlines for the Concorde crash
"A piece from a Continental Airlines plane caused the Concorde accident," the spokeswoman told Reuters news agency.

Attorney Christof Wellens, who represents 20 of the 96 German victims, said his lawsuit would be filed in a Texas court but declined to name a figure for damages sought.

Mr Wellens said the airline would be "clearly negligent", if it is confirmed that the piece of metal came from the Continental aircraft.

Preliminary report

Continental Airline has said that one of its DC-10 aircrafts was missing a metal piece similar to the one found on the runway at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.

The DC-10 had passed through the airport on the same day, shortly before the New York-bound Concorde plunged into a hotel.

Concorde
Britain and France grounded their Concorde fleet
Investigators of France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) said the 43 cm (17 inch) metal piece fitted the shape of a cut in one of the tyres.

In its preliminary report into the crash, the BEA said the destruction of a tyre on the plane's left landing gear - probably torn by the metal strip - set off a chain of events that brought the plane down.

The British and French air safety authorities suspended Concorde's airworthiness certificates in August casting doubts over the future of the supersonic aircraft.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Mike Miller, Aviation Daily
"This is unprecedented, for one airline to sue another"
The BBC's John Andrew
"The piece of metal they found on the runway came from a DC10 aircraft"
The BBC's Hugh Schofield
"An airline is fully responsible for objects that fall from its aircraft"
The Concorde Crash

Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash

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01 Sep 00 | Europe
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09 Aug 00 | Science/Nature
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