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Lawyer Gerhardt Baum:
"It hurts the national prestige of France"
 real 28k

Friday, 13 October, 2000, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Concorde compensation deal 'unlikely'
Air France Concorde, on fire during take-off
Concorde victims could sue Air France in the USA
A lawyer for the families of victims of the July Air France Concorde crash says he is not optimistic about reaching an out-of-court settlement with the company for compensation.

Gerhardt Baum told the BBC's The World Today programme that if such a settlement was not reached his clients would join a lawsuit filed by the son of one victim in Florida.

He said that Air France had a special responsibility to find a compromise solution as the prestige of the airline and of France itself was at stake.

Scene of Concorde crash at Gonese, outside Paris
The crash killed 96 German passengers
Baum and a group of colleagues representing the families of some of the German victims of the crash are due to hold talks with Air France representatives in Paris.

The families set 13 October as a deadline for Air France to come up with a figure for compensation.

Fully covered

AFP quoted Air France Managing Director Pierre-Henri Gourgeon as saying that the airline was fully covered by its insurers and would be able to pay full compensation to the victims.

"The limits of our coverage are such that we can meet without difficulty all the financial and economic consequences of this catastrophe," he said.

Martin Gulduer, son of victim William Gulduer, was awarded $75,000 in damages against Air France and America's Continental Airlines in a Miami federal court in September.

The victims 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.

Continental has been targeted because a metal strip left on the runway which is thought caused the accident is believed to have come from one of its aircraft.

The crash at Gonesse near Paris killed 113 people, 96 of whom were German.

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See also:

01 Sep 00 | Europe
Questions over Concorde runway
01 Sep 00 | Europe
Concorde's future in doubt
10 Aug 00 | Europe
Metal strip 'burst' Concorde tyre
03 Aug 00 | Europe
Concorde flight ban remains
09 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
Concorde tests found 'engine risks'
05 Sep 00 | Europe
Concorde: What went wrong?
01 Sep 00 | Europe
Concorde's final moments revealed
01 Sep 00 | Europe
Countdown to catastrophe
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