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Airline staff face Concorde trial
Five airline staff to be tried for manslaughter in connection with jet crash in 2000.
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2008 15:59 GMT
The Concorde airplane crash at Gonesse, near Paris, killed all passengers on board.  [EPA]

A French judge has ordered Continental Airlines and five people to stand trial for manslaughter in connection with the 2000 crash of a Concorde jet that killed 113 people, a prosecutor said.

Two of those to be tried are employees of the US carrier, the prosecutor's office in the Paris suburb of Pontoise said in a statement on Thursday.

Two others were employed by Aerospatiale, the maker of Concorde and the precursor of plane-maker Airbus. One is an employee of the French civil aviation authority.

The Air France Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport in July 2000, killing 113 people.

French investigators blamed the crash on a titanium strip left on the runway by a Continental Airlines DC-10.

The metal strip caused one of the Concorde's tyres to burst, which sent debris flying and punctured the jet's fuel tanks.

The French judicial inquiry also determined the tanks lacked sufficient protection from shock, and that Concorde's makers had been aware of the problem since 1979.

Continental Airlines, based in Houston, has insisted it was not responsible for the crash.

It was not immediately clear when the trial might open.

The prosecutor said one of the Continental employees had built and installed the metal strip "without respecting the instructions then in effect".

His supervisor must stand trial for validating the replacement, the statement said.

The Aerospatiale employees and the civil aviation official are accused of ignoring a host of problems, including "neglecting the risk of fires" on the supersonic jet, the prosecutor's statement said.

The statement did not name the employees.

Source:
Agencies
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