Mon, Dec 06, 2010
Ruling Names Airline, Mechanic As Liable In 2000 SST
Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics are guilty of
homicide in the 2000 accident which spelled the beginning of
the end of the Concorde, a French judge has ruled.
113 people were killed when the aircraft went down on takeoff.
The judge ruled that a strip of metal that came off a Continental
DC-10 which had departed minutes before punctured a tire on the
SST. The tire failed as the airplane accelerated, and
debris from the disintegrating tire punctured the aircraft's
fuel tanks, causing a fire.
The New York Times reports that the court ordered Continental to
pay $1.3 million in civil damages to Air France, and fine the
airline $265,000. The mechanic responsible for maintenance of the
DC-10 was fines $2,650, and given a 15-month suspended prison
sentence. The court acquitted three other people who had been
involved in the design and certification of the DC-10.
DC-10 Wear Strip File Photo
Mechanic John Taylor was faulted for using titanium when he
fabricated a "wear strip" to replace one on the DC-10. The court
said a softer metal such as aluminum should be used. He was also
found to have "improperly attached" the wear strip to the
Continental called the ruling "absurd", and that it would appeal
the judgement. The case has been in French court for over a decade.
The airline said the evidence presented did not support the facts
in what it called a "tragic accident" in a statement.
DC-10 Wear Strip File Photo
Air France had not been accused of any wrongdoing in the
accident. It had sought $20 million from Continental in the case,
having settled with the families of those killed in the accident
for $150 million in 2001. The Concorde, which had been losing money
for Air France and British Airways for some time, was retired in
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