French magistrate Christophe Regnard
informed the airline Thursday that it was under investigation for
manslaughter and injuries resulting from the July 2000 crash of the
Concorde. At issue in the case is whether a titanium alloy wear
strip on a Continental DC-10 was a legal replacement. The legal
battles have only just begun as Continental attempts to avoid
responsibility for the crash.
"During this procedure we will provide all the elements which
are missing from the dossier and which show that Continental
Airlines is not responsible for the Concorde crash," said Attorney
for Continental, Olivier Metzner according to AFP.
The accident claimed 109 people on board the Concorde and 4 on
the ground. The aircraft caught fire after a breached tire exploded
during a departure from Charles de Gaulle airport. A titanium alloy
strip that allegedly fell from a Continental DC-10 is being blamed
for puncturing the Concorde's tire and setting the accident into
motion. The subsequent break-up sent pieces of the wheel and tire
into the fuel tank of the Concorde, igniting spilled fuel and
creating an uncontained fire that contributed to the aircraft's
inability to maintain flight.
"During this procedure
we will provide all the elements which are missing from the dossier
and which show that Continental Airlines is not responsible for the
Concorde crash," said Metzner.
A December report indicated that the strip contributed to the
accident, but that a weakness on the interior surface of the wings
and fuel tanks also played a role. The report claimed that American
aviation authorities did not approve the strip and "the rules of
aeronautical metal construction were not respected by the employees
of Continental Airlines."
According to Metzner, Continental Airlines vice president, Ken
Burt said "the material was in perfect conformity and was stronger
than the original material."