CONTINENTAL Airlines was today found guilty of manslaughter over the Concorde crash which killed 113 people a decade ago.
The victims of the accident — 109 on board the plane and four on the ground — were mostly German tourists.
Prosecutors at a French court claimed the New York-bound plane was brought down by a strip of metal that had fallen off a Continental aircraft on to the runway. They said it burst a tyre on the Concorde, which hurled debris into the fuel tank and caused a fire.
Houston-based Continental Airlines was found “criminally responsible” for the disaster, and was ordered to pay a £170,000 fine, the court ruled. It must also pay £850,000 to the jet’s operator Air France.
One of its mechanics, John Taylor, was fined £1,700. Lawyers for the airline argued the Concorde was already on fire before it hit the metal strip.
The four-month hearing in Pontoise, on the outskirts of Paris, focused on blame rather than financial compensation.
Three French aviation officials facing similar charges were found not guilty. They had been accused of failing to draw lessons from exploding tire incidents that dogged Concorde as far back as 1979.
Design changes were made to strengthen the tires but not the fuel tanks………. continued