Continental Concorde Verdict, ‘Criminalization’ Of Crashes, May Have Chilling Effect


Posted on 8th December 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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 Continental Airlines’ conviction of involuntary homicide in a crash that killed 113 people may “discourage open discussion of flight hazards,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The story, “In Wake of Concorde Verdict, A Heated Air Safety Debate,” was a reaction piece to a French court fining Continental $1.6 million for the crash of an Air France Concorde a decade ago.

The court found that Continental and one of its mechanics didn’t properly maintain a plane, which dropped debris on a runway at Charles de Gaulle airport in 20o0. The Concorde hit the debris and damaged a tire, sending  rubber from that tire slamming into the plane and causing a fuel leak. The Concorde then crashed.

“The trial is the latest example of a world-wide trend to pursue criminal charges in airliner accidents, which many aviation experts worry threatens to erode safety by chilling early, open discussions of hazards,” The Journal reported.

That is such a big fear that the International Aviation Organization, part of the United Nations, will be asking governments “to avoid the criminalization of mistakes,” according to The Journal.

There is also the belief by some that the French Court found Continental guilty because the horrific crash was caused by non-French people.  

Continental plans to appeal the court’s decision.      

Continental Found Guilty Of Manslaughter In Concorde Crash That Killed 113


Posted on 6th December 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A French court Monday convicted Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics of manslaughter charges stemming from the crash of an Air France Concorde jet that killed 113 people.

The court found that titanium debris from a Continenal DC-10 caused the crash of the Concorde on July 25, 2000. The Continental plane dropped the debris onto a runway at Charles de Gaulle airport right before the Concorde took off. An investigation revealed that the debris slashed the Concorde’s tire, and bits of its rubber got into its fuel tanks and started a fire.

The Concorde then crashed into a nearby hotel, with four people on the ground and 109 onboard all killed in the accident. The victims were German tourists.

Continental, which said it plans to appeal the verdict, was ordered to pay Air France $1.43 million for injuring the foreign carrier’s reputation. Continental was also fined $265,000.

According to the Associated Press, Continental and its mechanic John Taylor were also directed to jointly pay more than $360,000 in damages to a variety of civil parties.

Taylor was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence, and fined $2,650. His now-retired supervisor, Stanley Ford, and three former French officials were acquitted of the charges.  

Continental has argued that the Concorde has suffered from a series of mechanical problems over the years, including some involving its fuel tanks. A French inquiry found that the Concorde’s fuel tanks weren’t adequately protected from shock. 

But the French court put the blame  on Continental and Taylor, saying that the mechanic should have known better than to use titanium, a very hard metal, to put in as a so-called “wear strip” on the DC-10. Taylor was also charged with not installg the part that fell on the runway properly.