30 Nov 2012

US airline cleared in Concorde crash

6:18 am on 30 November 2012

An appeals court in France has absolved Continental Airlines of responsibility for a Concorde crash which killed 113 people and cleared a mechanic at the airline of a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

The accident helped to spell the end of the supersonic airliner.

A previous court found that a small metal strip, which fell onto the runway from a Continental aircraft just before the Concorde took off from Paris, caused the crash on 25 July, 2000.

The Air France Concorde was taking off when an engine caught fire. Trailing a plume of flames, it crashed into a hotel near Charles de Gaulle airport.

All 109 passengers and four people on the ground died.

After modifications, the plane returned to service but Air France and British Airways retired it in 2003, citing high operating costs and a drop in demand.

Continental was originally fined 200,000 euros and ordered to pay Air France one million euros in damages. Continental appealed the verdict at a hearing in Versailles.

Welder John Taylor was cleared of a 15 month suspended prison sentence for having gone against industry norms and used titanium to forge the piece that dropped off the plane.