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Thread: The man who killed Concorde

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    Default The man who killed Concorde

    The man who killed Concorde: Welder behind disaster which killed 113 people and ended the era of supersonic travel is fined £1,700


    Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics were ‘criminally responsible’ for the infamous Concorde crash which killed 113 people and ended the era of supersonic air travel, a French court ruled today.

    The American company received a fine of £170,000, while John Taylor, 42, received a 15 month suspended prison sentence and a fine of £1,700.

    Judge Dominique Andréassier acquitted three French defendants of any wrong-doing, despite the disaster involving a French aircraft on French soil.

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    Judge Dominique Andréassier acquitted three French defendants of any wrong-doing, despite the disaster involving a French aircraft on French soil.

    He delivered his controversial verdict at Pontoise Correctional Court, north of Paris and just a few miles from the horrific accident of July 25 2000 which changed the course of aviation history.

    Both defendants – the company and Taylor – were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

    Continental was also ordered to pay £850,000 to Air France in compensation.

    A Continental spokesman reacted furiously to the verdict, saying it would appeal because it ‘only protects French interests' and was 'absurd.'




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    'We strongly disagree with the court's verdict regarding Continental Airlines and John Taylor and will of course appeal,' a spokesman said in a statement.


    The Air France Concorde was filled with mostly German tourists when it caught fire during take-off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and crashed into a hotel. All 109 passengers and crew were killed, along with 4 people on the ground.

    Judges ruled that a 17 inch titanium strip from a Continental DC10 caused the disaster after it fell on to the runway, puncturing the Concorde's tyres.


    Crash site: The charred remains of the jet in which mainly German tourists died
    CONCORDE, THE DEMISE OF AN ICON

    Concorde was the world’s first supersonic passenger jet, capable of speeds of up to 1,350mph.

    But the planes - built as part of an Anglo-French government treaty and first flown in 1969 – were long dogged by controversy and never really became profitable.

    The main problem arose from the sound of its sonic boom – the loud noise left its wake made when the aircraft broke through the sound barrier.




    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    By the early 1970s, Concorde had been banned from flying at high speed in most countries throughout the world, making only limited transatlantic flights possible for super-rich passengers.

    Despite flights from London and Paris to New York and Washington taking less than half the time of other passenger jets, few airlines wanted them.

    Only 20 aircraft were ever built - and these were sold at a cost subsidized by the French and UK governments to the formerly state-owned Air France and British Airways.

    Development of the planes was prohibitively expensive, so its only crash – on July 25, 2000 – sounded the death knell after questions were raised over its safety.

    Though Concorde flew again, the cost of improvement in a post-9/11 world became too much to bear – even as a loss-making badge of prestige – and its retirement flight was made on November 26, 2003, pictured above.


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    Debris then shot up into the doomed plane’s under-wing fuel tank, setting it ablaze.

    This made Continental guilty of ‘involuntary manslaughter’ because of poor maintenance by Taylor, according to the verdict.

    A four month trial ended in May with a number of parties facing manslaughter charges following a decade-long investigation which produced 80,000 pages of legal papers.

    Prosecutors wanted a two-year suspended prison sentence for Frenchman Henri Perrier, who ran Concorde’s testing programme between 1978 and 1994, but he was cleared.

    Two more Frenchmen, Concorde engineer Jacques Herubel, and Claude Frantzen, former head of his country’s civil aviation, were originally charged following the crash were also cleared.

    The judgement reads: ‘No fault can be found in the conduct of Henri Perrier, Jacques Herubel, or Claude Frantzen’.

    Critics have claimed that the trial was a political one, aimed at clearing France of any responsibility for the crash.

    Air France, which has also been cleared of all blame, has paid out millions in compensation to the families of victims, and is now suing Continental in a civil case.

    This had been suspended before the verdict in today’s criminal trial.

    Continental’s defence team had pointed to the fact that Concorde’s tyres frequently exploded during its 27 year history, with flying debris piercing the fuel tank at least once before. This design fault should, they argued, have been fixed.

    During the trial, Continental claimed that the Concorde was on fire some 700m before it hit the piece of metal, but this was rejected by independent investigators, and by the judges.

    Concorde flights were suspended for a year and four months after the crash, before both Air France and British Airways grounded them for good in 2003.

    Despite this, the Paris crash was the only one involving Concorde throughout its history


    The plane was a favourite with the super-rich as it cold cruise at 1,350 miles per hour, meaning it could fly from London to New York in less than three-and-a-half hours.

    Continental is now called United Continental Holdings following a merger.

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    thx 4 sharing
    Just when you think you have all the answers,
    I change the questions

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