Continental Found ‘Criminally Responsible’ for Air France Concorde Crash
On July 25, 2000, Concorde flight AF4590 took off from Charles De Gaulle airport, located in the outskirts of Paris. Shortly after takeoff, the jet crashed in the small town of Gonesse, only 10 miles north of Paris. Including the flight’s crew, a total of 109 people on board were killed during the accident, plus four more on the ground.
Investigations had previously found that a 17-inch piece of titanium that was left on the runway by a Continental flight stabbed into one of the Concorde’s tires, which loosened rubber debris that punctured the fuel tank. It eventually caught fire and caused the accident.
Continental was fined 200,000 euros ($265,700) and ordered to pay 1 million euros ($1.32 million) to Air France, which operated the flight.
Furthermore, one of Continental’s mechanic, John Taylor, 42, received a 15-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 2,000 euros ($2,657). His supervisor, Stanley Ford, 71, along with three other French air officials, were acquitted.
However, a Continental spokesperson criticized the decision as the company has stated its decision to appeal the court decision.
“We strongly disagree with the court’s verdict regarding Continental Airlines and John Taylor and will of course appeal this absurd finding,” the spokesperson said.
“Portraying the metal strip as the cause of the accident and Continental and one of its employees as the sole guilty parties shows the determination of the French authorities to shift attention and blame away from Air France, which was government-owned at the time and operated and maintained the aircraft, as well as from the French authorities responsible for the Concorde?s airworthiness and safety.”
“To find that any crime was committed in this tragic accident is not supported either by the evidence at trial or by aviation authorities and experts around the world,” Continental said.