PONTOISE, France - A French court yesterday found U.S. airline Continental and one of its employees guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the Concorde crash near Paris 10 years ago that killed 113 people.
The judge ordered Continental to pay a fine of $268,000. Also, the company was ordered to pay $2.7 million in compensation to be split among Air France, which operated the Concorde, families of some victims and other parties in the case. One Continental mechanic was fined $2,650 and given a 15-month suspended sentence.
Three others, as well as former head of the Concorde program, Henri Perrier, were acquitted.
The prosecution argued that the Concorde had rolled across a strip of titanium that had fallen off a Continental aircraft, causing one of the supersonic jet's tires to burst during take-off. Rubber fragments from the tires then punctured the aircraft's fuel tank, setting it on fire.
Attorneys for Continental argued that the Concorde was already on fire when it rolled across the titanium strip. Continental's attorney said he would appeal.