Continental Airlines Found Guilty in 2000 Air France Crash

The New York Times and other sources are reporting that a French judge has ruled that Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics were found guilty of involuntary homicide for their role in the 2000 crash of an Air France Concorde jet that killed 113 people and hastened the end of commercial supersonic travel.

Continental was ordered to pay civil damages of more than $1.3 million to Air France and a fine of $265,000. The mechanic was fined $2,650 and given a suspended 15-month prison sentence. Three other defendants involved in the plane’s design and certification were acquitted.

Continental released a statement on its Facebook page: "While we agree with the court’s decision that Stanley Ford was innocent of the charges he faced and we share his relief that his decade-long nightmare is over, we strongly disagree with the court's verdict regarding Continental Airlines and John Taylor and will of course appeal this absurd finding. 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.?"

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