Continental Airlines and five individuals will stand trial in a French court and be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the Air France Concorde crash at Paris' Charles De Gaulle airport that killed 113 people on July 25, 2000, Reuters reports. The five individuals incriminated include Henri Perrier (director of
the Concorde program), the head of France's civil aviation authority at the time of the
crash, two Continental engineers, and another man who worked on the Concorde project
Continental has been called to trial after consecutive investigations concluded that a strip of metal that fell onto the runway from a Continental flight burst a tire on the departing Concorde, sending shrapnel flying into the plane's oil tanks, causing it to catch fire. Continental has denied any responsibility for the crash and has said it would fight any charges.
A statement released by the prosecutor for the trail claims that Continental was negligent in its maintenance of the DC10 aircraft and failed to follow normal procedures over repairs. The statement comes after a previous judicial report stated that Aerospatiale, Concorde's manufacturer, failed to fix a flawed design that resulted in more than 70 incidents involving the plane's tires between 1979 and 2000.
The prosecutor's statement also claimed France's civil aviation chief was negligent for not enforcing design safety for the Concorde and not addomg extra protection to the underwing fuel tanks until after the tragic crash.
French officials said earlier this year that any trial would likely not begin until later this year or early 2009.