A French appeals court has overturned manslaughter convictions against Continental Airlines and a mechanic for the crash of an Air France Concorde that killed 113 people on July 25, 2000.
The ruling, which came down Nov. 29, 2012, means that, despite their mistakes, they cannot be held criminally responsible for the deaths of the passengers aboard that tragic flight nor for the innocent people killed on the ground. The Concorde, a high-tech luxury jet, crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, slamming into a nearby Versailles hotel, and killing all 109 people aboard and four people on the ground. Most of the passengers were Germans heading to a cruise in the Caribbean.
The supersonic Concorde, which had been taken out of service in 2003, began flying again in a jointly operated program by Air France and British Airways.
The court in November found that work that a Continental Airlines mechanic had performed weeks earlier in Houston, Texas, played a critical role in the crash, according to reports, having fitted the wrong metal strip on a DC-10. The piece reportedly fell off the aircraft and punctured the Concorde’s tire which sent bits of burst tire into the fuel tanks that started the fire that brought down the luxury aircraft.
The French court was aimed at assigning responsibility, something unique to only a few countries. The victims’ families had been compensated by a French court in 2010.