Continental Airlines vows it will appeal a French judge’s ruling the airline and one of its employees were guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the July 25, 2000, crash of an Air France Concorde, in which 113 persons died including four on the ground.
The airline was fined €200,000 and ordered to pay Air France €1 million related to the accident. A Continental mechanic was also found guilty and received a suspended sentence of 15 months, with a second mechanic cleared of charges. Three French officials – a former Aerospatiale executive and two representatives, at the time, of the French civil aviation agency (DGAC) — were also cleared of contributing to the crash. The French officials were accused of not addressing known Concorde design flaws.
During its take-off run for a flight to New York, AF4590 ran over a metal piece that the court determined fell off a Continental DC-10 that had taken off immediately before Concorde. The supersonic aircraft’s fuel tank was struck by debris and caught fire. It crashed shortly after take-off to the west of Charles de Gaulle airport as it tried to divert to Le Bourget. All 113 people on board were killed. The aircraft never recovered after a 16 month grounding and was finally taken out of service in 2003.