Concorde Manslaughter Trial To Take Place in France

 - July 8, 2008, 1:40 PM

A French judge last week ordered Continental Airlines and five people–including aircraft designers, maintenance technicians and one civil aviation authority executive–to stand trial for manslaughter in the criminal investigation into the Concorde crash that killed 113 in July 2000 near Paris. The airline is being charged with negligence in DC-10 maintenance. One Continental mechanic is facing the manslaughter charge because he is accused of improperly installing a titanium strip that subsequently fell onto the runway at Charles de Gaulle airport. The BEA, the French equivalent of the NTSB, earlier determined this caused a tire to burst on the Concorde’s takeoff roll, which triggered the fatal chain of events. The mechanic’s supervisor is being charged because he signed off on the installation. Two high-ranking officials at Aerospatiale (now EADS) involved in the supersonic airliner’s design and flight tests are accused of having underestimated incident damage seriousness. Finally, a former director general of the French civil aviation authority is being charged because he signed off on the aircraft’s design.