Remember the Concorde crash back on July 25, 2000 where the aircraft slammed into a French hotel shortly after takeoff killing 113 people? Well, the victims’ families may finally be able to turn the page after Continental Airlines Inc. and one of its mechanics were found guilty in a French court of involuntary manslaughter ten years after the horrific accident.
The Air France Concorde burst into flames shortly after takeoff on that summer day and a judge ruled that titanium debris dropped by a Continental DC-10 onto the runway at Charles de Gaulle airport was to blame. Investigators explained that the debris slashed the aircraft’s tires which then sent bits of rubber into the fuel tanks causing a major fire.
So what would you consider fair punishment in this case? Major fines, prison time or maybe a combination? Continental and the 42-year-old American mechanic, John Taylor, had to pay $360,000 in damages to various civil parties in addition to a 15-month suspended prison sentence and a $2,650 fine. The other defendants, which include three former French officials and John Taylor’s retired supervisor Stanley Ford – were all acquitted. Not sure what the right punishment is here but a measly $360,000 fine for Continental?? Seems like they got off easy. As for the mechanic, maybe the guilt of knowing your error caused the death of 113 people is enough punishment.
The court ruled that the mechanic should not have used titanium, an especially hard metal, to build a part for the DC-10 that is commonly called a wear strip. He was also found guilty of installing the piece incorrectly which caused it to fall down on the runway.
Seems like quite an oversight there. Hopefully all parties involved learned from this fatal mistake that caused the Concorde crash.
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