7 Dec 2010

Continental Airlines 'responsible' for Concorde crash

11:15 pm on 7 December 2010

A French court has found US airline Continental and one of its mechanics criminally responsible for the crash of a Concorde supersonic airliner 10 years ago.

The airline has been fined 200,000 euros and ordered to pay 1 million euros to the jet's operator Air France.

A Continental mechanic, John Taylor, was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence over the crash.

The Concorde caught fire shortly after take-off from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris in July 2000, killing 113 people.

Continental Airlines is to appeal against the ruling, saying the verdict is "absurd" and "only protects French interests", the BBC reports.

The court in Paris ruled that the crash was caused by a piece of metal left on the runway after falling from a Continental jet.

Investigators said this caused a tyre-burst in the Concorde, which in turn ruptured a fuel tank.

Most of the passengers were German tourists heading to New York to join a luxury cruise to the Caribbean. Nine French crew members and four hotel workers also died.