French court cites criminal error in Airbus crash
A French court ruled on Tuesday that "criminal error" was behind the June 2009 crash of an Air France flight between Paris and Rio de Janeiro, opening the way for a compensation claim.
A commission at a court in Toulon, southern France, ruled that it could pay compensation of 20,000 euros (27,000 dollars) to the family of one of the flight's air hostesses.
The evidence was enough to suggest that there had been a "criminal error characteristic of the offence of manslaughter", the court said.
The commission judged that the guarantee funds for victims of terrorism and other offences, should pay out 10,000 euros to the brother and the same amount to the father of the victim.
Flight 447 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris went down in the Atlantic roughly midway between Brazil and Senegal on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board in the worst crash in Air France's history.
Crash investigators have acknowledged in previous reports that Airbus 330-200's airspeed monitors were faulty, but maintain this could not have been the sole cause of the disaster.
Until now the French justice system did not recognise that the failure behind the crash could be down to criminal error.
A series of automatic error messages were emitted by the onboard flight computer shortly before the plane disappeared from radar.
© 2010 AFP