German lawyer to sue French state over Air France crash

4th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A lawyer representing families of the German and Chinese victims of an Air France crash in the Atlantic last year said he planned to sue the French state for negligence in its oversight.

Ulrich von Jeinsen told AFP he would file suit "against unidentified persons of the French state" for failing to establish a registry of incidents involving airspeed monitors, as ordered in a European Commission directive in 2003.

"As a result of this failure to comply with European norms, it is possible that the French state was unaware of 30 similar incidents in which the air speed measuring instruments froze up at high altitudes," von Jeinsen's practice said in a statement.

His French associate Jean-Pierre Bellecave will hand in the paperwork to a French court "in the coming days", von Jeinsen said.

The German attorney said he was hopeful that French justice authorities would be able to pinpoint who in the French state bore responsibility for such oversight.

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.

A series of automatic error messages were emitted by the onboard flight computer shortly before the plane disappeared from radar.

The latest findings of France's BEA air accident investigation agency are due in September.

© 2010 AFP

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