Continental appeals Concorde crash verdict

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Continental Airlines lodged an appeal Monday against a conviction by a French court which found it criminally responsible for the 2000 Concorde air disaster in which 113 people were killed.

Olivier Metzner, lawyer for the US airline, said he had lodged the papers with the appellate court in Versailles, west of Paris.

A court on December 6 found the US airline criminally responsible for the Paris crash. It said it was caused by a strip of titanium that fell from a Continental DC-10 and later shredded the supersonic jet's tyre, which led to a fire in the fuel tank.

Continental was ordered to pay a fine of 200,000 euros for the crash and to pay the Concorde's operator Air France a million euros in damages. The US airline said the ruling was "absurd".

The judge also gave Continental employee John Taylor a 15-month suspended jail sentence for having incorrectly manufactured and installed the titanium strip.

Flight 4590 to New York smashed into a hotel in a ball of fire just after take-off from Charles de Gaulle airport on July 25, 2000, killing 100 mostly German passengers and nine crew on board and four people on the ground.

The US airline issued a statement after the ruling, saying it was aimed at deflecting responsibility from Air France.

© 2010 AFP

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