French court paves way for US trial over charter crash

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French court ruling paved the way for a possible US trial over a 2004 charter aircraft crash in Egypt that killed 134 French tourists.

   PARIS, March 7, 2008  - A French court ruling Thursday paved the way
for a possible US trial over a 2004 charter aircraft crash in Egypt that
killed 134 French tourists, focusing on the responsibility of US planemaker
Boeing.
   The Paris court of appeal ruled in favour of families of the victims of the
crash off the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, who argued the civil case
fell outside French jurisdiction and should be tried in the United States.
   A lower court had rejected the families' arguments in June 2006.
   "This opens the door for the case to return to the United States," said
Denis Chemla, lawyer for US aeronautics supplier Honeywell, who said he would
study the ruling before deciding whether to file a higher appeal.
   Honeywell is one of four US companies targeted by the victims' attorneys,
along with Boeing, IFLC the owner of the plane, and Parker Hannifin, maker of
hydraulic equipment.
   Separate French and Egyptian probes into the January 2004 crash of the
Boeing 737 aircraft, which killed 148 people including 134 French tourists,
failed to establish any responsibility on the planemaker's behalf.
   But the families of the victims argue that moving the civil part of the
trial to the United States would "inevitably bring to light manufacturing
faults" in the aircraft.
   The Flash Airlines charter company that ran the doomed flight has since
declared bankruptcy.

AFP 

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