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Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2000

Continental sued for Concorde crash

Air France says Houston-based carrier’s plane lost metal strip that triggered fire

September 28, 2000

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— Air France is suing Continental Airlines for the deadly Concorde jet crash, which investigators suspect was caused by a stray piece of metal on the runway that fell from a Continental aircraft.

The Concorde, bound for New York's John F. Kennedy airport, crashed shortly after taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris on July 25. All of the 109 people on board were killed and four on the ground also died.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this month in France, the Houston-based Continental said. In Paris, an Air France spokeswoman confirmed the lawsuit on Wednesday.

Continental spokeswoman Julie Gardner declined to release further details Wednesday and referred all calls to its London office. Officials at the office did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

A metal strip found later on the runway was believed to have fallen from a Continental DC-10 bound for Newark, N.J. The piece of metal, 17 inches by 1 inch, was suspected of puncturing one of the Concorde's high-pressure tires and possibly setting off a chain reaction that brought down the plane.

"At this stage of the investigation, there is however no conclusive evidence that Continental Airlines is involved in the Concorde crash," Continental said in the statement.

French investigators have said part of a "metal wear" strip that is part of an engine thrust reverser assembly was missing from the Continental plane and had characteristics that appeared identical to the metal piece. The strip is not needed to fly the plane safely.

Meanwhile, a German lawyer for the families of the crash victims said Wednesday he was planning to sue Continental Airlines.

Attorney Christof Wellens, who represents 20 of the victims, said his lawsuit would likely be filed in a Texas court. He declined to name a figure for damages sought or say exactly when he would file the lawsuit.

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