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Continental Airlines is Now a Convicted Concorde Murderer

December 6, 2010 at 6:29 AM | by | ()

The remembrance stone in Roissy, France

Just over ten years after the deadly day, a French court has found Continental Airlines guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the July 2000 crash of the Air France Concorde, which took the lives of 109 passengers and crew and another 4 on the ground. So just how did this come to be, that another airline is convicted of murdering the entire flight of another airline? It all goes back to a small piece of metal.

The tragedy of the Concorde AF Flight 4590 is well known, but here's a sentence to refresh your memory: a Continental Airlines DC-10 flew out of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The plane wasn't properly maintained, and a 12" x 17" piece of titanium (that shouldn't have been on the plane anyways) fell of it onto the runway at CDG. The Concorde took off next, and the metal strip burst a tire, pieces of which then ruptured a fuel tank, which then did all sorts of damage and turned the Concorde into a flaming projectile that crashed into a motel outside the airport. The structural fragility of the areas damaged in this crash caused all Concordes to be grounded for the time being, and all Concordes ceased flying in 2003.

The fateful metal strip

There'll be no more 3-hour flights from New York to London unless the Concorde returns reinforced in the future, or a new supersonic commercial jet hits the runways. Thus, Continental Airlines not only killed those 114 people, but they also contributed to an end to a glory period of air travel.

So how will Continental have to atone for their wrong? Now that Continental and United have merged, it's all on United. There will be money involved with a fine of $268,000, but possibly also jail time for the Continental mechanic (and his boss) directly responsible for that rogue piece of metal.

It may have taken over ten years, but this case can now be closed.

[Photos: FoxNews & AP]

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