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French court overturns Continental Airlines manslaughter verdict over Concorde crash

media The 2000 Concorde crash claimed 113 lives Reuters/Andras Kisgergely

A French court has cleared Continental Airlines and one of its employees of criminal responsibility for the July 2000 crash of an Air France Concorde.

The US airline was convicted of involuntary homicide in 2010, with a court ruling the crash was caused by a piece of metal that had fallen from one of its planes.

A court on Thursday overturned the conviction on appeal along with an associated 200,000-euro fine.

It also scrapped the conviction for criminal negligence of John Taylor, the Continental engineer whose maintenance work had been blamed for the strip of metal falling off a DC10 airliner.

But it upheld an order that Continental should pay one million euros to Air France for "damage to its image" by the disaster which left 113 people dead and eventually led to Concorde being taken out of service.

That clears the way for Air France to pursue its suit for 15 million euros of damages in a civil case that has been suspended pending Thursday's verdict.

The court also rejected prosecution requests for Claude Frantzen, 75, the former head of France's civil aviation authority, and Taylor's supervisor, to be convicted of negligence.

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