The trial has started for US airline Continental and five individuals charged with manslaughter over the Air France Concorde crash near Paris ten years ago. A total of 113 people died in the accident.
It is alleged that a 43-centimetre titanium repair strip that had fallen from a Continental plane onto the runway punctured the departing Concorde’s tyre, sending debris crashing into the supersonic jet’s fuel tank.
Leaking kerosene then caught fire, causing the plane to crash into a motel two minutes after take-off.
But Continental claims the Concorde was already on fire before it hit the piece of metal.
Two Continental engineers are charged with breaking safety rules by fitting the titanium strip.
The other engineers are accused of knowing about existing weaknesses in Concorde’s tyre and fuel tank design but failing to act.