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A French court today convicted Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics for on involuntary manslaughter charges related to the 2000 crash of an Air France Concorde jet, The Associated Press reports.

The court ordered Continental to pay Air France $1.43 million for damages to Air France's reputation and an additional fine of $265,000. CNN says "mechanic John Taylor received a fine of 2,000 euros ($2,656) and a 15-month suspended prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter."

The crash of the Air France Concorde killed all 109 people on board and four on the ground.

AP writes "the presiding judge confirmed investigators' long-held belief that titanium debris dropped by a Continental DC-10 onto the runway at Charles de Gaulle airport before the supersonic jet took off on July 25, 2000, was to blame."

The New York Times says "a 2002 report by French air accident investigators concluded that a small strip of metal had fallen off a Continental DC-10 that took off minutes earlier and that the piece punctured a tire of the Concorde as it accelerated down the runway on July 25, 2000. The tire disintegrated in seconds, investigators said, sending shards of rubber into the fuel tanks and causing a catastrophic fire."


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