IIn the trial of the plane crash between Rio and Paris in 2009 that killed 228, the public prosecutor’s office has no conviction AirFrance and Airbus demanded. The prosecutor said on Wednesday in Paris that both companies were at fault. Some of the victims’ relatives left the courtroom in protest.
“The public prosecutor is supposed to defend the people and instead defends the Airbus group,” said Danièle Lamy, chairwoman of a victims’ association. The process was a “trial against the pilots”, although only the two companies were accused.
“We know that it is difficult for the civil parties to hear this position, but we are not in a position to seek the conviction of Air France and Airbus,” the prosecutor said.
Worst accident in Air France history
28 Germans are among the 228 dead in the worst accident in the history of Air France. The process, which has been ongoing since October, deals with the question of whether the aircraft manufacturer airbus and Air France underestimated a problem with devices used to measure speed.
“The tragic accident is above all a human drama that has shaken the lives of the relatives forever,” said prosecutor Marie Duffourc. The 13 years until the legal processing were “much too long”, she emphasized.
The so-called pitot probes were iced up during the fatal flight, which resulted in the autopilot being switched off and the alarm being triggered. The surprised pilots then steered the plane steeply upwards. Less than five minutes later, the plane crashed into the Atlantic.
During the trial, the two companies emphasized that they had made no criminal mistakes. In the event of a conviction for negligent homicide, they would have to reckon with penalties of 225,000 euros. This is independent of compensation payments that have already been negotiated beforehand.
Surviving relatives of the German victims expressed their anger and sadness in court in November. Bernd Gans, who lost his daughter Ines in the accident, accused the company of “ruthless delaying tactics”.
The A330-203 crashed over the Atlantic on the night of June 1, 2009. All 216 passengers and the crew of twelve died. The wreck was not found until two years later at a depth of about 4000 meters. A first procedure was discontinued in 2019.