The Basics We will know on May 12th whether or not Airbus and Air France should be prosecuted in the court record of the Rio to Paris flight crash in 2009.
The Paris Court of Appeal is expected to decide on May 12th whether or not Airbus and Air France should be convicted of the Rio to Paris crash in 2009, as we learned on Thursday March 4th. A dismissal, which was contested by the families of the victims and the public prosecutor, was granted to the company and the manufacturer in 2019 during the investigation into the flight disaster AF447 on June 1, 2009 in the middle of the Atlantic.
All passengers and crew, 228 people from 34 nationalities, were killed in this accident, the deadliest in the history of the French company. The validity of this release, which was returned after a ten-year process that was marked by a dispute over expert opinions, was discussed in front of closed doors in front of the investigative chamber of the appellate court for more than five hours on Thursday.
Read also: Crash of the Rio-Paris flight: Lætitia Alazard’s brother, Lot’s victim, is hoping for a new trial
At the hearing, the public prosecutor confirmed his written requests for a trial for “involuntary murders” against Air France and Airbus. “We are not demanding revenge, but justice for the dignity of families and victims,” said Danièle Lamy, president of the association Entraide et Solidarité AF447, after the hearing to AFP.
“We need a process to enable a public debate that sheds light on the wrongdoing and negligence in the chain of responsibility,” she added.
In August 2019, the investigating judges had failed to comply with the requirements of the Paris public prosecutor’s office, which brought proceedings against the sole company for “negligence and recklessness” in the training of pilots. Two and a half years later, the attorney general, hierarchical superior of the public prosecutor’s office, asks to maintain the responsibility of the aircraft manufacturer because he underestimated “the dangerousness of the anemometric incidents resulting from the icing of the probes”.
The accident was caused by the pitot speed probes icing over. The incident led to an interruption in the speed measurements of the Airbus A330 and disoriented the pilots to the point of fatally stalling the aircraft. A first report from 2012 concluded that there were crew errors, technical problems and a lack of information from pilots about the icing of the probe. Then a second opinion requested by the manufacturer pointed to an “inappropriate reaction by the crew” and the shortcomings of Air France.
The civil parties had received the cancellation of this second expertise and the reopening of the investigation. However, a third and final assessment in 2017 also focused on “unsuitable manual pilot actions” by the crew and resulted in Airbus being cleared.