AF447: Manslaughter case against Air France, Airbus dismissed

Pawel Kierzkowski

The ten years of investigation into the crash of flight AF447 from Rio to Paris, which killed 228 passengers and crew members on June 1, 2009, could lead to no prosecution. The investigating judges have dismissed the case for manslaughter against Airbus and Air France.

In July 2019, the Public Prosecutor’s office had requested Air France to face trial for manslaughter and negligence in the training of pilots and dismissed the case against Airbus. However, the investigating judges of the Paris court decided not to follow the requisitions of the Public Prosecutor, and also dismissed the case against Air France. “This accident is obviously due to a conjunction of elements that never occurred, and thus highlighted dangers that could not be perceived before this accident,” said the judges, quoted by AFP.

The main association of relatives of victims, “Association entraide et solidarité vol AF447”, will appeal a judgment “that insults the memory of victims”, ​​told its lawyer Alain Jakubowicz. The association had already contested the decision of the Public Prosecutor’s office, stating that no trial “can only comfort Airbus in a feeling of impunity harmful to the safety of all”. In June 2019, the SNPL, Air France’s main pilot union, had also demanded everyone involved in the crash to be sent to court.

On June 1, 2009, an Air France A330, registered F-GZCP, carrying out flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people on board. The accident remains the worst Air France has ever suffered, and the deadliest involving an Airbus A330.

The final report of the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), released in 2012, pointed at icing of the Pitot probes and incorrect pilot reactions as the main causes of the crash. As for the criminal investigation, it was concluded on February 18, 2019.

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