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Paris Prosecutors Office to Appeal Acquittal of Air France and Airbus in Deadly 2009 Crash

Paris Prosecutors Office to Appeal Acquittal of Air France and Airbus in Deadly 2009 Crash

The Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office said on Thursday that it would appeal the decision of a local court to acquit flag carrier Air France and European aerospace giant Airbus over a deadly crash in 2009 that killed all 228 people onboard.

Air France and Airbus were cleared of involuntary manslaughter on April 17 following a years-long legal battle following the crash of flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009, which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.

The acquittal did not take legal observers by surprise, and a not guilty verdict was widely anticipated in the days leading up to the judgement being announced.

Nonetheless, the Parquet général de Paris said on April 27 that it intends to appeal the judgement, saying it wanted to make “full use of the remedies provided for by law” and submit the case for yet further scrutiny.

Family members of those killed onboard the flight had deplored the verdict, which concluded that while Air France and Airbus were responsible for several acts of negligence, these fell short of establishing a link with the accident.

Flight AF447 crashed after the Airbus A330 aircraft suffered a mid-air stall. Investigators concluded that the stall occurred when the plane’s pitot tubes (which measure airspeed) iced over during the flight.

At the time, Air France pilots received little training in how to deal with a high-altitude mid-air stall and the Captain was not in the cockpit at the time of the accident.

Following years of legal wrangling, Air France and Airbus were put on trial for involuntary corporate manslaughter – the first case of its kind to be prosecuted in France.

No individuals faced prosecuttio and instead, both companies had faced a maximum penalty of just €225,000 each.

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