Continental, mechanic to appeal Concorde verdict

HOUSTON Continental says the carrier strongly disagreed with the "absurd finding."

The court Monday ruled that Continental must pay a $265,000 fine and Houston-based mechanic John Taylor must pay $2,650. Taylor was also handed a 15-month suspended prison sentence. All other defendants, including Taylor's now-retired supervisor Stanley Ford, were acquitted.

Taylor, who also plans to appeal, told The Associated Press that "I've been nothing but wronged since this started."

The presiding judge confirmed the long-held belief of investigators that debris dropped by a Continental DC-10 onto the runway at Charles de Gaulle Airport damaged the Air France jet on takeoff.

Continental's Statement on French Court's Verdict

While we agree with the court's decision that Stanley Ford was innocent of the charges he faced and we share his relief that his decade-long nightmare is over, we strongly disagree with the court's verdict regarding Continental Airlines and John Taylor and will of course appeal this absurd finding. Portraying the metal strip as the cause of the accident and Continental and one of its employees as the sole guilty parties shows the determination of the French authorities to shift attention and blame away from Air France, which was government-owned at the time and operated and maintained the aircraft, as well as from the French authorities responsible for the Concorde's airworthiness and safety. To find that any crime was committed in this tragic accident is not supported either by the evidence at trial or by aviation authorities and experts around the world.

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