Air France and Airbus to stand trial over deadly 2009 crash in the Atlantic Ocean that killed 228

A Paris court has ruled that Air France and Airbus will stand trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter over the 2009 crash of flight AF447, killing all 228 people on board, the deadliest crash in the airline’s history.

The ruling on Wednesday follows the prosecutor’s recommendation that the Paris court overturns a previous judicial decision to drop the investigation against the airline and aircraft manufacturer.

The Paris prosecutor had initially only called for Air France to stand trial on manslaughter charges but the general prosecutor’s office supported charging both Air France and Airbus.

“It’s a huge satisfaction to feel that we have finally been heard by the courts,” Daniele Lamy, president of an association of victims’ families, stated following the announcement of the court ruling.

It comes 11 years after Air France Flight 447 entered an aerodynamic stall before crashing into the Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of the morning, as it traveled from Rio de Janeiro to Paris Charles de Gaulle, killing all 216 passengers and 12 crew members. The incident was the deadliest crash in Air France’s history and the worst aviation accident for an Airbus A330. 

Salvage crews took two years to find the plane’s crash site, with the wreckage having sunk 3,900 meters down into the ocean. After an investigation took place, a report stated that pilot errors and faulty speed-monitoring equipment had been responsible for the accident.

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Following the report’s release, prosecutors alleged that Air France was indirectly responsible for the incident as it provided insufficient training on how pilots should respond if there was a malfunction during a flight, resulting in an incorrect reaction from the pilots.

Lawyers working on behalf of Airbus said that they would lodge an appeal of the decision to take the company to trial. Air France did not immediately respond.

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