A French court will decide on Wednesday whether Air France and Airbus should be tried for the crash of a Rio de Janeiro-Paris flight in 2009 which killed the 228 people on board.
Flight AF447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean during a storm on June 1, 2009, the deadliest crash in Air France history.
It took two years to find the wreckage of the Airbus A330 aircraft, which was eventually located by remote-controlled submarines at a depth of 3,900 meters (13,000 feet).
Investigators determined the crash was caused by pilot errors, which had been confused by faulty speed monitoring equipment.
The prosecution is calling for a manslaughter trial from both Air France and Airbus, going beyond the Paris prosecutor’s initial request that only Air France faces manslaughter charges.
The two prosecution teams are challenging the 2019 decision to drop the charges of the two investigating judges assigned to the case, who said they could not blame the companies in what appeared to be a pilot error case .
But prosecutors accuse Air France of indirectly causing the tragedy by providing insufficient training on how to respond to pitot tube malfunctions, allowing pilots to monitor their speed.
The pilots reacted badly when the plane stalled after the speed sensors froze.
The decision of the Paris Court of Appeal on Wednesday on whether the companies should be tried is eagerly awaited by the families of the victims.
“We are not looking for revenge but for justice for the dignity of families and victims,” Daniele Lamy, president of an association of families of victims, told AFP.
“Some form of impunity can lead to another disaster,” she added.
Since the disaster, the training of pilots in contingency management has intensified in France and in several other countries.
© 2021 AFP