After a Paris court exonerated Air France and Airbus of manslaughter charges related to the 2009 crash that took the lives of 228 people, the families of the victims of France’s worst aviation accident said they were devastated.
On Monday, the court stated that even if mistakes had been made, “no certain causal link” to the tragedy had been established.
Attorney David Koubbi described the court’s decision as “incomprehensible” on behalf of the relatives of many passengers.
“It is a signal that you can kill 228 people in an air crash and nobody is at fault. The families that I represent are devastated, and this has prevented them from mourning their loved ones,” Koubbi said after the hearing.
While the two companies were cleared of any criminal culpability, according to Koubbi, the court concluded in the families’ favor in a separate civil case, holding Air France and Airbus jointly liable for mistakes and opening the way for payments for the relatives of the victims.
In September, the precise compensation sum will be revealed.
“The court has decided that while no blame can be apportioned in criminal law, under civil law Air France and Airbus committed four faults and are responsible for damages,” Koubbi said.
The decision came after a nine-week trial that ended with the public prosecutors’ office suggesting it was impossible to establish the guilt of either firm.
When the trial began in October, the main executives of Air France and Airbus pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and extended their sympathies, prompting heated outbursts from the families of the dead.
On June 1, 2009, flight AF447 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it vanished off the radar in the midst of an Atlantic storm.