The former chief of the Concorde programme has been placed under formal investigation for manslaughter over the deaths of 113 people in a crash near Paris five years ago.
Henri Perrier, 76, the chief engineer on Concorde's first test flight in 1969, was questioned for nearly 12 hours by an investigating judge. He headed the Concorde programme until 1994 and is the first individual to appear before the judge in connection with possible criminal proceedings, reports Telegraph.
According to Times, in France, manslaughter charges are often brought against executives and others in authority after fatal accidents in which they are deemed to have had some responsibility. Convictions usually bring symbolic suspended prison sentences. From 1978 to 1994 M Perrier was head of the Concorde programme at Aerospatiale, the French partner in the Anglo-French supersonic project.
The Government’s accident inquiry found last December that the crash was caused by two factors. Tyres on the aircraft were shredded when they ran over a titanium strip on the runway. The strip had fallen from a Continental Airlines DC-10 airliner which had taken off shortly before.