Friday, August 21, 2009

Family of Air France 447 victim begins legal action against airline

Posted: 12:15 PM ET at CNN

PARIS, France (CNN) — The family of one of the victims in the crash of Air France flight 447 has begun legal action against the French company, the family’s lawyer told CNN Friday.

The French accident investigation agency, BEA, has not established the cause of the crash, but Air France ordered the replacement in late July of air-speed censors on its Airbus planes like the one that crashed. The original censors are known as Pitot tubes.

“We feel that the Pitot tubes are directly responsible for the crash of the flight,” said Jean-Claude Guidicelli on behalf of his clients, the father and brother of Clara Amado, 31, a flight attendant on the Air France flight which crashed off the coast of Brazil.

Flight 447 went down June 1 in the Atlantic Ocean in stormy weather as it flew from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Charles de Gaulle airport here, killing all 228 people on board.

The air-speed censors in question were made by the French company Thales and, according to Guidicelli, were less expensive than a competing American brand. “The family remains very upset and hopes that the decision to keep to Pitot tubes was not a matter of cutting costs, or French patriotism,” continued Guidicelli.

Air France announced on July 31 that American-made Goodrich censors would replace the Pitot tubes in its A330 and A340 airplanes.

Guidicelli hopes that a preliminary investigation against Air France will begin before September 24, the next scheduled meeting between the victims’ families and the airline.

However, the Amado family will not be attending the meeting. “They don’t want to go all the way to Paris (from the south of France) to still not get any answers,” said Guidicelli. “The family wants to bring the affair into the open to find out what really happened,” he continued.

Air France currently had no comment on the Amado’s pending legal action.

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