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Not Their Fault?

Air France and Airbus acquitted in plane crash that killed 228 people

A Paris court on Monday cleared Air France and Airbus of involuntary manslaughter charges related to a 2009 plane crash that killed 228 people. 

While it was determined that there were several negligent incidents from both companies, "a probable causal link isn't sufficient to characterize an offense," the court ruled, per Reuters

The ruling follows an intense public trial held over Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330 that disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The remains of the plane and its black box recorders were found on the ocean floor two years later. 

It was determined that the crash occurred when the plane encountered a mid-ocean thunderstorm. After the plane's "airspeed sensors froze and gave false readings, the pilots failed to follow correct procedure and lost control of the plane, which plunged into the ocean," BBC News reported. 

A subsequent investigation by The Associated Press found that "Airbus had known since at least 2002 about problems with the type of pitot tubes [airspeed sensors] used on the jet that crashed, but failed to replace them until after the crash." Airbus was accused of not informing its airlines about issues with the sensors, while Air France was accused of not training its pilots on contingencies when the sensors froze, per AP. 

However, following a decade of legal proceedings, the court has ruled there was not enough direct evidence against the two companies to hold them liable, a decision that was decried by the victim's families and legal counsel. 

"Our lost ones have died a second time. I feel sick," Claire Durousseau, whose niece died in the crash, told Reuters. Daniele Lamy, the head of the main Air France 447 victims' association, added that she was "mortified and overwhelmed" by the decision.