Air France has issued a writ against Continental Airlines over the tyre explosion which led to the 25 July Aerospatiale/British Aerospace Concorde crash near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Air France alleges that a piece of metal from a Continental McDonnell Douglas DC-10 caused the tyre failure which brought the aircraft down just after take-off, killing all 109 people on board and four people on the ground.

Continental has acknowledged that a piece of metal "similar in shape to the piece of metal found on the runway at Paris, was missing from...the Continental DC-10", but says there is no "conclusive evidence that this was the cause of the crash. The DC-10 took off only a few minutes before the Concorde.

Families of passengers who died in the crash have also filed lawsuits against Continental, as well as Air France and the aircraft and tyre manufacturers.

The French Bureau d'Enquetes Accidents (BEA) preliminary accident report says: "During the take-off run the front right tyre of the left main landing gear was destroyed between V1 and Vr, very probably because it ran over a piece of metal. The destruction of the tyre caused damage, either directly or indirectly, to aircraft structure and systems leading to the crash less than 1min 30s after the destruction of the tyre."

The BEA recommended the suspension of the aircraft's airworthiness certificates, citing vulnerability to damage from tyre bursts.

Source: Flight International