2005 Air France accident victims get 11.4 million settlement

MONTREAL, Dec 31, 2009 (AFP) - Nearly 200 passengers of an Air France jet that slid off the runway and caught fire on landing in Toronto in 2005 were awarded 12 million Canadian dollars (11.4 million US) in damages by a Canadian judge, in a court ruling released Thursday.

The class-action settlement is shared by 184 mostly French and Canadian passengers of the Paris-Toronto flight. Sixty-eight passengers had reached an out-of-court settlement, while 45 others took no legal action.

The award payment will be made by Air France, to the tune of 10 million dollars plus interest, with the remainder shared by Airbus, which built the A 340 airliner, and Goodrich, which made the faulty escape chutes used in the accident.

"The settlements with Air France, Airbus and Goodrich are approved as fair, reasonable and in the best interests of the class," Ontario Superior Court judge Joan Lax said of the December 24 ruling disclosed Thursday.

Another class-action lawsuit against Nav Canada, which handled air traffic control at the time of the accident, is still ongoing.

Air France flight 358 from Paris slid off the runway into a ditch during a heavy rainstorm on landing at Toronto on August 2, 2005.

Most of the 297 passengers and crew of 12 were quickly and safely evacuated from the craft, but 60 people had to jump off the plane when the escape chutes failed -- 33 people were injured, 23 seriously enough to be taken to hospital.

Source: AFP

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