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Concorde, Continental File Suit Against Anglican Church
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HOUSTON, Texas - In response to Air France's public acknowledgement of pending litigation accusing Continental Airlines of negligence in regard to the Concorde disaster, Continental has filed its own suit against the Anglican Church. "It is alleged that a piece of titanium dislodged from one of our aircraft during take-off and later punctured the tire of the Air France Concorde, setting off a chain of events leading to the loss of the aircraft," attorney for Continental Jon Queek said Tuesday, "We maintain our innocence in this matter. However, we contend that had William Gregor, then Vicar of Creed, had not discovered Titanium, this would now be a non-issue." Pending the outcome of the Air France suit, Continental has not named an amount of damages sought. "It will likely run into the hundreds of millions," Queek said. Air France has filed a separate friend of the court brief supporting Continental's position.

"Air France is hedging its bet."
-- legal consultant Jeremy Feltts
In 1791 William Gregor, an Anglican reverend, discovered a mineral he named "menachanite", after Menaccan in Cornwall. "Gregor played a very small part in the commercialization of titanium," explained Reverend Thomas McSweeney, "Very small indeed. And of course, he was working 'off the clock', as it were. That is, he was working in his capacity as an amateur mineralogist, not in his capacity as Vicar of Creed. As such, any suit alleging metallurgical misconduct would need to be filed against him personally. Sadly," he added, with a grin, "The good Reverend is unavailable for comment."

"Air France is hedging its bet with the amicus curiae," explained legal consultant Jeremy Feltts, "The airline industry is not a place to make money, an airline is not usually worth suing. But if Continental can work out some sort of award-for-award deal, then Air France -- who has a very winnable case against Continental -- has some hope of collecting damages. Unlike airlines, churches generally have considerable assets."

Investigations into the cause of the July 2000 disaster concluded that a 10-inch titanium strip believed to be a part of the DC-10 engine cowling caused a tire on the Concorde to burst. The tire debris punctured the fuel tank, leading to the fire and explosion that doomed the aircraft. "If we're going to start looking for design flaws to blame here," said Queek, "We might want to start with a fuel tank made to hold enough fuel for a transatlantic flight that explodes when smacked with a chunk of rubber. But," he added, "If we're going to go down, we're taking the Church of England with us."
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