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Air France and its insurers are suing Continental Airlines, alleging it contributed to the Concorde disaster that killed 113 people in July, a spokeswoman for the French airline said today.

French investigators say they believe that a strip of metal that had fallen onto the runway from a Continental DC-10 punctured a wheel on the doomed Air France Concorde during its takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris, triggering the fiery crash.

"A piece from a Continental Airlines plane caused the Concorde accident," the Air France spokeswoman told Reuters.

She added that under the civil aviation legal code, airlines are responsible for damage caused by any pieces that fall off their aircraft.

Continental said Tuesday it was aware litigation was being prepared against it but said investigations had so far found no definite proof linking Continental to the crash.

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