French prosecutors won't seek charges in deadly 2004 plane crash

France - French prosecutors announced Monday they will not seek charges in the deadly 2004 crash of a Paris-bound airliner in Egypt, citing overwhelming evidence of human error.

The Boeing 737 carrying mainly French tourists plunged into the Red Sea after taking off from the resort Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 148 people on board the low-cost Flash Airlines flight.

In a press statement prosecutors pointed to "numerous failures" including "rapid analysis resulting in bad decisions" in the January 3, 2004 crash.

The evidence "does not allow for any other hypothesis than one attributable to the errors of the flight team," prosecutors said, adding the probe is now closed because the pilots died in the crash.

Victims' families were outraged by the prosecutors' decision over the probe into the crash that killed 134 French people.

"All the mistakes are on the pilots, who are no longer here. How handy!" said Claude Fouchard, president of the association of victims' families.

"However there are people out there who were at fault," he told AFP, singling out Flash Airlines "which flew lousy planes with inept, extremely tired crews." The airline was liquidated over 10 years ago, but its former president is still alive, said Jean-Pierre Bellecave, a lawyer for the families.

He noted the president could have at least been questioned in case.

"My clients are now asking: 'After all these years, who will take revenge for us.'" Experts investigating the crash pointed out in a 2009 report that the pilots aboard were inadequately trained and suffering from fatigue due to their intense working hours in the two weeks leading up to the accident.

Flash airlines did not even have the necessary flight manuals, the experts found.

France's aviation authority, the BEA, also blamed the pilot, a former military member, who suffered from "spatial disorientation."

The families hired their own experts who concluded in a June 2007 report that assigned blame to numerous players in the tragedy, including France's air traffic civil aviation authority DGAC for not grounding the airline's planes.

The investigating magistrate in the case has a month to decide if anyone will stand trial in the case.

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