After more than 4 years of investigations, the penal procedure in connection with the cable car accident that hit the Plateau de Bure Observatory on July 1st, 1999 and tragically took the lives of 20 people, had finally been scheduled for the period November 12th to November 28th, 2003 in the Court in Gap. A total of 9 parties have been put on trial, 5 individuals, including two former IRAM employees and 4 legal entities, the CNRS and IRAM as well as APAVE and CRAM ("caisse regional d'assurance maladie") as controlling organisations.
The accident itself was caused by a failure in the cable attachment system, which was supposed to be self-blocking and maintenance free. This failure caused the cable car to slide backwards just before reaching the Plateau, derail and crash.
This kind of failure was never anticipated; several elements have probably contributed to it. Which ones exactly have a direct or indirect causal relationship with the accident is a matter of debate, as are the responsibilities and legal consequences. This is for the Court to judge.
The President of the Court will announce his decision on February 26th, 2004.
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