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Settlement deal for Concorde bereaved

All remaining Concordes have been grounded since last year's crash  

PARIS, France (CNN) -- A group of insurance companies has reached settlements with relatives of 92 of the people killed in last year's Concorde tragedy.

Fernand Garnault, an attorney for the insurers, said the agreement involves 700 relatives of the dead, although the parties had committed not to reveal the sums involved.

The families of four other passengers have filed suit against Air France.

A total of 113 people -- 100 passengers, nine crew and four on the ground -- were killed in the July 25 crash, moments after the supersonic jet took off from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Investigators have been looking at whether a piece of metal on the runway set off the tragic series of events, with a punctured tyre causing debris to puncture the plane's fuel tanks.

On Sunday, German lawyer Gerhart Baum, part of a team that says it represents 75 victims' families, said the overall deal was based on the amount that could have been expected under U.S. damages claims.

"In that way the German relatives will now be paid damages to a level not known before," he said.

"Payments of damages are expected in June 2001."

Air France's insurers have said in the past their offer comes close to an overall settlement of around $150 million.

News of the deal comes as tests and modifications on the supersonic jets continues to enable them to take to the skies as a commercial operation again.

After the crash, certification allowing the 12 existing Concordes to fly was withdrawn and the jets, operated by Air France and British Airways, grounded until safety could be assured.

The results of the latest tests have been described as positive, and French Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot has said that, depending on a number of further trials, the planes could resume service later this year.

Investigators hope the tests will help determine the precise cause of the crash.

Concorde tests new tyres
April 18, 2001
Concorde compensation deal agreed
April 6, 2001
Concorde test pilot dies
March 25, 2001
Concorde completes safety tests
February 2, 2001
Concorde flies again
January 18, 2001
History of the supersonic airliner
April 18, 2001

Air France
British Airways

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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