Another Hedgehog Makes Its Mark
From correspondents in Paris
February 03, 2005
A DEAD hedgehog that created an airport mishap involving an Air France passenger plane nearly seven years ago has cost the French government more than €3 million ($5.06 million) in a court ruling.
On March 22, 1998, the hedgehog's carcass lying at the end of a runway at the Marseille airport attracted about 20 seagulls which were picking at it, oblivious to the Air France Airbus A320 roaring toward them about to lift off.
The plane's right engine sucked in the birds, destroying it and forcing the pilot to abort the takeoff.
In its judgement, a Marseille court ruled the French government responsible for keeping runways clear of such perils and that its staff at the airport should have noticed "such a large group of birds" in the path of the jet.
It ordered the government to pay $1.4 million to Air France, and $3.9 million to five insurance companies.
Even in death, the Hedgehog does the right thing by sticking it to France! It was a risky move, though, innocent lives could have been lost.