The French Polynesia Court of Appeal has confirmed the prison sentences of three former executives and one other employee of Air Moorea (Papeete) for the deaths of the 20 occupants of a DHC-6-300, F-OIQI (msn 608), that crashed shortly after takeoff from Moorea on August 9, 2007, the AFP news agency has reported.

The court considered on January 23 that loss of control due to the deterioration and eventual snapping of a pitch control cable killed the 19 passengers and one pilot. Five of the bodies have never been found. Multiple failures in the maintenance and monitoring of the aircraft were to blame, the court found.

With flights typically lasting just seven minutes, the route between Moorea and Tahiti Papeete is one of the shortest in the world and operated 40 to 50 times a day at the time of the accident. The frequent takeoffs and landings are believed to have been a major factor in the crash of the 28-year-old aircraft.

The former general director of Air Moorea, Freddy Chanseau, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, 18 of which were suspended. The airline itself, which ceased operations in 2010 and merged into Air Tahiti subsidiary Air Archipels (RHL, Papeete) the following year, was subjected to a fine of around EUR200,000 euros (USD220,000).

The airline's former technical director, Jacques Gobin, was given a three-year prison sentence of which two years were suspended. The former head of the French Polynesian government's air safety unit, Andriamanonjisoa Ratzymbasafy, was given a three-year prison sentence, 18 months of which were suspended.

One more Air Moorea employee was sentenced, while two others were acquitted on appeal. The lawyer for the company and Chanseau pledged to appeal once more, this time at the Court of Cassation in Paris.