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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
'Fresh cracks' at Paris airport
Rescuers and the wreckage of a Paris Charles de Gaulle airport building
The cause of the collapse is not known
Fresh cracking sounds were reported at Paris' Charles de Gaulle-Roissy airport on Monday, a day after a roof collapse in a new terminal killed four people.

Workers were moved to safety after the noises were heard in the glass roof.

The evacuation came as technical investigators prepared to start their probe into how the tragedy happened.

A section of roofing crashed onto a departure lounge, sending the entire section of the building plunging onto service vehicles below.

Rescuers revised the death toll down from five after confusion over remains found at the scene.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin promised a full investigation.

"The authorities have been mobilised," he said at the scene of the tragedy on Monday morning.

"Obviously we are thinking of the families of the victims and we are very attentive to any inquiry which allows us to find out the truth about this accident."

'Nothing revolutionary'

The head of the rescue team, Colonel Frederic Monard, said specialists with sniffer dogs would make a final round of the site on Monday to check that nothing had been missed.


"We hope we won't have to find any more victims," he told AFP news agency.

He explained that on Sunday the dogs had identified human remains in five different locations, hence the initial reports that five people had died.

Three other people were slightly injured.

The Chinese government said two of the dead were Chinese travellers.

Having just passed by the area where the roof collapsed, hours before, I am shocked and relieved I was not involved in the carnage
Michael, Edinburgh

AFP said a Czech woman was also identified among the dead, but the nationality of the other victim is still not known.

The building had been opened for less than a year, but the project's architect said he would not speculate on possible causes.

Paul Andreu, who is currently working on a new National Theatre in the Chinese capital, Beijing, said he would fly back to France at once.

"On my return, I will place myself at the disposal of the French airport authorities," he said on Sunday.

He added that the concrete, glass and metal structure was "nothing revolutionary".

Crushed

The accident happened early on Sunday morning, when there were few passengers in the building.

The victims were crushed beneath slabs of concrete, metal and glass which fell from the roof of the departure lounge in terminal 2E.

TERMINAL 2E
Opened in June 2003
Cost: 750m euros (500m)
Floor space: 104,000 sq m
Capacity: six million passengers a year
Made from reinforced concrete and 36,000 sq m of glass
Plane parking gates: 10

It was 0700 (0500 GMT) and flights from New York and Johannesburg had just arrived at the terminal. A flight to Prague was due to depart.

An investigation is likely to focus on whether there was a fault in the design of the ultra-modern building, or whether short cuts had been taken when it was built.

Investigators have raised the possibility of bringing charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Terrorism has been ruled out as a possible cause.

Terminal 2E cost 750m euros (500m) to build and was opened in June 2003 after delays caused by security concerns and trade union accusations that construction was being rushed.

The building is used by Air France and the Sky Team alliance.

Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield says the terminal was a key part of the strategy to turn Paris into Europe's leading airport hub.

That vision has now been dealt a grievous blow, he says.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"All this has come as a huge blow to French pride"



SEE ALSO:
Profile: Paul Andreu
24 May 04  |  Europe
Paris airport roof collapse: Your reaction
24 May 04  |  Have Your Say
Sharp rise in global air traffic
03 May 04  |  Business


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