BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports from Paris
"The Concorde appears to have been a victim of circumstance"
 real 56k

Friday, 4 August, 2000, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Fresh clue to Concorde crash
Air France Concorde
Air France Concordes have not flown since the crash
Air accident investigators in Paris say they have found a 40cm (16 inch) strip of metal which did not come from the doomed Air France Concorde among the crash debris.

France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) said one shred of tyre from the Concorde had a "substantial cut" in it, which gives rise to speculation that that the metal strip might have caused the puncture which led to the disaster.

Concorde debris
Investigators are continuing to sift the debris

The BEA also said it was now beyond doubt that the fire seen blazing from the Concorde as it took off did not start in the engines.

Flight AF4590 ploughed into a hotel in the town of Gonesse on the outskirts of Paris, just minutes after taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport on 25 July, killing all 109 people on board, as well as four on the ground.

One tyre

The BEA also said that the pieces of tyre debris found on the runway appeared to have all come from the front inside tyre on the plane's left undercarriage.

There had earlier been speculation that two tyres burst during take-off.

"We have a certain number of new pieces to add to the puzzle, but we are not in a position to interpret them or make any hypotheses," said a BEA source.

Debris from the Concorde's wheel, landing gear water deflector, a valve cover and fuel tank have also been recovered, said the report.

However, no parts from the engines themselves have been found on the runway.

The French Government has grounded Air France's five remaining Concordes until investigators have determined the cause of the crash.

French Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot has said additional safety measures have to be put in place before Air France's Concordes can resume flights.

Mechanics' appeal

A group of Air France employees have appealed to the airline to organise a special flight to demonstrate confidence in the plane.

BA Concorde
BA Concordes are still flying scheduled services
Gilles Belliard, spokesman for the National Union of Civil Aviation Mechanics, said he hoped such a flight - to be staffed by Air France volunteers - would show there was no need to suspend the company's Concorde operation.

"There is no reason to keep it on the ground," said Mr Belliard.

"We don't understand the ministry's decision."

British Airways' Concordes have been flying, despite the Paris crash.

"There is no reason for British Airways to continue and for us not to continue," Mr Belliard said.

However, France's National Union of Air Pilots has said it supports the French flight ban for safety reasons.

French daily Le Figaro reported on Friday that the suspension of Concorde flights had not caused Air France a significant loss in income, because the supersonic jet only accounts for 1%-2% of the company's revenue.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash

INTERACTIVE GUIDE

TALKING POINT

FORUM

FROM THE ARCHIVE

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

03 Aug 00 | Europe
Concorde flight ban remains
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories