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The BBC's Paul Anderson
"Investigators believe as Concorde took off, a metal object tore into an inside tyre"
 real 56k

Monday, 4 September, 2000, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
US plane linked to Concorde crash
Air France Concorde, on fire during take-off
The Air France Concorde was on fire during take-off
Concorde crash investigators in France are probing the possibility that a metal strip that burst the aircraft's tyres may have come from another aircraft.

US-based Continental Airline has said that one of its DC-10 aircrafts was missing a metal piece similar to the one found on runway at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.

Metal strip
Investigators believe this piece of metal began the trouble
The DC-10 had passed through the airport on 25 July, shortly before the New York-bound Concorde plunged into a hotel killing 113 people.

Investigators of France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) said the 43 cm (17 inch) metal piece fitted the shape of a cut in one of the tyres.

The investigators believe that shreds of a split tyre could have set off a fire on the aircraft by piercing a fuel tank or damaging one of its engines.

The aircraft was travelling at 315km an hour (195mph) when the tyre burst.

Preliminary report

The BEA released its preliminary report into the fatal crash last week.

The report stresses that the destruction of a forward tyre on the plane's left landing gear - probably torn by the metal strip - set of a chain of events that brought the plane down.

British and French air safety authorities suspended the plane's airworthiness certificates in August.

British Airways Concorde
France and Britain have grounded Concordes
The two nations have said the 12 remaining Concordes will remain grounded until the risk stemming from tyre blowouts is addressed.

The report also contained a chilling transcript of the conversation in the plane's cockpit, which shows the crew were unaware of the engine fire which was to bring the plane down until alerted by the control tower.

Last words

The jet tried to gain speed for an emergency landing, but pilot Christian Marty was heard to say: "Too late... no time."

As the crew apparently tried to steer the plane towards the nearby Le Bourget airport, the final words from the plane came from the co-pilot: "Negative, we're trying Le Bourg...".

Communication between the control tower and the plane was then lost.

At 1645, the control tower announced: "The Concorde has crashed near Le Bourget..."

A minute later it issued this general message: "For all planes listening, I'll get back to you in a minute. We're going to pull ourselves together and restart take-offs."

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See also:

01 Sep 00 | Europe
Questions over Concorde runway
01 Sep 00 | Europe
Concorde's future in doubt
10 Aug 00 | Europe
Metal strip 'burst' Concorde tyre
04 Aug 00 | Europe
Fresh clue to Concorde crash
03 Aug 00 | Europe
Concorde flight ban remains
09 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
Concorde tests found 'engine risks'
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