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2000: Concorde crash kills 113
Concorde has crashed just minutes after take-off, killing all 109 people on board and four people on the ground.

The Air France jet, bound for New York, crashed into a Relais Bleu hotel in the town of Gonesse, 10 miles north of Paris just before 1700 local time (1500 GMT).

It is understood the aircraft, which had taken off from Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport just two minutes earlier, plummeted to the ground after one of the left-hand engines caught fire on take-off.

There were 100 passengers on board, most were German tourists but also included two Danes, an Austrian and an American, all travelling to JFK airport in New York where they were due to join a cruise ship bound for Equador.

Huge fireball

The aircraft had been chartered by German tour operator Deillman.

Eye-witnesses reported seeing a "huge fireball" followed by a dense cloud of black smoke after the plane hit the ground.

Within minutes of the crash emergency services were on the scene searching through the rubble for survivors.

French prime minister, Lionel Jospin, has flown directly to the scene and the German transport minister is on his way.

Flight AF4590 is the first Concorde in the aircraft's 31-year history to crash.

This particular aircraft, one of a fleet of six owned by Air France, which has been in service since 1980 was inspected four days ago and threw up no problems.

The accident comes just a day after BA revealed that hairline cracks had been found in the wings of all seven of its Concordes.

All Air France Concordes have been suspended and an investigation into the accident has been launched. Investigators are on the scene trying to locate the aircraft's black box.

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Watch/Listen
The crash scene
Concorde crashed just two minutes after take-off

Fires from the plane crash burns for hours


In Context
Following the accident all Concorde planes were taken out of service.

A total of 17m was spent on safety improvements and the aircraft went back into commercial service in November 2001.

In January 2002 France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) published its report into the accident.

The 400-page report confirmed that a 16in (40cm) piece of metal lost by a plane that had taken off five minutes earlier punctured one of the Concorde's tyres.

This caused debris to be flung into the fuel tank which subsequently started a catastrophic fire.

As part of the safety improvements the supersonic plane's fuel tanks were fitted with bullet-proof Kevlar rubber linings, tougher tyres were introduced and a strengthening of the wiring in the undercarriage bay was undertaken.

However, the aircraft has been dogged by a series of problems since the accident and on 10 April 2003, BA and Air France announced the aircraft would be taken out of service for good by the end of October 2003. Concorde's last commercial flight was on 23 October 2003.

Safety problems since the 2000 crash
27 Nov 02: Part of tail rudder falls off
6 Nov 02: Engine fails, sparking panic
3 Nov 02: Plane turns round after engine failure
30 Oct 02: Speed cut after window cracks spotted
July 02: Turnaround after engine power surge
April 02: Engine failure causes mid-air 'bang'
March 02: Take-off abandoned after computer glitch
Nov 01:Flight aborted over engine reheats
All planes which flew landed safely
Stories From 25 Jul


 
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