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1974: Turkish jet crashes killing 345
A Turkish Airlines DC10 has crashed near Paris killing all 345 people on board.

The plane was on a regular flight from Ankara to London via Paris. It came down just minutes after take-off at 1235 GMT, scything a mile-long trail through the forest of Ermenonville.

Among the victims were 200 passengers, many of them British, who had been transferred from British Airways flights cancelled because of a strike by engineers at London airport.

No-one was killed on the ground, although the forest is popular with walkers.

Only blackened stumps of trees remained where the pilot had probably attempted a crash landing. Bits of clothing and other wreckage from the plane were strewn across the whole area.

No-one to rescue

Hundreds of rescue workers, from the Red Cross, Protection Civile as well as fire and ambulance crews, were on the scene within half an hour.

But there was no-one to be rescued. All that remained to be done was to collect the bodies and take them to the church of St Pierre at Senlis.

From there, soldiers transferred the bodies onto army vehicles during the night to be driven to the medical centre in Paris, where they will be examined by forensic scientists.

Eyewitnesses in the nearby village of St Pathu said they heard an explosion and saw flames coming from the plane long before it plunged into the forest.

Some bodies were found close to the village, about six miles from the crash site, which also suggests the plane may have exploded in mid-air.

Crash investigators looking for clues to the world's worst air disaster to date will start by studying the jet's engines. They are also looking for the black box flight recorder.

The possibility of sabotage has not been discounted.

Among the victims were 17 members of Bury St Edmunds rugby club, returning from a trip to Paris.

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Watch/Listen
Remains of crash victims are carried away on a stretcher
Rescue workers soon arrived at the crash site - but there was no-one to rescue

Aftermath of the Turkish Airlines jet crash


In Context
British trade union leader James Conway, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, an Olympic silver medallist and four leading London models were among those killed in the crash. The final death toll was 346.

The Paris crash was the worst in aviation history up to this date and the first involving a fully-loaded wide-bodied jet since they had entered passenger service four years before.

The accident was probably caused by a cargo door coming open during the flight, leading to a sudden loss of pressure inside the cabin and causing part of the flooring to collapse which damaged the controls and made it impossible for the crew to regain control.

An almost identical accident had happened in June 1972 when a DC10 lost its rear cargo door, causing the floor to buckle and jam some of the controls. Safety recommendations made following that crash had not been implemented.

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