July 25, 2014

On this day in history...

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 photo Concorde1.jpg On July 25, 2000, Air France's Concorde took off from the Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris. It was headed for New York City and carried 100 passengers, mostly Germans who were headed to New York to board a ship bound for Ecuador.

On the runway, the Concorde ran over a piece of debris that had been shed from another departing jet. The debris cut through a tire, which started
a shockwave that ruptured the fuel tank. The Concorde immediately  burst into flames.

The cockpit voice recorder picked up the following:

Co-pilot: "Le Bourget, Le Bourget, Le Bourget."

Pilot: "Too late (unclear)."
 photo Concorde2.jpg

Control tower: "Fire service leader, correction, the Concorde is returning to runway zero nine in the opposite direction."

Pilot: "No time, no (unclear)."

Co-pilot: "Negative, we're trying Le Bourget" (four switching sounds).

Co-pilot: "No (unclear)."

And that was it, except for the massive clean-up and the subsequent lawsuits. All one hundred passengers were killed, as well as nine flight crew members. Four people killed on the ground brought the death toll to 113 people dead in the crash of the Concorde.

The Concorde flew again, but the accident crippled the endeavor and the sheer cost of the jet made it untenable. In 2003, the Concorde was retired.

Below is the crash scene, click on it to view full-sized.

There's also a short, haunting video on YouTube that shows the crash in progress. Click here to view it.