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Air France Concorde Crash Kills 113Aired July 25, 2000 - 3:30 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The death toll from today's Air France Concorde crash now stands at 113 people: 100 passengers, nine crew members, and four people killed on the ground. The jet was taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris carrying tourists on a charter flight to New York -- all of them Germans -- except Air France USA announced from New York just moments ago that one of the passengers on board was American.
Air France says the fire broke out in an engine. The Concorde crashed into a building believed to be a hotel restaurant. And everybody aboard the plane was killed. Air France says most of the passengers were German. There were also two Danes and that American I mentioned on board. Clouds of black smoke could be seen for miles.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was leaving work at the airport. On the runway, I saw the Concorde leaving from New York and taking off. Usually, it makes a lot of noise, but then, there was even more noise. I looked. The engine had exploded and taken fire. There was fire that started, and a lot of smoke over practically the entire runway. It was on fire. It still took off by taking more speed. And after that, it crashed 20 seconds on the hotel restaurant behind.
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WATERS: The victims are said to include three children. It was the first crash ever of a supersonic airliner. This is one of the first pictures taken of the plane just before the fireball. You can see there, the flame pouring from the rear of the aircraft. Flight 4590 had just taken off, as I mentioned, from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris when it went down. It was heading to New York, where it was supposed to arrive at 2:21 this afternoon Eastern time.
The passengers were to spend two days in New York. That is where a cruise ship was waiting for them. It is called the MS Deutschland. It was scheduled to leave Thursday afternoon to take the German tourists through the Caribbean and eventually onto Ecuador. The plane that crashed today was one of 13 Concordes in the commercial airline service. The Concorde is the world's only supersonic passenger aircraft, built as an Anglo-French project.
The airliners have made transatlantic flights for Air France British Airways for decades. The Concorde is a four-engine plane with a passenger capacity of 100. It is 204 feet, six inches long, has a wingspan of 84 feet, nine inches. It requires three crew members in the cockpit, and made its first flight on March 2nd of 1969. The Concorde's distinctive triangular delta wing shape is necessary to reach supersonic speed.
And today, both France and England announced their supersonic Concorde fleets have been grounded. Stay with CNN throughout the day. We'll keep you posted on this crash of the Air France Concorde.
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