Concorde leaving Paris (DeGaul Airport) on its way to New York exploded over a hotel in Paris this morning. There were 109 people were on the plane, 100 of which were part of a German tour group which had specially chartered the plane (the remaining 9 were flight and cabin crew). There were no survivors. There was an explosion in one of the engines. The plane crashed next to the hotel which was located right outside Paris. A large group of the planes had been grounded by British authorities because of cracks in the wing. All of the Concordes were set to be retired in 2007.

The BEA yesterday released this official transcript of the conversation between the crew and the control tower in the fateful moments as the aircraft hurtled down the runway.

2.40 p.m.
Control tower: Flight 4590, line up 26 right.

Concorde crew: We are lining up and maintaining 26 right, 4590.

2.42 p.m. and 17 seconds
Control tower: 4590, runway 26 right, wind 0 90 8 knots, you have permission to take off.

Concorde crew: 4590 taking off 26 right.

2.43 p.m. and 13 seconds
Control tower: 4590, you have flames . . . you have flames behind you.

2.43 p.m. and 28 seconds A voice is heard but its origin has not been identified.

It says: It's really burning and I'm not sure that it's coming from the engine.

2.43 p.m. and 31 seconds
Control tower: 4590, you have strong flames behind you . . . At your own convenience you have priority to return to the ground.

2.44 p.m. and 5 seconds
Control tower: Lead fireman, the Concorde is uh . . . I don't know what it is intending to do, get yourselves into position near the south doublet. Lead fireman, correction, the Concorde is returning to runway 09 in the wrong direction.

Concorde crew: Negative, we're trying the Bourg . . . (breaks off - presumed to refer to Le Bourget airport on the outskirts of Paris).

2.45 p.m. and 10 seconds
Control tower to lead fireman: The Concorde has crashed near Le Bourget, lead fireman.

2.46 p.m. and 9 seconds
Control tower: Attention all planes who are listening, I remind you that in a moment we are going to pull ourselves together and we are going to resume take-offs.

(AFP)

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