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Cause of Paris Plane Crash a Mystery

June 3, 1962 - The destruction of an Air France Boeing 707 jet today at Orly Airport took place in bright sunlight and with barely a cloud in the sky. The jetliner began to roll down the long runway at 12:25 p.m. According to eyewitnesses, the plane gathered runway speed quickly. As it reached the speed at which it should have become airborne, it rose about six feet and then faltered. The jet settled to the runway, and there is evidence in marks on the runway that the pilot tried to brake the 140-ton craft. His efforts were in vain. The plane careened crazily as it ate up the remaining yardage to the end of the runway. It smashed some lights on one side of the runway, the right wing grazed to the ground, and parts of the plane began breaking away. The jetliner then crashed through a wooden fence and raced into an open field at the edge of the airfield. As the landing gear broke away and the engines scraped the earth, flames burst out at the front. Two muffled explosions were reported as the jet fuel — 20,000 gallons of it — took fire. The flames roared high as the plane disintegrated against the side of a low, wooded hill.

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