French Alps crash site saw another air disaster 50 years ago

25th March 2015, Comments 0 comments

Tuesday's air disaster was not the first crash seen at the tiny ski resort of Barcelonette in the French Alps: half a century ago, an Air France plane to Vietnam crashed in the same spot.

The crash took place on September 1, 1953, around 16 kilometres (10 miles) from Barcelonnette, killing 42 people on board.

It came down not far from the wreckage of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed on Tuesday, leaving 150 dead.

The Air France plane was on a night-time flight from Paris to Saigon when it clipped a mountain and crashed into a rocky crevice just before midnight.

The pilot was in touch with air traffic control in Aix-en-Provence just five minutes before the accident to request a rise in altitude to 13,500 feet, and did not raise any alarm.

It was a postman from a nearby village who raised the alert after seeing the plane crash into Mount Cemet just before midnight and burst into flames.

Among the victims was a celebrated French violinist, Jacques Thibaud.

© 2015 AFP

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