Forensic experts identify remains of all 113 Concorde victims

PONTOISE, France - Forensic experts on Monday finished identifying the remains of all 113 victims of the Concorde crash, nearly two weeks after the supersonic jet plunged to the ground in a town outside Paris, a French public prosecutor said.

Prosecutor Xavier Salvat also said he ordered experts to evaluate the jet's tires, motors, tanks and other important features as part of the ongoing judicial inquiry into the July 25 crash.

Salvat, the prosecutor in Pontoise, north of Paris, who is in charge of the judicial inquiry, said investigators still had not pinpointed the chain of events that led the delta-winged jetliner, streaming with flames, to plunge into a small hotel in Gonesse north of Paris shortly after takeoff. Four people on the ground and all 109 people in the plane were killed.

The French government has grounded the five remaining Air France Concordes while the inquiry continues.

On Monday, France's civil aviation ground mechanics called for the government to rethink its move to freeze Concorde flights, while the mayor of the town where the plane crashed underlined his support for the decision.

The national union of civil aviation ground mechanics, known by its French initials SNMSAC, released a statement demanding a ''rapid lifting'' of the grounding order, saying the Concorde itself should not be called into question.

Meanwhile, Gonesse Mayor Jean-Pierre Blazy sent a letter to Air France President Jean-Cyril Spinetta underlining his support for the supersonic jet's grounding and threatening to push on with stronger demands.

British Airways has continued to fly its fleet of Concordes.

There has been speculation in the French press that a 16-inch strip of metal found on the runway - and not belonging to the Concorde - could have been at the origin of the crash.

On Friday, the Accident and Inquiry Office reported the discovery of the metal strip without further comment. In their statement, the civil aviation ground mechanics questioned why officials revealed this news nearly two weeks after the accident.


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