Transcribed from Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene, OR, June 23, 1962, p1:
Experts Probe Plane Disaster
Toll Reaches 113
By HORST BUCHHOLZ
Of the Associated Press
POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe — French and American aviation experts converged today on a scorched swatch of tropical rain jungle where an Air France Boeing 707 jetliner crashed in a raging thunderstorm after reporting landing gear trouble. All 113 persons aboard were killed.
Police blocked off the crash scene until representatives of the U. S. Civil Aeronautics Board and Federal Aviation Agency teamed with French air experts from Paris to inspect wreckage of the second worst single-plane disaster in commercial aviation history.
The four-engine airliner smashed into a hill and burst into flames on this French Caribbean island early Friday shortly after winging over Pointe-A-Pitre’s Raizet Airfield in the start of a landing approach after a flight from Paris.
Minutes later, the control tower radar lost contact at about the same time explosions in the distance were noted. The explosions were taken by some as thunder.
But after daylight searchers spotted the wreckage on Mule’s Back Hill 18 miles from the field.
The plane slammed into the hill about 500 feet below its 2,000-foot crest, off the usual landing approach pattern. The pilot of another Air France liner here blamed the crash on the thunderstorm, saying, “the ceiling was very low.”
The fiery crash scattered wreckage over more than a mile of the thick undergrowth.
The Air France office in Paris again revised the figure Saturday, to 113 dead. A recheck of the Friday turned up an additional passenger, making the total passenger list 103, an airline spokesman said, along with the 10 crew members.
This toll in a single-plane crash was exceeded only by the crash of another Air France Boeing 707 jet early this month which killed 130 persons, including 121 Americans.
The big Boeing jetliners have been involved in five commercial airline crashes killing a total of 303 persons in the past 17 months.