PARIS (Reuters) — Debris not belonging to Air France's doomed Concorde was found on the runaway after the supersonic airliner took off in flames last week, France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) said Friday.
In its most thorough statement to date on the July 25 disaster, the BEA said it was now certain the fire seen trailing from the back of the Concorde as it left Paris' Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport did not start in the engines.
It said investigators had found on the runway a 16 inch long "thin metal strip" that did not come from the airliner. The BEA said one shred of tire from the Concorde had a "substantial cut" in it, but did not elaborate.
Media speculation has focused on the possibility that one of the Concorde's wheels burst as the plane hurtled down the tarmac, causing debris to puncture a fuel tank. The crash killed all 109 people aboard the plane and four people on the ground.
The BEA said investigators had recovered debris on the runway from a Concorde wheel, a water deflector, a valve cover and a fuel tank. No debris from the engines was found, it said.