A Fokker 100 flown by Air France subsidiary Régional Compagnie Aérienne Européenne crashed immediately after takeoff on January 25 in Pau, southwest France. All four crewmembers and 50 passengers in the 100-seat jet evacuated safely, but one person on the ground was killed. The accident occurred at 11:28 a.m. local time, as the aircraft was departing for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
According to French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) investigators, the aircraft accelerated normally until rotation speed. Immediately after takeoff, it rolled quickly to the left, then to the right and to the left again. Losing altitude, it hit the ground and bounced at 160 knots. The crew reduced engine thrust. The Fokker landed and crossed a nearby road, colliding with a truck and killing the driver before coming to rest in a field. The airframe suffered major damage, including separation of the main landing gear.
French civil aviation authorities initially suggested bird ingestion as the likely cause. However, six days later, the BEA said that the engines lost no thrust during flight before crew action. A Pau airport official said the runway was clear of any contamination such as snow. At press time there was no official word about whether wing contamination with ice or frost might have played a role in the accident.