July 25, 2000. The legendary Air France plane, the Concorde, crashed minutes after takeoff near Paris. Flight 4590 was supposed to fly from Charles de Gaulle International Airport, near Paris, to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Five minutes before the Concorde’s takeoff, a metal strip from a Continental Airlines plane leaving for Newark, New Jersey, had fallen on the runway. During Concorde’s takeoff, the metal piece ruptured one of the tires of the plane and a large chunk of the tire debris struck the underside of the aircraft wing, which was going at an estimated speed of 140 metres per second. This resulted in a shock wave which punctured the number five fuel tank. Ignited leaking fuel caused a large fire and at this point it was too late to safely abort the takeoff. With only three remaining engines, the Concorde was unable to accelerate or climb during the takeoff and the port wing began to disintegrate due to the fire. The crew lost control of the aircraft, which crashed in the Hôtelissimo Les Relais Bleus Hotel near the airport. All 109 passengers and crew perished as well as four people on the ground. This event marked the beginning of the end for Concorde as an airline, which was retired three years later.
Also on July 25: Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar co-ruler (285); Henry IV of France publicly converts from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism (1593), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completes his Symphony No. 40 in G minor (1788) ; General Henri Guisan orders the Swiss Army to resist German invasion and makes surrender illegal (1940); Benito Mussolini is forced out of office by his own Italian Grand Council and is replaced by Pietro Badoglio during World War II (1943); The Republic of Tunisia is proclaimed (1957); In a speech John F. Kennedy emphasises that any attack on Berlin is an attack on NATO (1961); Bob Dylan goes electric as he plugs in at the Newport Folk Festival, marking a major change in folk and rock music (1965); Louise Brown is born, she is the first “test tube baby” (1978); Israel launches a massive attack against Lebanon, named Operation Accountability by the Israelis and the Seven-Day War by the Lebanese (1993).
Born on July 25: Pieter Langendijk (1683), Francis Garnier (1839), Arthur Balfour (1848), Jim Corbett (1875), Jim McCarty (1943), Daniel W. Bursh (1957), Matt LeBlanc (1967), Louise Brown (1978), Michael Welch (1987).