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10.09.2019 Europe

France’s Macron says he will open files on mysterious 1968 air crash

By RFI
. Yoan Valat/Pool via REUTERS
SEP 10, 2019 EUROPE

The families of the victims of an Air France plane that mysteriously went down over the Mediterranean right before it was about to land said that French President Emmanuel Macron wrote them a letter, promising to open military records into the crash that killed all 95 aboard.

Many families, who are gathering to mark the 51st anniversary of the fatal crash in Nice, southern France, and Ajaccio, Corsica this week, believe the plane was downed by a missile during French military maneuvers in the area.

The accident occurred on 11 September, 1968 on a flight arriving from Ajaccio, Corsica, a French island.

Macron wrote to the president of the victims' association, Mathieu Paoli, that he "understands your search to uncover the truth," in a letter seen by Agence France Presse newswire. Paoli's parents were on the flight.

Paoli has long tried to prove that the French government covered up an accidental missile strike, and has testimony from a former military officer and others.

He and his brother also found a ship's log for the French Navy Suffren missile launcher ship that was in Nice waters at the time of the accident. The log book entry for 11 September 1968 had been ripped out.

Officially, the passengers and crew deaths were due to a fire on board that made the pilots lose control.

There has been some movement on looking in to this disaster -- an investigating judge asked for access to secret files in March 2018, saying that the theory of the missile launch needed to be taken very seriously.

The judge also asked Defence Minister Florence Parly to declassify documents if needed and said that the ministry was "pursuing its research to identify documents that might have been overlooked in previous investigations".

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