Air France Flight 212 was a passenger flight operated by a Boeing 707, registration F-BHSZ, that crashed on 3 December 1969. None of the 62 people on board survived.
|Date||December 3, 1969|
|Site||near Caracas, Venezuela|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 707-328B|
|Flight origin||Caracas International Airport|
|Destination||Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport|
On 3 December 1969, Flight 212, which originated from Santiago International Airport, was flying to Paris, France via Lima, Peru; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Bogota, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe; and Lisbon, Portugal. The aircraft took off on the Caracas – Pointe-à-Pitre leg from Caracas airport's runway 08R at 19:02 local time (23:02 UTC). One minute after takeoff from Caracas, at approximately 3,000 feet (910 m),[note 1] the aircraft plunged into the sea and sank in 160 feet of water.
The causes of the disaster remain unknown because the French Bureau of Investigations et Accidents (BEA) did not publish an investigation report. Documents relating to the BEA investigation are classified in the French national archives as 19880360/49 and 19880360/50, and will not be released until 2029, sixty years after the accident. However, in July 2017, several pilot unions (ALTER, SNGAF, SNOMAC, SNPL Air France ALPA, SNPNC, SPAF, UNAC, PNC UNSA) requested the files be declassified early.
Various conspiracy theories about the crash have arisen: maneuvers to avoid colliding with a nearby Avro 748 followed by a loss of control, bombing, spatial disorientation, in-flight-fire, engine failure, and/or fuel contamination. Documents classified "defense secret" from the BEA and the Paris Police Prefecture would investigate the probability of a bomb-related explosion on board the aircraft. If any of these were confirmed, this accident would be the first act of terrorism against French civilian aeronautics, and one of the first airliner attacks in the world..
All 62 people on board were killed, including:
- 11 crew members (4 flight crew + 7 flight attendants) ;
- 51 passengers, including 10 crew members deadheading (4 flight crew + 6 flight attendants).
- ^ Some early newspaper reports incorrectly stated the altitude as 33,000 feet (10,000 m)
- ^ a b c "Lever le secret sur le crash du vol AF212" [Lift the secret on the AF 212 flight crash]. Aerobuzz (in French). 7 July 2017..
- ^ a b "Photocopie des courriers du BEA et du Laboratoire de la Préfecture de Police de Paris sur l'accident du F-BHSZ" [Photocopy of letters from the BEA and the Paris Police Prefecture Laboratory on the F-BHSZ accident]. webeugene.net (in French)..
- ^ a b c ASN n.d.
- ^ a b AP 1969.
- ^ a b CAA 1974, p. 23/69.
- ^ "Crash du vol AF 212 : plusieurs syndicats de l'aérien demandent la déclassification du dossier" [Flight accident AF 212: several air unions request the declassification of the file]. TourMag (in French). 7 July 2017..
- "ASN Aircraft Accident Boeing 707-328B F-BHSZ Caracas Simon Bolivar Airport (CCS)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- World Airline Accident Summary. Civil Aviation Authority (United Kingdom). 1974. ISBN 0-903083-44-2.
- "62 Dies as Jet Falls 6 Miles into Ocean: Air France Craft Lost at Caracas", Youngstown Vindicator, Associated Press, vol. 81, no. 95, p. 1, 4 December 1969