On June 3, 1962, an Air France charter flight from Paris to Atlanta crashed on takeoff from France’s Orly Field.
The crash, at the time the worst in aviation history, killed 130 people, 106 of them Atlanta arts patrons returning home from a tour of European capitals. Two flight attendants sitting in the rear of the Boeing 707 survived.
Retired WSB radio news director Aubrey Morris was called out of church that Sunday morning and delivered the tragic news to Atlanta, broadcasting the names of victims as they came over the teletype at Air France’s local office.
Of the 132 people on-board the Chateau de Sully, 129 died immediately. Two stewardesses lives were spared: they were in their seats in the tail section, which broke off before the plane struck the cottage, and walked away from the crash. A third stewardess, who had also been in the tail section died shortly after being rescued. Only the mid-air 1960 crash of a TWA Constellation and a United DC-8 over New York City had taken more lives (134)
Atlanta struggled to deal with the loss. Life came to a standstill as the Gateway City mourned its dead. The suits resulting from the accident were adjudicated in the U. S. Court system and represented the largest settlement from a single accident at the time. From the ashes of the Chateau de Sully rose a lasting memorial to the men and women who died on the aircraft. The people of the city of Atlanta gave the Woodruff Arts Center in memory of their fallen comrades.
A chartered Air France Boeing 707 headed for Atlanta, Georgia, has crashed on take-off at Orly Airport in Paris, killing 130 people on board.
It is the worst ever recorded air disaster involving one aircraft.
Miraculously, two of the 10 crew survived. The air stewardesses, who had been sitting at the rear of the plane, escaped with minor injuries.
Three hours after the disaster another steward was found alive in the wreckage but he died later in hospital.