Secret files could solve Air France crash mystery
February 12, 2021 - President Macron has ordered the release of secret documents linked to a mysterious crash of an Air France passenger plane that plunged into the Mediterranean 50 years ago, killing all 95 people aboard.
Many relatives have long suspected the Air France flight 1611 en route from Ajaccio on the island of Corsica to Nice was downed by a missile on Sept 11, 1968, during French military exercises in the area.
The official version blamed a fire on board that prompted pilots to lose control.
On May 10, 2011, Michel Laty, a former army secretary, alleged on French TV channel TF1 that the he saw a report indicating a missile, misfired by the French army during a weapon test, in fact caused the crash.
In 2019, The Guardian newspaper reported that, after the crash, documents and photographs about it disappeared.
Mathieu Paoli, president of the victims' association, has long sought to prove the authorities covered up a missile strike, citing claims from an ex-military officer and others.
Paoli found that the September 11 page in the logbook for the French Navy missile frigate Le Suffren, which was in the waters near Nice at the time, had been torn out.
On March 9, President Emmanual Macron announced the declassification of pre-1970 archives covering the Algerian War (1954-62) and other files previously deemed to contain state secrets.
The declassification, which has to be drawn up into legislation expected to be passed before the summer, could also shed light on the fate of AF1611.
The crash remains the deadliest aviation incident in the Mediterranean Sea.