A Continental Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10 lost a titanium part, about 30 centimetres (12 in) wide and 43 centimetres (17 in) long, during a takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport. During the Concorde's subsequent take-off run, this piece of debris, still lying on the runway, ruptured a tire which then burst. A large chunk of this (4.5 kilograms or 9.9 lb) struck the underside of the aircraft's wing structure at well over 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph). Although it did not directly puncture any of the fuel tanks, it sent out a pressure shockwave that eventually ruptured the number five fuel tank at the weakest point, just above the landing gear. Leaking fuel rushing over the top of the wing was ignited by an electric arc in the landing gear bay or through contact with severed electrical cables. At the point of ignition, engines one and two both surged and lost all power, but slowly recovered over the next few seconds. A large plume of flame developed; the Flight Engineer then shut down engine two, in response to a fire warning and the Captain's command.
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