Clashes, Plane Crash Overshadow Real Madrid Victory Party

Published May 25th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Real Madrid's victory party was again overshadowed when a plane carrying at least 150 people, mainly Real Madrid supporters, crashed with a cargo plane on a runway at Paris' Charles-de-Gaulle airport, killing a pilot. 

The new champions of European football were to return home Thursday to find a city recovering from a pitched battle between police and fans, which left at least 230 people injured. 

The plane crash happened just before 3:00 am (0100 GMT) when the wing of an Air Liberte passenger jet carrying 150 people hit the cockpit of a cargo plane owned by the British firm Stream Line, killing the co-pilot of the cargo aircraft. 

None of the passengers were injured but the pilot of the cargo jet was injured. There were no passengers on board. 

Police said the circumstances surrounding the collision remain unclear, but preliminary reports suggest that both planes had received authorization for take-off from the same runway. 

Public prosecutors have launched an investigation into the accident, airport officials said in a statement, adding that the transportation ministry would run a parallel inquiry. 

 

 

CLASHES AFTER VICTORY PARTY  

Furious clashes and pitched battles between French police and Spanish supporters in Paris followed Real Madrid's victorious 3-0 win over Valencia, Wednesday. 

Real dominated the match at the Stade de France in Paris, with three goals from Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Paul Gonzales. 

The win meant Madrid qualified for next year's Champions League after finishing in a UEFA Cup spot in the Spanish championship. 

Veteran defender Manuel Sanchis, who came on as a substitute and was making his 98th European competition appearance, had the honor of lifting the trophy before the team made a lap of honor, which finished in front of their partying fans. 

Predictably Queen's "We are the champions," rang out throughout the stadium to drown out the fans simple, continual chant of "Campeon, Campeon, ole ole ole." 

"This is without a doubt the biggest game I've ever played in and the fact that we've come out winners is fantastic." McManaman said. 

However, the victory was short-lasted as fighting broke out after the game in Madrid's central Cibeles Square, when fans among 100,000-strong crowd, which had gathered to celebrate their team's victory, threw bottles at police. 

Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas, before charging to disperse the crowd. The 230 injured included at least 50 police officers, according to Madrid's emergency medical service. 

At least four people were arrested, according to Spanish media reports. The police have given no official arrest figures. 

Several journalists working for the international media were roughly treated by the police and have made formal complaints. 

None of the fans were seriously injured, with most suffering cuts from broken glass, a spokesman for the emergency medical service told AFP. 

A total of 1,350 officers were deployed to police the celebrations, and the same number were on standby Thursday to return to the square, where the victorious team was set to appear later Thursday with their trophy, the European Cup --  

(Several Sources)

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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