AIR AGE: Tragic Coincidence?

Lonely Bahrein Island, off the east coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, is a hot, humid desert, inhabited mostly by Arabian pearl divers and British and American oil drillers. Its airport on nearby Muharrak Island is a stopover for Air France planes on the Saigon-Paris run, and French pilots don't particularly like it: the weather in the Gulf is treacherous, and within minutes fine flying weather can become a horror of sandstorms, torrential rains or typhoons.

One night last week, the weather around Bahrein was in one of its ugliest moods. A sandstorm scoured the airdrome and blotted...

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