A small passenger plane on board which were two or three people, including television journalist Gérard Leclerc, crashed on Tuesday August 15 in Lavau-sur-Loire (Loire-Atlantique), we learned from the prosecution and sources close to the case.
The Canal+ group and its colleague Laurence Ferrari immediately deplored on X (ex-Twitter) the death of the journalist (CNews, ex-France 2) in the accident and paid tribute to him, followed by many personalities from the media or the world. policy.
According to a press release released overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday by the Saint-Nazaire public prosecutor’s office, the Robin DR 400 plane took off on Tuesday at 11:07 a.m. from Loudun aerodrome (Vienne) bound for La Baule (Loire-Atlantique ).
“On board were a pilot and one or two passengers, this information remains to be confirmed”, adds the press release, which does not confirm any identity.
“Disappeared from the radar”
According to sources familiar with the matter, it was Gérard Leclerc who was piloting the plane, as the president of the Loudun flying club also told local media. The daughter of the former minister and president of the Senate René Monory as well as a friend of the latter were also on board, indicated one of these sources close to the file.
At 11.37 a.m., the pilot of the plane had announced to the Nantes airport control tower that he was entering Saint-Nazaire airspace, but he never announced himself to the authorities of this last, reports the prosecution.
“He did not send any distress message. Available flight data allows the flight path to be tracked until 11:42 a.m. when it disappeared from radar. It was then located near Lavau-sur-Loire, ”continues the press release. “Very quickly, the alert was given and the emergency services started”, with the implementation of a SATER plan (aero-terrestrial rescue).
The first plane debris was “spotted in the canals, including a wheel and a piece of registration. At present and despite searches, no body has been found, ”says the Saint-Nazaire prosecutor’s office.
“This research is made particularly difficult because the plane was submerged several meters in an area subject to very strong currents, and in which visibility for divers is almost zero,” he explains. According to a source familiar with the matter, two bodies were located in the wreckage but could not be cleared.
At this stage two investigations are open: one judicial, entrusted to the air transport brigade and the Loire-Atlantique gendarmerie group, and a technical investigation carried out by the Bureau of Investigations and Analysis (BEA).
Television figure, half-brother of singer Julien Clerc, Gérard Leclerc began his career as a radio journalist, on Europe 1 (1978-85) then RMC (1985) before spending three decades in public service, including nearly twenty years on the second channel.
He had then become one of the famous faces of Antenne 2, then France 2, in turn head of the economic and social service, columnist, special correspondent, editor-in-chief of the Télématin program and of the political service, deputy director of writing…
Gérard Leclerc then became editor-in-chief of the political, economic and social service at France 3 (2007-2009) before being appointed president of La Chaîne Parlementaire-National Assembly (LCP-AN) (2009-15). Since 2017, he has been an editorial writer on CNews.
The journalist was married to Julie Leclerc (Chantal Séloron in the city), historic voice of Europe 1 for almost 50 years, with whom he had three children.