Swissair Flight 111 crashes and kills over 200 on board in 1998
BY HENRI E. CAUVIN , BILL HUTCHINSON , HELEN KENNEDY , TOM RAFTERY , JAMES RUTENBERG , CORKY SIEMASZKO NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 12:00 PM A A A
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Woman arrives at Swissair terminal at Kennedy Airport seeking information about crash of Swissair Flight 111 off Nova Scotia.
(Originally published by the Daily News on Sept. 3, 1998.)
A Swissair jet that took off from Kennedy Airport with 228 people aboard crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Canada last night after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and attempted an emergency landing at Halifax Airport.
Rescuers were fighting driving rains and rough seas early today as they searched the waters off Nova Scotia for survivors.
A Canadian Navy ship at the scene some 7 nautical miles from shore had recovered several bodies from the wreckage of the MD-11 jetliner, said Morris Green of the Emergency Health Services.
Any survivors would be airlifted to the nearby Shearwater Airbase, said Grant Lingley of Canadian Emergency Health Services.
"It's really dark here," said John MacDonald, who watched from his oceanfront home in Blandford as helicopters swept the sea with searchlights and fishing boats joined the search. "The moon's full, but it's real cloudy."
Swissair Flight 111, bound for Geneva, took off from JFK at 8:19 p.m. and reported the smoke about an hour into the flight. The pilot was dumping fuel when the plane hit the water soon after, as it attempted an emergency landing in the choppy seas off the picturesque town of Blandford.
The jetliner was 7 miles north of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, when it disappeared from radar, Lingley said.
It had first tried to make it to Halifax Airport, Lingley said.
"We heard the sound of an engine going overhead, and then we heard this large vibration as if someone was banging on our house," said Linda Farmer of Blandford. "Then we didn't hear anything else."
Swissair crash, published September 3, 1998.
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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Swissair crash, published September 3, 1998.
The plane sliced into 150-foot-deep water, said Leading Seaman Sean Kelly of the Canadian Navy.
A telltale oil slick was spotted at 12:45 a.m. local time, which is one hour ahead of New York.
Lt. Cmdr. Mike Considine of the Canadian search and rescue operation in Halifax said that at least six helicopters and several jets were on the way to the scene.
Local firefighters and members of the Canadian Coast Guard and Navy also were scouring the rocky shore for bodies.
"It's as good of conditions as our emergency people could expect right now," said Considine.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials dispatched a 10-person team from the National Transportation Safety Board to the site. Asked if there was any early indication of what may have caused the crash, NTSB spokesman Matt Furman said, "none at all at this point."
Witnesses said the night was clear and calm. Then came a sudden noise.
"It was like a big rumbling, a big tumbling," said Opal Guite of Vancouver, who was visiting her daughter in Blandford. "The whole house shook. We didn't know what it was."
Veronica Le Blanc of Blandford said she and her husband heard a large plane zoom over their home and moments later heard a bang that shook their house.
A Swissair airliner, said to be an MD-11 similiar to the one shown in this photo, crashed in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia late September 2, 1998.
Hey Barb, me again. How have you been? Things are still rough for me. I'm unemployed now and have been dealing with a bunch of different chronic illnesses. But, I'm still fightin, tryin to get my life back. Thankfully I've had some good people in my life who have helped me out or I'd be in much worse shape.
Not much else goin on in my life lately, I hope this note finds you well, or as well as it can on this day.
"Those Who Don't Learn From The Past Are Doomed To Repeat It."
Murray, thank you for always remembering this terrible tragedy. I'm so sorry to hear that you are unemployed. I hope you find something soon.
It is unbelievable that this happened 17 years ago now. Tara didn't even live that long. As always, she is very much missed by her family. One can't help wondering what she would be doing now had she been alive.
Murray best of luck with your job hunt. Thanks very much for keeping in touch.
my dad was lost 17 years ago I was sl;eeping hen I fell asleep with cnn on my mom woke me I had cnn I didn't know what flight number he was on but know swisair and to swisaland I still have nightmares and my kids will never know there grandpa plus very little discovered of him memorial was beutifull they should arrange us all to come there as a group
hi BF and hunta315. As a ground search and rescue member during the months of Sep and Oct 98, I am very sorrry for your loss. I also dread this day and month every year. And like you hunta315 I have nightmares and daily flashbacks. But life goes on and I live with my ptsd. I live a few hours from Peggys Cove, but have never been back. Someday I will, I know I need too. And yes hunta315 it would be nice for a family and searchers to meet back again. Murry are you a family member also? I feel for you all, and the movie never stops for me. Thank you for letting me on the forum. John
John, it is an honor having you on this site. I'm so sorry for your pain too. Mr. Klein, I'm so sorry for your loss.
Murray is a very kind Canadian man who has been here to support swissair families for many years. I think he must have been pretty young when this happened to his community. His support is always appreciated.
I hope you will all continue to post. We must never forget this terrible tragedy.
I haven't personally lost anyone on swissair 111, I stumbled across this forum because this tragedy has been on my mind for a few years now and I have been doing research on the events and I have been reading your posts for a long time now. I am 23 years old, I live in Switzerland. I was only 7 years old when it happened but I remember it clearly as being the first plane crash that really made me realize the enormity of what the term "crashing" meant and the human repercussions that it involved. Maybe because it involved a swiss company ? I don't know... but it did. Since then I've often flown Swiss from GVA to JFK and back.
I would simply like to tell the people who have lost loved ones in this tragedy that even 17 years later, my heart still goes out to them, everyday and especially at this time of the year, as I imagine it must be a hard one. Not that any time could be easy.
I hope that you continue to strive for as much happiness as you can get and that you find the means to live as your lost loved ones couldn't.
I wish I could be of more help, but I can't find much more to do, or say... I sincerely feel for you, from the bottom of my heart. And If I could help carry the load instead of simply sharing feelings of sympathy I would. You must all be very strong.
All my thoughts to the family. And to the 228 human beings on board.
If I can be of any help let me know !
A.P. your words and thoughts are really wonderful, and sound heartfelt. Thanks so much for posting that. I really appreciate that you are thinking about it all these years after the tragedy.
No matter how many years pass we miss Tara and Ray more each day. All those list that horrible night remain in my prayers.
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