It is now the 6th anniversary of the swissair tragedy. I cannot believe that my daughter Tara is dead for that long.
What kind of a kid was Tara? Unbelievable really. Admired by the other kids in the school she was attending and by teachers alike. Adored by her family. I've barely been able to cope with her death. She brought her sister and I so much joy with her good humor and she was just full of life. Tara was always excited about things going on around her and her enthusiasm was contageous. She was always so exciting and interesting, it was a pleasure to listen to what she had to say. Words just don't begin to describe what Tara meant to me. Every time I try to write them down I just can't think of a way to express it. Losing a child is the worse thing in the world..
I have thought about writing a book about Tara, the swissair tragedy and what it did
to my family, but the truth is I don't think anyone would read it. There is no happy ending. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Just endless years of pain and sorrow. The only good purpose I think it would possibly serve is that maybe if those that are involved in the industry read it, they might think twice about cutting a corner when it comes to safety. Doing just one sloppy thing could lead to the deaths of many and the destruction of their surviving families.
To those of you who participated in causing this tragedy, I don't know how you live with yourselves. You have no idea of how much your greed has caused many people never-ending pain. To those people who work in the industry and care about safety, you have my complete admiration because your task is huge. The decisions you make every day have no doubt kept many passengers safe.
The swissair tragedy should never have occurred. Tara should be alive as should be all those poor souls that were on that horrific flight. The reasons swissair crashed are despicable and inexcusable. Let's hope that nothing like this ever happens again. My heart goes out to all those that continue to suffer as a result of this avoidable tragedy on this 6th anniversary of the crash. There were clearly far more than 229 victims that day.This message has been edited. Last edited by: BF,
Barbara, it is a privilege to know your daughter through what you have written about her. Bless your courage for sharing it, together with your passionate, painful feelings of loss, which somehow - while connecting with my own emotions - have also made me more appreciative of the good things in my life. Go ahead: write your book if you really want to.
Thanks Ivy. My heart goes out to you and your family. Ivy I just wanted to thank you for stopping in and posting now and then. I really appreciate that.
BarbaraThis message has been edited. Last edited by: BF,
Barbara, my thoughts and prayers go out to you, Mark and your daughter. I am also thinking of
Lyn Romano and her two boys, and of course,
her husband Ray.
I'm sending you all 8 yellow roses in thought
You are so right, there were more than 229 victims of the Swissair tragedy.
Barbara, I neglected in my post above to mention
your daughter Tara. She was, of course, in my mind when I posted.
Barbara, Mark (and Amy as well) have shown an incredible amount of strength during this entire ordeal. Being a mother, I have never professed to come close to understanding what it must take for Babs to pull herself up each day or even close her eyes each night. I've told her for years now, "I do not ever want to know your pain first hand". She knows exactly what I mean when I say that too.
Who would have thought a mother who lost a beautiful child to this horrible tragedy, and a woman who lost the love of her real life, her husband Ray, would have forged such an incredible bond as Barbara and I have? We still talk about that to this day..We've pretty much "decided" our bond became so strong because of the intense love we have for "our babies". Whatever the reason, we have been pulling each other away from the edge for (3 weeks shy of) 6 years now. I thank God for her every day and night, because without her strength and ability to speak out right along with me over all these years, I'm not at all sure I'd be able to type this message this night.
No one could possibly understand the horrors we've both faced over the years. Some of those horrors stemming from the fact that we "marched to the beat of a different drum" by not allowing others to speak on our behalf or because we simply couldn't follow along when we knew it wasn't what Tara or Ray would have wanted. I told Barbara just the other day "we should be proud of what we've been able to accomplish, not only as it applies to aviation safety issues, but for Tara and Ray on a personal basis as well".
Considering neither of us knew/know how we're able to continue breathing, and the fact that we were not very "popular" with many of the swissair family members, we did what we did for Tara and Ray - NOT - for ourselves. That did take courage Babs...
I haven't been able to come here as often lately, due to some recent additional difficulties that have presented themselves. Babs and I "speak" every day thru email though and whenever possible, by phone - so she knows why I haven't been here in quite awhile. I've taken some time to read several of the posts and I wanted to thank all those who've taken the time to 'touch' Barbara, Mark and Amy with incredibly warm sentiments. A special thank you goes out to J.O. - how kind of you to remember/mention my boys and I. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I could go on and on, but I believe it's best I close now. Barbara? I love you (more)..
(established in memory of Raymond M. Romano, passenger on swissair Flight 111, Seat 9F)
J.O. Thanks so much for your very kind words. I'm glad that you took the time to post this to us and hope you will be back when you are able. It's always very nice to hear from you.
Lyn, thanks to you for always being there for me. I don't know what I would have done without your support throughout these hellish years because we truly did not relate well to any of the other family members. I just can't help but be shocked for example that everyone seemed to have disappeared when the final report came out. Actually long before that. The only exception I can think of is Mr. Shaw whom I have never met but can feel his pain through his words regarding the loss of his beloved young daughter. I have to admit the lack of response to me was appalling but I suppose I should leave that to the privacy of our email exchanges. Much love to you Lyn.
Again J.O. I want to express my appreciation for your understanding of just how devastating this terrible tragedy is to us. It is really nice to know that there are kind people out there who really care.
BarbaraThis message has been edited. Last edited by: BF,
Tara would have been 23 today. She never even got a chance at having a life due to a few selfish people who not only endangered those passengers who were killed on Flight 111, but every person who flew on swissair's MD-11s and were equipped with an entertainment system that shouldn't have even been installed on those jets in the first place. My daughter and I miss her horribly especially today, a day that should have been filled with joy and now has been replaced with so much sorrow.This message has been edited. Last edited by: BF,
I've read all entries on this forum and admire your courage and dedication. Dealing with people like C. Leduc (see another thread called ˜introducing myself') doesn't make it any easier. I didn't understand what he was trying to say, I've never heard anything about another independent enquiry into SR111. As far as I know the Swiss authorities delegated everything to the Canadians, just as they took over aircraft operational certification procedures from the FAA in the USA.
Barbara, I sympathise with your tragic loss and understand your desire to see those responsible brought to justice, but I don't think it will ever happen. In my opinion only one person was primarily responsible for the Halifax disaster and he is now dead: Otto Loepfe, Swissair president from 1988 to 1997. He was an engineer with management ambitions, a pleasant enough character but really out of his depth as leader of a large multinational company. His lack of confidence led to reliance on external advisors such as McKinsey whose advice, particularly the massive investments in foreign airlines, eventually brought Swissair to ruin.
The Swissair board blindly followed other Mckinsey recommendations, the most significant for our purposes being cutbacks at the maintenance base. This resulted in severe manpower shortages, so much so that mechanics from a rival airline had to be brought in. For the first time in the history of Swissair aircraft were being worked on by non Swissair trained mechanics, this was also the case with the IFEN installation.
I met Loepfe on several occasions; once when asked by concerned employees about the direction that Swissair was taking he replied ˜we in management are gamblers.' Certainly the decision to fit IFEN was a massive gamble. At the time I was flying the 747, the last aircraft in the Swissair fleet to have Flight Engineers. These dedicated professionals were appalled by the makeshift way that IFEN was fitted. I heard that on the MD11 the wiring bundle was pulled through the cockpit bulkhead by block and tackle. Imagine the strain that this put on the wires – no wonder they short-circuited. The system worked reasonably well on the 747, probably because of better processor cooling by the more powerful air conditioning system, but we had no documentation on how or where it was wired into the aircraft electrics. Cockpit control was as on the MD11 - only by circuit breaker.
Loepfe became irrational in his final months with Swissair. Mckinsey had of course advised on massive personnel cost reductions, at one meeting I attended he ranted at overpaid pilots and how he could replace us with east European or lesser qualified Swiss crews at a fraction of our salaries – something that Moritz Suter did at Crossair with tragic results. Loepfe left Swissair for IATA but died of a brain tumour shortly thereafter.
I know how it is to lose a loved one, I have also suffered in my private life, I knew many of the crew of SR111, I'm still bitter at the terrible tragedy. However I believe that retribution and the desire for revenge will achieve nothing. I think it's time to move on and enjoy what one can of our remaining time. Loepfe is dead, the other characters have disappeared or have made sure that they are well protected by the Swiss establishment – they call it the ˜Filz' which means ˜cosy fleece'. The Canadians completed a thorough investigation and much has been changed as a result – that's positive. Taking legal action against managers following an aviation accident is difficult. The Swiss government are doing this in the cases of the two Crossair crashes; I don't think that they will achieve anything - those responsible have already resigned. Similarly I don't think that anyone in the FAA or Santa Barbara could be prosecuted – there's not enough concrete evidence, people have covered their tracks or are too well protected.
These things happened, it was tragic, we've hopefully learned from them, let's look to the future.
BF - I will begin by telling you that for the month of Sep 98, I spent my days searching the coastline and Islands around Peggs Cove, as a Team Capt of our Ground Search and Rescue Team. I have 2 daughters myself, and one near Tara's age. I cannot imagine my mind state if my children were on the flight. I can only say I am very sorry, for her your loss. I would like to tell you though that for me personally the Swiss Air search is burned into my memory. I will not go into details but that month of my life lives with me each day. It is hard to get on a plane or even see one fly. I like to think that my time there somehow helped you the families. I personally met some of you at the memorial celabrations at the Halifax Civc Center. We hugged and cried together. I pray for all you families, and for my fellow searchers. If you would like to email me that is fine. God be with you all..
John, Thank you so much for your thoughts and your efforts during the search operation. And thank you so very much for understanding just how devastating this is. You're a good person.
With tremendous appreciation,
Barbara - Thank you for that nice comment. I don't like to be a burden or bother the families. But it is nice after 5 years to talk to a family member again. As a searcher we didn't have much interaction during it all. I have kept in contact with my old team members. Some have had problems after, but we talk and work through it. The RCMP Critical incident stress people were excellent for us. I personally visited them after each of those long days. If you or your family ever make it back east, I would love to have you all over to my place in Charlottetown for a coffee and talk. Just look me up in the phone book, or drop an email.
Thank you John- that is very nice of you. I don't know if I will ever be there but I will surely remember your generous invitation with great appreciation. Please send my regards and thanks to those people you keep in touch with. I don't think any of us will ever get this terrible tragedy out of our minds. You'll all always be in my heart.
Chris, It was my understanding from a very reliable source that it was the s'airgroup's board of directors (Philippe Bruggisser, Mario Corti - Nestle's CFO; Rainer Gut, - chairman of Nestles; Eric Honegger - a former Zurich politician; and Lukas Muhlemann - chairman of Credit Suisse.) after conferring with Bruggisser, who made the decision to purchase the IFEN.
One thing I did want to say to this comment is that there is plenty of concrete evidence against many of these individuals, it's just that the prosecutors seem to have no interest in it whatsoever. Probably partly because some of the people involved do have way too much power and influence as you have inferred. It didn't help that Judge Giles (who presided over the swissair lawsuits) basically never allowed any discovery. Another problem is that it is very complicated and hard to get anyone to listen for 5 minutes to what actually happened.
Not true Barbara.
IFE approached Swissair in '94 and '95 but were initially rejected. In '96 a letter of intent was signed and installation started on the MD11 fleet. Throughout this period Otto Loepfe was President. Bruggisser became CEO in '97.
I still maintain that Loepfe and his board were ultimately responsible for the disaster at Halifax.
Der Fall Swissair, Rene Luchinger, Bilanz
Swissair 1931-2002, Urs von Schreder, Huber
Black Box Swissair, various authors, Limmat
Canadian TSB report
Chris, Do you know who was on his board?
It will take me some time to get the full list as I didn't keep the old Annual Reports, but if you start with:
Rainer E Gut
You've got the main players.
Thanks Chris for the information! Now that name in particular is interesting.
That name is interesting because he is good friends with Al Haig who was hired to be on the board of directors of Interactive Flight Technologies. It appeared that Haig might have been hired for his connections to possibly persuade airlines to purchase the IFEN from IFT. Its not known whether Haig had anything to do with the swissair deal but it certainly is odd that Haig was hired to be on the board of a tiny, inexperienced company out in Arizona. Of course Haig seemed to be involved in other D.H. Blair companies and played a part in the Phen fen scandal which resulted in several deaths from the diet drug. As you probably already know, D.H. Blair underwrote the IPO for IFT.
Here is a thread about Haig's involvement in other D.H. Blair companies:
Chris any information you can provide will be very much appreciated.
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