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Ni, I don't know if you are still reading the site, but if you are, can you give us some idea of what this article says? Thanks for your help.

Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've just thought I could help, too.

I'm a former Swissair Crew Member and just remembered that the tenth anniversary of this tragedy is going to be on the 2nd/3rd September.

So I found your page on the internet.
I wish you all the strength to somehow go on surviving the loss of your child.

Here the translation:

10 years after the Swissair plane crash in Halifax

Bern . Till now it was the most severe plane crash in history of swiss civil aviation. In the night of the 2. September 1998 a Swissair plane went down into the sea just before the coast of the Canadian Halifax. On this occasion 229 lifes got lost.

SR 111 took off from New York and was heading to Geneva. The MD-11 was a modern plane from the company Boeing and Swissair was one of the most highly appreciated airlines in the world.
It was a fire which possibly caused a short circuit. The flames came from a broken copper cable which was supplying electricity to the on-board entertainment system. Electrical sparks set fire to the inflammable isolation matting which was located just over the rearward right part of the cockpit.

At this position there were no smoke detectors or automatic fire extinguishers installed, as it was not required by any regulations at this time.

Because of this, both pilots could only notice a fire on visual contact or smelling. As the crew finally discovered the fire it was too late to possibly extinguish it at this stage.

Long lasting Investigations

To this conclusion came the canadian board for transport security (TSB) in their final report, which was published on march 27 2003 just four and a half years after they started working.
Finally the fire also caused the complete brake down of all in-flight instruments. The pilots who were additionally bothered by smoke and heat lost control over the plane. The crew had no chance to land the MD-11 on time in Halifax.
The last radio voice signal of one of the two pilots was recorded at 21.25 o'clock. Just after that seemingly all electric power failed. Six minutes later, just one hour after take-off, the plane crashed into the sea, some eight kilometres from the coast of Peggy's Cove.

Ripped in pieces

On impact with the surface of the sea, the plane was shred into reams of partly tiny little pieces. More than two million pieces of wreckage were finally recovered from the sea in the effort to reconstruct the plane as complete as possible.

The 215 passengers from 22 nations and the 14 Swissair Crew Members died instantly on the impact. News from the crash shocked the swiss public and was causing worldwide headlines.

Relatives of the SR111 crew are like a "žbig family"

The relatives of the crew members, who died alongside the 215 passengers in the crash, are actually meeting every summer. These reunions even produced a love story.

The bareaved of the SR111 crew are more or less like a family, said Manfred Furter to news agency SDA: "žWe meet every year in another region of Switzerland and most of the time we organize something to do together."

The yearly meetings are not tightly/strictly organized. "There is no big talking about the catastrophe on this special day. We know why we are making this reunion and it is just nice to see each other" said the 55-year old. His wife was working as one of the Flight Attendants on board of the fateful flight. Their daughter Céline was 2 years old at this time.

Blessing in disguise

More or less 30 persons do regularly take part in this reunions. Friendships grew out of this – and even one twosome in love.
Furter is together with Manon Wolff since 8 years now. She has lost her boyfriend on this crash, he was the purser on board SR111.
At this time Wolff was working as a Flight Attendant herself – and she's still doing it today on a freelance basis. "After the accident I had to work on ground for half a year" said the 48-year old. But after this short break she just had to go back working on board.

"žI just love this profession" said Wolff. "If the partner dies in a car accident most people don't stop driving". As main job she's now "Mom and housewife", as she's actually filling out the mother role for Furters 12-year old daughter Céline. The Patchwork family is living in western Switzerland.

Wolff said, it was "žBlessing in disguise" that she got to know Furter. Certainly Halifax is never going to be forgotten by the two. "This is going to be like this forever. Finally we just shared the same bad experience" said Furter.

Memorial service in Kloten

Like many other bereaved family and friends, also Wolff, Further and daughter Céline are going to attend the oocumenic memorial service in the catholic church of Kloten. The ceremony is conducted by on evangelic-reformed and two catholic airport priest. All three are already well known to the persons involved.

"žWe always attended the yearly reunions of family and friends of the late crew members" said the catholic priest Claudio Cimaschi.
On this occasion they decided to organize this memorial service ten years after the tragedy. "Sadly it was not possible for us, to locate the families of the foreign victims" regrets Cimaschi.

It's part of the christian tradition, firstly after one year, and then a second time after ten years to hold a memorial service for he lost souls. On the altar there will be lying 229 two white roses – a sea of roses for those, whose lifes were lost in the sea.

Individual mourning

Officials of Halifax know nothing about any religious or other official reunions for the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. "There are always people visiting the memorial site", said Deborah Story on request. She only thinks, that there are going to be more visitors on September the 3rd, than normally.

Other severe Swissair crashes.

The victims of the crash of SR 111 over Halifax are outnumbering all other victims of plane crashes by Swissair and is for this reason the most severe plane crash of the former swiss Airline. Following is a list of all the other severe plane crashes of Swissair and Crossair:

- 27th july 1934: Crash of a curtis condor of the 1931 formed Swissair by Tuttlingen: 12 dead, one of them the first Swissair-Stewardess Nelly Diener.

- 18th june 1957: Crash of a Swissair DC-3 in the Bodensee (lake) on a training flight: 9 dead.

- 4th September 1963: Crash of a Swissair-Caravelle by Dürrenäsch AG: 80 Dead. Cause; Fire on board.

- 21st February 1970: Crash of a Swissair-Coronado CV 990 by Würenlingen AG: 47 dead. Cause: Bomb.

- 7th ocotber 1979: A Swissair DC-8 rolls over the edge of the runway in Athens and catches fire: 14 dead, cause: Mistake of the pilot.

- 2nd September 1998: Crash of the Swissair MD-11 in front of the canadian coast by halifax: 229 dead. Cause: Fire in the cockpit.

- 10th January 2000: Crash of a Saab-Cityliner of Crossair after take-off by Nassenwil, ZH: 10 dead, Cause: Mistake of the pilot.

-24th November 2001: Crash of a Crossair Jumbolino on landing into the woods of Bassersdorf, ZH: 29 dead, Cause: Mistake of the pilot.
Posts: 4 | Registered: Thu August 28 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sibae, that was very nice of you to take the time to translate that. Thank you so much.

Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Barbara,

You're welcome. If you ever need another translation you can always contact me. (If you don't mind the mistakes, as this is only school level English)

I just would like to send you my most favorite poem by Goethe. It somehow gave me strength, when I've lost a loved one.

Song Of The Spirits Over The Water

The spirit of Man

Resembles water:

Coming from heaven,

Rising to heaven,

And hither and thither,

To Earth must then

Ever descend.

It leaps from the heights

Of the sheer cliff,

In a pure stream,

Then rises sweetly

In clouds of spray

Against smooth stone,

And lightly received

Flows like a veil

Streaming softly

To depths beneath.

When the sheer rocks

Hinder its fall,

It foams angrily

Flowing stepwise

Into the void.

Along its flat bed

It wanders the vale,

And on the calm lake

All the bright stars

Gaze at their faces.

Wind is the water's

Sweet lover:

Wind stirs up foaming

Waves from the deep.

Spirit of Man

How like water you are!

Man's fate, oh,

How like the wind!
Posts: 4 | Registered: Thu August 28 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sibae, thank you for your thoughtful and lovely poem.

Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Barbara,

if it was me you meant by Ni - yes, I keep returning to your site. Obviously I was just too late this time...

Best wishes,

Posts: 4 | Registered: Mon October 29 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is another article if anyone is up to the task!

Glad to see you are still around Nick.

Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Barbara,

Here the first half of the translation, second half will follow shortly, but prepare yourself, you're not gonna like it, as the author believes that Swissair did a good job, what's concerning open communication with the family members and so on...

Just tell me, if you rather prefer not to read it.

First part:
Ten years ago, on the 2nd/3rd September 1998, Swissair had to go through the darkest day in her history. On the crash of a MD-11 by Halifax 229 people lost their lives. But affected by the tragedy were a lot more than 10'000 people on both sides of the Atlantic. Urs von Schroeder is remembering the disaster.

For half a century the daily flight of SR 111 from New York to Geneva was a constant cornerstone of the Swissair-Flightplan. Till this tragic semptember night, when the nearly monotone regularity was destroyed. About one hour after take off it came to a strong development of smoke inside the Cockpit. Just on preparation for the emergency landing, all the Systems went down. The HB-IWF shattered into Margaret's Bay before New Scottland. 14 Crew members and 215 passengers from nearly 20 countries lost their lifes, a lot of them, American citizens.

Swissair, which had her most glorious days during 1998 and was one of the very high esteemed airlines in the world, was up to this point meant to do everything right in security questions. The airlines was the role model for the flight industry. This was the reason – besides the sheer dimensions of the catastrophe – why Swissair was in the focus of the worldwide media for weeks. At the same time, where Switzerland was in complete shock – all the flags were on half mast for one week – over 7000 people in Canada buzzed into activity for dealing with the aftermath of the crash.

A huge machinery flashes into action

Halifax, far away from the rest of the world, had to overcome a lot of catastrophes during the course of the history of seafaring and developed a strong reflex to hurry to help if people are in great need and despair. Craig Sandford, who was watching "Titanic" in TV that very moment, was one of the many fishermen, who went out into the sea without asking questions, to save possible survivors. Steven Beazley, Donald Morris, Bruce Flemming and Dennis Thorne were the first men of the Coast Guard, which came to the crash site and only found a terrible expanse of ruins. One of the many ships which came to help was also the Cruise Ship "Veendam". Following the seafarer-Tradition captain Jonathan Mercer altered the course immediately on hearing of the disaster. And till the moment when communications lines started to work properly a vast net of hobby radio operaters were keeping the connections open.

A huge organisation began to form

Alone the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sent 300 people, which together with soldiers from the 2nd royal Canadian regiment and countless volunteers were searching hundreds of kilometres of the coast. The most difficult an also physical an psychical very demanding task, was for the members of the salvage team. Big ships of the Canadian Marine an the US Navy were involved, supported by helicopters and a fleet of small support vessels with marine divers. The search zone was several hundreds square kilometre big in a very rash and difficult sea.

Difficult Identification

Arount the clock, till mid november, the men had to bring up from the sea floor human remains and debris of the plane. Some of the pieces of cable were not bigger than a few centimetres. They brought everything to Shearwater-Basis. There the TSB, Vic Gerden and some hundred Specialists in his team started to analyse the cause of the crash. A mammoth task and no effort was avoided. During the course of three years the flight was traced up to the smallest Detail and the forward part of the plane was reconstructed out of millions of fragments.

A huge team of American and European pathologists under the lead of John Butt had to identify for weeks the human remains with the help of DNS-probes.

Life often is fateful. There were some passengers on board of the plane, which had changed their booking on short notice. Ohters were lucky, like UBS CEO Mathis Cabiallavetta who got an earlier flight or professional tennis player Marc Rosset, who decided to stay a day longer in New York after he dropped out of the US-Open. By the way also some of the cargo was very valuable: besides 50 kilo of cash money and 6 kilo of diamonds there was also a Picasso on board: "Le Peintre" worth 1,5 million Dollar.
Posts: 4 | Registered: Thu August 28 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sibae, thanks so much for all the time you've put into this. Maybe it would be best you skipped the rest, if that's what it says.

Thank you very much. You've been very nice and helpful and I really appreciate it.

Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Barbara, your welcome.

I've translated the rest, but left away the parts, where there is only the bla bla how well Swissair coped with the tragedy.
The other parts, maybe you like to read. Always when there is a ...... i left something away.

Very warm regards


2. Part

Heart an lots of commitment

Peggy's Cove is a contemplative little village; you allready leave it before you could hardly enter it, but for weeks the small town was in a state of emergency. Hundreds of journalists besieged the cove and volunteers and specialists from whole Canada travelled to this place to support the local forces. All of them must be catered and had to sleep somewhere. Like a duck takes to water the friendly New Scottish people opened their houses. Many Organisations like the salvation army up to the veterans were extraordinary hard working to support the catastrophe help and rescue teams.

Swissair was hit by the tragedy in their inner core and the employees were in complete shock. Especially pilots were deeply troubled and unsettled by the events, as it was unthinkable before. Technically generally all modern plane constructions were perfected up to the point, that each and every system was backed-up so heavily, that a total failure, like it occurred and lead to the crash of the MD-11, could not be imagined.
Catastrophes as a learing process

Never before in history of civil aviation there were greater efforts to find completion to a catastrophe. Two things were new. During weeks there were hundreds of employees of care teams on duty on both sides of the Atlantic, from both Airlines Swissair and Delta Air Lines. Today, care teams are an inherent part of each crisis intervention. In most of them experiences from the Swissair Care Team were used for the formation. And never before psychological support had been of such importance like in this case. Everywhere – in Peggy's Cove, for the salvage teams, in the Seharwater-Basis and for the flying and technical employees of Swissair – Psychologists were constantly present.

It lies in the nature of the things, that not only the Airlines, the plane constructor company and the suppliers were involved in the case, but also the aviation authorities and hundreds of lawyers. The dealing with the issue of the tragedy cost years and there followed many lawsuits.


The vast efforts also lead to some technical and operational developments in the airline industry. Cables are not longer bundled the way they were before and there is a new procedure concerning smoke and fire on board. Before Halifax, it was of utmost important to bring the plane down absolutely safe, which could only be done by dumping fuel, today a Pilot would risk the overweight landing, when fire and heavy smoke are detected.

The author Urs von Schroeder was a long time member of the Swissair Communication Team. Since then years he's free author. For half a year he was making enquiries for a book about the Halifax disaster – which was turned down by american lawyers and could therefore never been published..
Posts: 4 | Registered: Thu August 28 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks very much Sibae. I really appreciate that.

Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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