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swissair reaction
HALIFAX - Before it even goes to air, a television documentary claiming Swissair Flight 111 may have been brought down deliberately is angering some of the victims' relatives.

­Barbara Fetherolf's 16-year-old daughter, Tara, was on her way to school outside Geneva when the plane went down 8 kilometres off of Peggy's Cove, N.S. on the night of Sept. 2, 1998.

All 229 passengers and crew died in the Atlantic Ocean that night.

Fetherolf says any allegation of a conspiracy or cover-up is "absurd" and she said she's horrified anyone is making accusations the tragedy was criminal in nature.

"It's very painful," Fetherolf says, speaking from her home in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. "It's taken a long time for me to get through this where I'm not thinking of it every second of my life."

"I don't believe it, but it's still disturbing even having that out there," she says adding that other people who lost family members in the crash are skeptical.

Retired RCMP sergeant Tom Juby tells CBC's The Fifth Estate "there was sufficient grounds to suspect a criminal device on that plane."

He says the RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada did not properly conduct the investigation into the cause of the disaster.

The TSB says a fire, likely electrical, led to the plane going down a little more than one hour and 13 minutes after it left New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

"It just doesn't add up," Fetherolf says. "It just seems like a big stretch with very little proof."

She says the RCMP and TSB investigations were very detailed and provided solid evidence the plane crashed as a result of an onboard fire.

Other family members of victims posted on -an online discussion board dedicated to the disaster - expressed disbelief investigators could be involved in a cover-up.

There were conspiracy theories in the early days following the disaster, she admits, but she believes they were dismissed.

The documentary points out among the plane's passengers were a Saudi prince, UN officials and a relative of the former shah of Iran.

It was also reported that $500 million of diamonds and gems were on board the plane, but the precious cargo was never retrieved.

Juby says irregular amounts of magnesium found in the wreckage of the cockpit, which leads him to believe an "incendiary device" could be behind the crash.

The Fifth Estate also speaks to a metallurgist, Dr. Jim Brown, who says the magnesium levels are "suspicious" and other elements associated with arson were detected in the plane's electrical wiring.

Juby says the RCMP ignored those finding and dismissed the possibility of a bomb.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft nosedived into the Atlantic at 10:31 p.m. AST, 21 minutes after the flight crew first detected smoke in the plane.

Fetherolf is intrigued by the reported last-minute decision to pull the documentary from Swiss television, which co-produced the piece with CBC.

Swiss television's chief editor Diego Yanez reportedly said the network would not broadcast the film until they could uncover "more than circumstantial evidence on the issue."

"I think that's very telling," she says, "it sounded like they didn't feel it had been proven adequately."

RCMP and TSB officials did not comment on Juby's claims to The Fifth Estate.
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