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Remembering Swissair

In memory of
the 229 men, women and children
aboard Swissair Flight 111
who perished off these shores
September 2, 1998

They have been joined
to the sea and the sky
May they rest in peace

In grateful recognition of
all those who worked tirelessly
to provide assistance in the recovery operations
and comfort to the families and their friends
during a time of distress



The crash in brief

September 2
9:18 p.m.: Swissair Flight 111 takes off from JFK International Airport in New York bound for Geneva with 215 passengers and 14 crew members on board. The non-stop flight is known at United Nations headquarters and its European centre as “The U.N. Shuttle” because it is widely used by officials and diplomats travelling between the two cities.
10:22 p.m.: Air traffic control in Moncton receives a distress call that there is smoke in the cockpit of the aircraft. Captain Urs Zimmermann and co-pilot Stephan Loew ask to make an emergency landing suggesting Boston, but are directed to Halifax because it is closer. The plane descends from 33,000 feet to about 15,000 but is forced to turn away from the airport because it is still too high. The crew request and receive permission to dump fuel because the aircraft is too heavy to land.
10:24 p.m.: Pilot declares and emergency, indicating he must land immediately. There is no further communication from Flight 111.
10:30 p.m.: Residents along the South Shore hear the sound of a sputtering engine followed by a loud crash of impact. Flight 111 impacts the water. It was last reported at about 9,700 feet. The Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax dispatches aircraft, Coast Guard and navy ships.
10:39 p.m.: Emergency Health Services is notified of the probable crash by the RCMP. Air ambulance and emergency units from Halifax, the South Shore and the Annapolis Valley are dispatched to the area.
10:46 p.m.: The Blandford fire department is paged and, in turn, places a South Shore Mutual Aid call to other departments in the region for assistance.
11:15 p.m.:The Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre is put on emergency alert. Dartmouth General, South Shore Regional and the IWK-Grace are put on notice. Staff are called back to work to handle the expected influx of injured passengers.

September 3
12:30 a.m.: Rescue aircraft and boats patrol the ocean between Tancook Island, Bayswater, and East Ironbound. An incident command centre is established at Bayswater Beach. Canadian Coast Guard cutter Sambro locates wreckage about eight kilometres southwest of Peggy’s Cove.
1:45 a.m.: Command centre at Bayswater demobilizes as focus shifts to Peggy’s Cove.
2:30 a.m.: Ambulances told to stand down as hope for survivors fades.
3:15 a.m.: The first body is brought ashore at Peggy’s Cove.
3:30 a.m.: Emergency alert at hospitals ends.
11 a.m.: Officials say they still have faint hope of finding survivors. Sea Kings begin flying bodies from HMCS Preserver to temporary morgue set up at Shearwater.
12:30 p.m.: Swissair in Zurich announces that no one on board Flight 111 survived the crash.

September 4
1 p.m.: Rescue operation officially becomes salvage operation. There is no chance of finding survivors. The last count provided by officials indicated 60 bodies had been recovered.
2:40 p.m.: A Swissair Airbus touches down at Halifax International Airport bringing the first group of grieving family members to Nova Scotia.
Swiss Air stories
September 9, 1998
Survivors wouldn’t have lived long
Nova Scotians ready to help families
Disaster is worst ever for aircraft and company
World comes crashing down
Early hours focussed on finding survivors

September 16, 1998
Rescue and salvage workers will need support
Crash cause won’t be known for some time

September 23, 1998
Electrical failure might have brought down Flight 111

September 30, 1998
Officials plan to lift Flight 111 debris

Feb, 1999
Blandford healing in wake of air disaster, further tragedies
Nova Scotia Families Bond With Crash Victims' Relatives

May , 1999
Residents Using Swissair Fund to Save Lives
Swissair burial site will be announced this week

June, 1999
Blandford residents attend Swissair donation and appreciation Ceremony
Swissair memorial designs announced

July, 1999
Wording announced for Swissair memorials
Beachcombers asked to watch for Swissair debris

August, 1999
Memorial services announced as first anniversary of Swissair tragedy nears

September, 1999
The Editor's Diary
Song 'Heaven's Open arms' remembers Swissair tragedy
Sweet release- Kite celebration helped locals let go of Swissair sadness
Families find some solace in pilgrimage to Peggy's Cove

October, 1999
Swissair entertainment system banned by the FAA

May, 2000
Swissair crew cut engine before crash

July, 2000
'Blessed Stranger' tells story of Swissair aftermath

August, 2000
Swissair probe inching along
Swissair memories flow during 'Help the Helpers' founder's fountain visit

July, 2002
Report into Swissair crash delayed to 2003

April, 2003
Pilots could not have saved Flight 111

August, 2003
Swissair- Five years later
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