Video: 20 years after the catastrophe

HALIFAX – Stephen Thompson clutched a tissue Sunday afternoon, unable to carry again tears throughout an emotional service honouring his father and 228 others who died in a horrific airplane crash 20 years in the past.


Thompson attended the service together with others who misplaced family members when Swissair Flight 111 from New York Metropolis to Geneva crashed into Nova Scotian waters on the night of Sept. 2, 1998, leaving no survivors.

Through the service on the Swissair Memorial Web site in Bayswater, N.S., Rev. Louis Quennelle of the Anglican Parish of Blandford instructed the handfuls gathered for the ceremony that whereas the occasions on that evening have been tragic, they helped deliver many communities and friendships collectively.

He famous that it is vital to recollect the primary responders who helped within the speedy aftermath of the catastrophe.

Members of the family of the victims laid flowers on the foot of the big granite memorial, erected overlooking the water the place the passenger airplane violently ended its remaining flight about eight kilometres offshore.

The catastrophe, which started with {an electrical} hearth that unfold by way of the cockpit and precipitated a catastrophic failure, ultimately led to improved security measures on planes, together with sure flammable supplies not getting used on plane.

Quenelle, who was working as an Air Canada flight attendant in Halifax on the time of the crash, stated in an earlier interview his expertise within the area affected the way in which he thought in regards to the crash.

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“All of us as a gaggle recognized very a lot with the Swissair crew, as a result of we knew what the final moments of their lives would have been, and what they might have been doing, due to our coaching,” he stated.

“Emotionally, there was a connection there.”

On the time, Quenelle was the native union’s president, and he stated there was an ongoing pilot strike when the Swissair crash occurred.

However after the information broke, hanging pilots and laid-off flight attendants volunteered to function shuttle flights between Halifax and New York for the households of the victims.

“In some ways, the victims of Swissair go effectively past the individuals who died,” stated Quenelle.

“There have been folks whose lives have been very irrevocably modified, and we have to keep in mind them, and assist them transfer ahead, and heal, and assist regain their pleasure in life.”

Claire Mortimer, who misplaced her father and stepmother within the crash, stated she’s heard of no less than two suicides by folks concerned within the restoration efforts, noting that whereas the ache of her loss has largely healed, among the individuals who helped recuperate the our bodies of the victims should be coping with the psychological toll of their grisly obligation.

“It is a tragedy as a lot because the airplane crash was a tragedy,” she stated, referencing one of many males who died by suicide. “I contemplate folks corresponding to (the person,) who took their very own lives on account of their involvement within the Swissair web site, to be a sufferer of Swissair as a lot as my father. These folks should be acknowledged and cared for.”

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Stephen Thompson, from Atlanta, Ga., places roses as he remembers his father Ernest Thompson who perished in the crash of Swissair Flight 111 at a memorial service at Bayswater Beach, N.S. on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. Twenty years ago the passenger jet crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on Inner Rock Shoal, about 10 kilometres off the coast on Nova Scotia's South Shore, killing 229 people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

© Stephen Thompson, from Atlanta, Ga., locations roses as he remembers his father Ernest Thompson who per…
Stephen Thompson, from Atlanta, Ga., locations roses as he remembers his father Ernest Thompson who perished within the crash of Swissair Flight 111 at a memorial service at Bayswater Seaside, N.S. on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. Twenty years in the past the passenger jet crashed within the Atlantic Ocean on Internal Rock Shoal, about 10 kilometres off the coast on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, killing 229 folks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Mortimer, a nurse practitioner who makes a speciality of Put up Traumatic Stress Dysfunction remedy, stated she hopes to get in contact with first responders who labored on the web site of the crash, in addition to anybody else locally who might have been affected, to assist those that could also be struggling join with the sources they want.

Though she lives in Maine, Mortimer has travelled to Nova Scotia so many instances she considers it as a second dwelling.

She stated the help from the province was instrumental throughout her therapeutic course of.

“It simply was such a heat, loving expertise, to be embraced by so many individuals,” she stated, including that she, in flip, needs to assist others affected by the crash heal in their very own method.

Of the 229 individuals who died within the fated flight, 14 have been crew and the remaining have been passengers, most of whom got here from the U.S., France, or Switzerland.

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Notable figures on board included well-known AIDS researcher Jonathan Mann, Pierce Gerety of the United Nations Excessive Fee for Refugees, UNICEF adviser Yves De Roussan, and Ingrid Acevedo, public relations director for UNICEF.

Roughly 2,800 folks have been concerned within the restoration and a few 200 divers ventured 55 metres beneath the ocean floor in the hunt for human stays and components of the plane.

Vic Gerden led the investigation for the Transportation Security Board, in what would develop into one of many costliest and most intricate probes within the historical past of aviation disasters.

In 2003, he launched a 337-page report that concluded the fireplace began when an arcing wire ignited a flammable insulation overlaying, or MPET, within the ceiling. The report included 23 suggestions on every thing from flight recorders and materials flammability to in-flight firefighting and what pilots ought to do in the event that they odor smoke.

In an announcement final week, Gerden stated 20 of these have led to improved security measures on planes.

“Maybe probably the most vital change is that sure flammable supplies corresponding to MPET are not utilized in plane, decreasing the chance of in-flight fires,” he stated.

Additionally, air crew at the moment are skilled to “shortly begin planning for speedy touchdown till they’re assured there is no such thing as a hearth risk to the plane or occupants” when smoke is detected.



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