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Nova Scotia remembers 229 victims of Swissair on 10th anniversary of crash

Sept. 2, 2008, Bayswater, N.S. - Family members of the victims of Swissair Flight 111 were among about 60 people who gathered Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the airliner's crash.


September 2, 2008
By The Canadian Press

Sept. 2, 2008, Bayswater, N.S. – Family members of the victims of Swissair
Flight 111 were among about 60 people who gathered Tuesday to mark
the 10th anniversary of the airliner's crash.

Bouquets of flowers and single red roses were laid at the foot of
a memorial in Bayswater, N.S., to the 229 people who died on board
the flight.
Heart-shaped rocks painted by a local resident were also left on
the memorial, one for every person who died on the flight, which was
bound for Geneva from New York on Sept. 2, 1998.

The plane crashed off the coast of Peggy's Cove as it tried to
land at Halifax airport after the pilot reported what he believed
was the smell of smoke in the cockpit.
Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald marked the anniversary with
a statement offering his prayers for the families of those who died,
and recalling how the province came together to help the families
after the crash.
“Nova Scotians did everything they possibly could in their
efforts to help in the recovery mission,'' he said.
“Ten years have come and gone since the crash, but no one should
forget the work done by so many people who helped in what was
clearly a tragic time.''
MacDonald said hundreds of Nova Scotians contributed to recovery
efforts, including fishermen and emergency workers, while others
provided comfort to grieving families of victims as they arrived in
Halifax.

Two memorials to the flight victims were established in the
province.
One memorial is located at Whalesback, near Peggy's Cove. Another
is near Bayswater Beach Provincial Park, where the remains of
victims are interred.
Flight 111 lifted off from New York's JFK International Airport
at 8:18 p.m. on that night with pilot Urs Zimmerman and co-pilot
Stephan Loew at the controls.

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The MD-11 immediately began tracking north along the coasts of
New England and Nova Scotia before veering across the Atlantic to
Europe.
The first 52 minutes of flight passed uneventfully. Then, with
the plane already in Canadian airspace, Loew caught what he thought
was the smell of smoke.
When they radioed air traffic control looking for a place to
land, they were told that Halifax was less than 200 kilometres away.
Zimmerman turned the wide-body jet and began the descent from
33,000 feet.

Over the next several minutes, as an electrical fire in the
ceiling over the cockpit spread, the pilots struggled to get the
aircraft on the ground.
Eventually over land just 31 kilometres from Halifax airport,
Zimmerman turned the aircraft back over the Atlantic Ocean to dump
fuel before attempting a final approach.
It's not known exactly what happened in the final six minutes of
the flight as the plane's electrical systems began to fail,
including the voice cockpit recorder.
Tracking of the stricken jet showed it flying a tight circle over
St. Margarets Bay before it disappeared.

The plane struck the water nose first at 10:31 p.m. AT, killing
everyone aboard instantly.