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.

Throughout the service on the Swissair Memorial Website in Bayswater, N.S., Rev. Louis Quennelle of the Anglican Parish of Blandford advised the handfuls gathered for the ceremony that whereas the occasions on that night time have been tragic, they helped carry many communities and friendships collectively.

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

Relations 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 closing flight about eight kilometres offshore.

The catastrophe, which started with {an electrical} fireplace that unfold by the cockpit and brought on a catastrophic failure, finally led to improved security measures on planes, together with sure flammable supplies now not getting used on plane.

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

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“All of us as a bunch 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’d have been doing, due to our coaching,” he mentioned.

“Emotionally, there was a connection there.”

On the time, Quenelle was the native union’s president, and he mentioned 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,” mentioned Quenelle.

“There have been folks whose lives have been very irrevocably modified, and we have to bear 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, mentioned she’s heard of not 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 get better the our bodies of the victims should be coping with the psychological toll of their grisly obligation.

“This can be a tragedy as a lot because the airplane crash was a tragedy,” she mentioned, referencing one of many males who died by suicide. “I contemplate folks resembling (the person,) who took their very own lives because of their involvement within the Swissair website, to be a sufferer of Swissair as a lot as my father. These folks have to 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 Seashore, N.S. on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. Twenty years in the past the passenger jet crashed within the Atlantic Ocean on Interior 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 focuses on Submit Traumatic Stress Dysfunction remedy, mentioned she hopes to get in contact with first responders who labored on the website of the crash, in addition to anybody else in the neighborhood 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 occasions she considers it as a second dwelling.

She mentioned 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 mentioned, 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 under 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 change into one of many costliest and most complex 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 protecting, or MPET, within the ceiling. The report included 23 suggestions on all the pieces from flight recorders and materials flammability to in-flight firefighting and what pilots ought to do in the event that they scent smoke.

In a press release final week, Gerden mentioned 20 of these have led to improved security measures on planes.

“Maybe essentially the most important change is that sure flammable supplies resembling MPET are now not utilized in plane, decreasing the danger of in-flight fires,” he mentioned.

Additionally, air crew are actually skilled to “rapidly begin planning for quick touchdown till they’re assured there isn’t any fireplace menace to the plane or occupants” when smoke is detected.

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