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Canadian broadcaster criticised for film about Swiss plane crash

The memorial at Peggy's Cove for Flight 111 victims. Keystone

A Canadian television channel - CTV - has come under criticism for broadcasting a film based on the Swissair flight 111 disaster in which all 229 people on board were killed just over two years ago.

“Blessed Stranger” is a fictionalised account of a friendship which develops between a local fisherman and a wealthy American woman whose teenage daughter was one of the victims of the crash off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

CTV describes the film as “the moving story of two strangers brought together by tragedy” after the fisherman retrieves from the sea a sweater which belonged to the daughter.

Among those opposed to “Blessed Stranger” were inhabitants of Peggy’s Cove, the small Nova Scotia village which was the base of rescue operations shortly after the plane went down. Pressure from residents during filming last summer forced the CTV crew to shoot scenes in another bay along the coast.

Swissair and the Canadian authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the crash.

The film has not yet been seen by officials at Swissair headquarters near Zurich, but a spokesman there told swissinfo: “As long as we don’t know what really happened it is not worth making a film about what might have happened. It’s pure speculation.”

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR