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Experts look into whether faulty cockpit-lamps caused Swissair MD 11 crash

Canadian crash investigators are examining a theory that faulty lamps in the cockpit led to the 1998 Swissair disaster in which 229 people were killed. The plane went down near Halifax on the Canadian coast. The picture shows a Swissair MD11 cockpit.

This content was published on March 19, 2000 - 08:03

Canadian crash investigators are examining a theory that faulty lamps in the cockpit led to the 1998 Swissair disaster in which 229 people were killed. The plane went down off the Canadian coast. The picture shows a Swissair MD11 cockpit.

According to the SonntagsBlick newspaper, Swissair technicians drew the investigators' attention to the possibility of faulty lamps burning and spreading the heat through the cockpit. Swissair spokesman, Jean-Claude Donzel confirmed that "...some of the insulation layers (belonging to two new halogen lamps in the cockpit) have left traces of burning." The lamps are normally used by pilots to read maps.

The pilots of the doomed MD 11 plane had reported smoke in the cockpit just before the plane went down into the Atlantic Ocean near the Canadian town of Halifax.

Donzel said however, "Nothing has been proved, the theory of the halogen lamps is one of many."

According to a report in the New York Times, investigators say they are still far from finding an explanation for the crash.

The manufacturers of the lamps, Boeing, have since ordered all airlines to check the lamps thoroughly every time they are changed, and to wrap fire-proof bands around the insulation layers.

swissinfo and agencies

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