Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss are expected to attend Thursday’s public memorial ceremony marking the anniversary of the tragic Swissair Flight 111 crash off Nova Scotia.This content was published on September 2, 1999 - 12:49
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss are expected to attend Thursday’s public memorial ceremony marking the anniversary of the tragic Swissair Flight 111 crash off Nova Scotia.
At the ceremony in Halifax, Dreifuss will express Switzerland’s thanks to all those involved in the rescue efforts, including the rescue teams and the government of Nova Scotia.
All 215 passengers and 14 crew were killed when the MD-11 aircraft on a flight from New York to Geneva plunged into the Atlantic, about 10 kilometres from Peggy’s Cove.
“I would like to thank all the people of this area, too, for their united support and their warmth, for making the families and friends of the victims welcome, and for offering comfort and support,” Dreifuss says in her speech, released a few hours before the commemorative ceremony at a convention centre in Halifax.
There will also be an interfaith candlelight ceremony at the Citadel Hill overlooking the port city, and at 22:31 local Canadian time, the exact time of impact, there will be a minute of silence.
Hundreds of relatives and friends had gathered for solemn burial services on Wednesday.
An estimated 650 mourners, many carrying wreaths or flowers, attended the memorial in Bayswater, near Peggy’s Cove, before three bronze coffins containing the remains of some of those who died in the crash on September 2, 1998.
The coffins were carried by pallbearers made up of Canadian search and rescue professionals.
The coffins joined 24 others buried at the site marked by a smooth granite wall engraved with the names of 227 people who died. The relatives of two victims requested that their names be left off the memorial.
Another monument, a massive granite rock split in two and featuring three notches as a symbolic reminder of Flight 111, was unveiled at nearby Whalesback.
The private burials were closed to the media and public but government representatives and search and rescue workers who aided in recovery efforts after the crash also participated in the dedication.
Community volunteers, such as fishermen who were among the first to reach the crash site, also attended.
From staff and wire reports.
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