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Swissair crash investigation completed

Canadian investigators have completed their probe into the crash of Swissair plane off the coast of Nova Scotia, which killed all 229 people on board.

This content was published on August 30, 2002 - 08:22

Four year after the accident, a draft report has been circulated to all involved parties - the final report is expected to be made public early next year.

Jean Overney, head of the Swiss investigation office, confirmed that the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation had received a copy of the draft report.

He said no official comment would be made until the final report is published.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board said the confidential report had been sent to all involved parties this month for comment.

"The data collection and investigation has concluded," said spokesman, John Cottreau. "Now we're into the confidential draft report phase."

He refused to give any details of the report.

Swissair Flight 111 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean en route from New York to Geneva on September 2, 1998. Pilots reported smoke in the cockpit 53 minutes into the trip, and the electrical systems began to fail 15 minutes later.

Wreckage

Cottreau called the investigation the largest ever conducted by Canada's transportation safety board. Investigators used two million pieces of recovered wreckage, some as small as a coin, to partially reconstruct the MD-11 jetliner.

The investigation has determined a fire in the ceiling at the front of the plane caused the crash. Investigators focused their probe on charred wiring, but have yet to say what caused the fire.

Two years ago, the Canadian safety board recommended that airlines do a better job of training and equipping crews to detect and fight fires on planes.

In March, a United States federal judge dismissed claims for punitive damages for families of victims of the Swissair crash.

Swissair went out of business in October 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks in the United States that crippled the air travel industry worldwide.

swissinfo with agencies

Swissair crash

All 229 people on board were killed when Flight 111 crashed four years ago.
Pilots reported smoke in the cockpit 53 minutes after takeoff from New York.
Investigators said earlier the crash was caused by a fire.
A US judge refused to allow victims' families to sue for punitive damages.
Swissair went out of business shortly after the September 11 attacks.
It was relaunched as "Swiss" last April.

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