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Switzerland holds memorial services for Flight 111 crash victims

Families, friends and relatives of those who died in the tragic Swissair Flight 111 attended memorial services and concerts in the Swiss cities of Geneva and Zurich on Friday to mark the anniversary of the crash off Nova Scotia a year ago.

This content was published on September 3, 1999 - 16:37

Families, friends and relatives of those who died in the tragic Swissair Flight 111 attended memorial services and concerts in the Swiss cities of Geneva and Zurich on Friday to mark the anniversary of the crash off Nova Scotia a year ago.

The 46,000 workers of the SAir Group, which includes Swissair, observed a minute of silence in memory of the 229 passengers and crew who died when the MD-11 aircraft plunged into the Atlantic.

The events wrapped up a series of memorial ceremonies, which began overseas.

Mourners in the port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, earlier held a candlelight vigil which included a Muslim chant and a Jewish song, gospel singing and a poem to a lost father.

Several hundred people -- fishermen, sailors, firefighters, rescue workers, airline employees, and government officials, many of whom participated in recovery activities -- joined relatives for the service at Halifax Citadel.

Amid the shadowy stone walls of the Citadel, the relatives held 229 candles, one for each person who died September 2, 1998, off the coast of the tiny fishing village of Peggy's Cove.

Many of the relatives thanked villagers for their help, both in recovery efforts and in comforting the grieving.

The group held a moment of silence at 10:31 p.m. -- the moment the out-of-control jumbo jet slammed into the Atlantic.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss were among those attending the memorial ceremonies.

Dreifuss expressed Switzerland’s thanks to all those involved in the rescue efforts, including the rescue teams and the government of Nova Scotia.

The vigil was part of a series of memorial ceremonies that began Wednesday with a private burial service at a new monument in the coastal hamlet of Bayswater, where about two dozens coffins holding mostly unidentified remains of the victims were buried.

From staff and wire reports.


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