Swissair Crash Probe Completed
Thu Aug 29, 9:57 PM ET
By TOM COHEN, Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) - Canadian investigators have sent out a draft
report on the 1998 Swissair crash off Nova Scotia, completing their
probe almost four years after the accident that killed all 229
people on board.
Transportation Safety Board spokesman John Cottreau said Thursday
the confidential report was distributed to all involved parties this
month for comment.
The final report was expected to be made public early next year,
said Cottreau, who declined to discuss any details of the draft
"The data collection and investigation has concluded," he said.
"Now we're into the confidential draft report phase."
Jean Overney, head of the Swiss investigation office, confirmed
the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation received a copy of the
draft report. Overney said no official comment would come until the
final report gets published.
Swissair Flight 111 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean en route from
New York to Geneva on Sept. 2, 1998. Pilots reported smoke in the
cockpit 53 minutes into the trip, and the electrical systems began
failing 15 minutes later.
Cottreau called the investigation the largest ever conducted by
Canada's transportation safety board. Investigators used 2 million
pieces of recovered wreckage, some as small as a dollar coin, to
partially reconstruct the MD-11 jetliner.
Asked why it took almost four years to conclude the
investigation, Cottreau said the board takes however much time is
required to complete its work.
Swissair went out of business in October 2001, shortly after the
Sept. 11 attacks in the United States that crippled the air travel
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.
An earlier recommendation by investigators noted safety problems
with the plane's insulation blankets, which have been suspected of
spreading fire. The FAA (
web sites) in the United States responded by requiring removal
of the insulation blankets from all U.S.-registered MD-11 aircraft.
In March, a U.S. federal judge dismissed claims for punitive
damages for families of victims of the Swissair crash.
On the Net:
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