A few facts and figures about the crash of Swissair Flight 111 off Nova Scotia

By The Canadian Press

HALIFAX – Some facts and figures about the Sept. 2, 1998, crash of Swissair Flight 111:

Type of plane: McDonnell Douglas 11, or MD-11, manufactured by Boeing.

Flight route: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Geneva, Switzerland.

Number of people on board: 215 passengers and 14 crew.

Some people on board: Well-known AIDS researcher Jonathan Mann; Pierce Gerety of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees; Yves De Roussan, a UNICEF adviser; Ingrid Acevedo, public relations director for UNICEF.

Cargo on board: A diamond from a “Nature of Diamonds” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, one kilogram of other diamonds, 4.5 of jewelry, 49 kilograms of cash, a version of Picasso’s Le Peintre priced at $2.2 million.

Location of the crash: About 10 kilometres southwest of Peggy’s Cove, N.S.

Number of people involved in recovery: 2,800

Material recovered: 126,554 kilograms of aircraft material, representing 98 per cent of the structural weight of the aircraft. More than 18,144 kilograms of cargo was also recovered.

Crash cause: Investigators concluded that a fire started when an arcing wire — a phenomenon in which a wire’s coating is corroded and can lead to sparking — ignited a flammable insulation covering in the ceiling. Metalized Mylar insulation was found to be significant factor in the spread of fire. The RCMP found no evidence to support the involvement of any explosive or incendiary device, or other criminal act in the initiation of the in-flight fire. The pilots were cleared of wrongdoing.

Changes afterward: Shortly after a 1999 Transportation Safety Board report, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration require an inspection of all MD-11 aircraft for wiring discrepancies, and the Air Transport Association was asked to introduce new rules for more accurate tracking of specific wire-related problems and anomalies.

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