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September 08, 1998 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-08

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6A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 8, 1998

NATION/WORLD

I

Divers closer to finding Swissair flights second black box

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) - A Canadian
navy submarine detected a signal yesterday
believed to be from the second black box
aboard Swissair Flight 111, boosting investiga-
tors' hopes of solving the mystery of the plane's
horrific crash.
Divers equipped with hand-held sonar
searched 190 feet underwater for the cockpit-
voice recorder, hoping to repeat Sunday's suc-
cess when they retrieved the other black box -
the flight-data recorder.
That device was sent to experts in Ottawa,
who were trying to determine if they could
retrieve the more than 100 types of information
it is designed to record.
Together, the two black boxes could be key in
explaining why the wide-bodied MD-11
crashed off Nova Scotia late Wednesday, killing
all 229 people on board.
The voice recorder, if intact, would reveal
other noises in the cockpit besides the pilots'
conversation with controllers, portions of
which were released Saturday. That conversa-
tion was cut off 10 minutes after the pilots
reported smoke in the cockpit and six minutes

Investigators hope to solve crash mystery

Divers also were trying to confirm if three
large pieces of wreckage found near the flight
data recorder are sections of the plane's fuse-
lage.
Although officials have declined to give an
updated figure of how many bodies have been
recovered, they have indicated that most remain
in the sea. Recovery of the fuselage also could
lead to recovery of many more bodies, officials
said.
The Geneva-bound Swissair plane crashed 16
minutes after the pilots reported the smoke and
decided to attempt an emergency landing more
than an hour after leaving New York's Kennedy
International Airport.
After reporting an emergency, the plane
started toward the Halifax airport, but made
two sharp turns as it tried to descend and dump
fuel.
Swissair officials say the plane couldn't
have made a direct approach to Halifax
because it was flying too high and was too
havv~ with 10 nnc of+'i'elThe alln w a ae

70 miles out of Halifax, bit the pilots would
have needed 130 miles to rrcke a direct land-
ing, Swissair said.
Alan Wolk, a U.S. pilot anl aviation lawyer,
said Sunday that Flight 111's pilot, Urs
Zimmermann, should have begn a direct emer-
gency descent sooner.
"The MD-II could have beta landed over-
weight without difficulty," Wk said. "We
have learned from aircraft fires listorically that
the only procedure that has a pracr of avoiding
an accident is the quickest possibt descent and
landing."
Two relatives of one victim edoed Wolk's
opinion yesterday as they visited Pggy's Cove,
the tiny fishing village closest to theceash scene.
Cheryl Klein and her brother, te, whose
father was killed, said they blamed tn pilot for
the crash.
"I think he wasted valuable time vhen he
made that big circle to dump (fud)," said
Cheryl Klein. "I think he should have .cst tried
to lan-"

Several hundred family members have come
to the area to visit Peggy's Cove, attend memo-
rial services and assist medical teams in trying
to identify hadly fragmented human remains
retrieved by searchers.
More than 1,400 military personnel are
involved in the search, and more than 200 stress
counselors have been assigned to support them
during their often grisly work.
"Some of ste stuff they're being exposed to
is truly horrible," said Mary Anne Murphy, a
Coast Guard spokesperson.
At the Shearwater military air base near
Halifax, relatives have been invited to look at
personal effects found by the search team.
Claire Mortimer of Berkeley, Calif., said she
went there hoping to find her stepmother's
ring, and instead found the wallet of her
father, former N ew York Times executive John
Mortimer,
"It was a very wrenching experience," she
said.
A memorial service was held late yesterday
for families and colleagues of Flight 1 l 's crew
at the Roman Catholic church in Kloten, next to
Zurich airport.

60

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