Swissair Flight 111 - Legacy

Legacy

A memorial service was held in Zürich. The following year a memorial service was held in Nova Scotia.

Two memorials to those who died in the crash have been established by the Government of Nova Scotia. One is to the east of the crash site at The Whalesback, a promontory one kilometre (0.6 mile) north of Peggys Cove. The second memorial is a more private but much larger commemoration located west of the crash site near Bayswater Beach Provincial Park on the Aspotogan Peninsula in Bayswater. Here, the unidentified remains of the victims are interred. A fund was established to fund maintenance of the memorials and the government passed an act to recognize them. Various other charitable funds were also created, including one in the name of a young victim from Louisiana, Robert Martin Maillet, which provides money for children in need.

In September 1999 Swissair, Delta and Boeing (who had acquired McDonnell Douglas through a merger in 1997) agreed to share liability for the accident and offered the families of the passengers financial compensation. The offer was rejected in favour of a $19.8 billion suit against Swissair and DuPont, the supplier of Mylar insulation sheathing. A US federal court dismissed the claim in February 2002.

Two paintings, including the "Le Peintre" (the Painter) by Pablo Picasso, were on board the aircraft and were destroyed in the accident.

At the time of the accident, no other trijet airliner was in production aside from the doomed aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11. Boeing, which had merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, still produced the MD-11 as a freighter; the last passenger version was delivered in 1998 to Sabena. The last MD-11 overall was delivered to Lufthansa Cargo in 2001, as a freighter.

After the crash, the flight route designator for Swissair's New York-Geneva route was changed to Flight 139, still using an MD-11. After Swissair's bankruptcy in 2002, the flight designator was changed again to Flight LX 023, now operated by an Airbus A330-300.

Since the crash, there have been many television documentaries on Flight 111, including the CBC's The Fifth Estate, "The Investigation of Swissair 111", PBS's NOVA "Aircrash", and episodes of disaster shows like History Channel's Disasters of the Century and Discovery Channel's Mayday. NOVA created a classroom activity kit for school teachers using the crash as an example of an aircraft crash investigation.

In May 2007 the TSB released copies of the audio recordings of the air traffic control transmissions associated with the flight. The transcripts of these recordings had been released in 1998 (within days of the crash), but the TSB had refused to release the audio on privacy grounds. The TSB argued that under Canada's Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, the audio recordings constituted personal information and were thus not disclosable. Canada's Federal Court of Appeal rejected this argument in 2006, in a legal proceeding concerned with air traffic control recordings in four other air accidents. The Supreme Court of Canada did not grant leave to appeal that decision, and consequently the TSB released a copy of the Swissair 111 air traffic control audio recordings to Canadian Press, which had requested them under the Access to Information Act. Several key minutes of the air traffic control audio can be found on the Toronto Star web site.

Read more about this topic:  Swissair Flight 111

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