September 2, 2008 was the 10th anniversary of Swissair Flight 111 disaster in the Atlantic Ocean just off Peggy’s Cove (about 40 minutes outside of Halifax). It is one of those events where anyone who was in the region at the time, can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they found out. The 10th anniversary was a solemn event and the events of that day and their aftermath strike many Nova Scotians to their core; especially those volunteers and fisherman that aided with the recovery efforts.

The resulting investigation by Transportation Safety Board (TSB) took nearly 5 years to complete and cost nearly 39 million dollars CDN ((http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/aircrash/dissection.html)) . TSB Investigation Chronology A very short summary is that the TSB concluded that the inclusion of flammable materials in the construction of the plane (particularly insulation and wiring) contributed to a fire breaking out in within the structure of the plane which could not be brought under control. The report itself is available at the TSB website. As well as the TSB Recommendations and Assessments. Of particular interest are the recommendations and assessments which have received an “unsatisfactory” rating from the TSB with regards to the airline industry following up on the recommendations. In particular, these recommendations have to do with inflammable material in the construction of the aircraft and the information collected by black boxes. On the anniversary of the disaster CBC.ca posted a story on these failures. The failure of the industry to act on the recommendations regarding inflammable materials is especially disturbing. Here’s hoping these have been acted upon well before the too many anniversaries of the disaster go by.

More info:

Nature of Things story on Swissair 111

CBC Digital Archives from 1998

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