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Swissair Tragedy


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Swiss residents grieve their country's loss



Jodie Turner
Lighthouse staff

 COUNTY - The crash of Flight 111 is particularly devastating to local Swiss residents.

 Matthias and Silvia Lange of Maplewood were alerted to the tragedy Thursday by early morning calls from Switzerland. The news triggered childhood memories of a Swissair crash near her home.

 "Isn't it awful," a subdued Silvia said in a Friday morning telephone interview. "A friend of mine called and asked if I had family on the plane. I asked what are you talking about? It was shocking."

 As soon as she hung up, in came another overseas call. "It was amazing how fast they would be calling and caring. I feel really bad for those who had family on the plane.

 "We have friends over there," she says. "I know they fly quite often from Switzerland to New York. I'm thinking since yesterday I should call and ask but I don't dare . . . this flight was a bankers' flight and we have a few friends who work for the bank . . . you start to think."

 She shares her recollections. "I was maybe seven or eight and I still remember that crash. It was a bomb attack. It was close to my home.

 "I can feel what the people in Peggy's Cove feel. It's scary . . . you hear the plane and boom. It's horrifying that over 200 people all at once have to die.

 "I hope those people who come over here will find some relief - that they can start to work out their grief.

 "I appreciate how the Nova Scotians do anything they can to comfort the relatives," Silvia says. "I don't think you can take this for granted. Something that makes Nova Scotia a good place to be is the caring people."

 Rainer Wipf of Garden Lots also received a call from friends in Switzerland Thursday morning. "We looked on the television," he says. "It was shocking.

 "Now we wonder why. I think we will know more when the black box is found. Until then we can wait and hope that it will be found in the next couple of days."

 Beatrice Juchli of Maitland heard about the crash on the 6 o'clock news Thursday morning.

 "That's a big disaster," she says. "Swissair is a really good company - they look after their airplanes. I was really shocked.

 "With smoke in the cockpit we're assuming electrical damage . . . cable fire or something like that."

 Beatrice is relieved her parents and parents-in-law are here "safe." She does, however, have an unsettling feeling she knows someone who was on board.

 "So many people," she says. "That's terrible. So close to Nova Scotia - it's very shocking for the people here."


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