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Swissair Tragedy


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Nova Scotians extend helping hand to families




Lighthouse staff

 HALIFAX - Nova Scotians are doing everything they can to assist grieving family members of the 229 passengers aboard Swissair Flight 111.

 Thursday afternoon, less than 20 hours after the late-night crash, Premier Russell MacLellan promised that families and friends would be accorded every consideration possible while in the province.

 "Nova Scotians know we cannot lessen their sorrow, but we want to do whatever we can to comfort and assist those who suffered a personal loss," the premier said in a news release.

 Immediate efforts included securing translators for families who needed them, setting up a special customs area at Halifax International Airport and arranging for provincial representatives to accompany and assist each family. Halifax Tourism also worked with Swissair and Delta airlines to book about 1,000 hotel rooms for the families, airline officials and crash investigators.

 As the grim task of recovering bodies and debris continued in the days following the disaster, aided by volunteers from all along the South Shore and beyond, still more people were looking for ways to help. One woman in Peggy's Cove offered to let as many as 60 people stay in her home if necessary. Others even asked this newspaper's offices for contact numbers to volunteer to do whatever they could. One woman, fluent in several languages, was offering to babysit the children of the families to give parents time to grieve.

 Hundreds of inshore fishermen and boat owners helped with recovery efforts along the coastline and waters off Peggy's Cove. People brought food and blankets to emergency workers while churches opened their doors to comfort the grieving.

 "All Nova Scotians, I know, stand ready to offer support," Premier MacLellan said Thursday.

 The province also moved to assist the investigation and clean-up in whatever ways possible. Environment department staff were on site assessing requirements to clean up an estimated 200 tonnes of jet fuel in St. Margarets Bay. Natural Resources transported stretchers to CFB Shearwater where the temporary morgue was set up, while workers from Transportation and Public Works built autopsy rooms.


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