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Swissair Tragedy


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Auxiliary, fishermen integral part of search



Mark Roberts
Lighthouse staff

 COUNTY - The role of South Shore volunteers is being lauded around the world for good reason.

 Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Maritimes operations officer Harris Backman said during an interview last week eight to 10 auxiliary vessels and 30 to 40 members as well as local fishermen were involved in the search for survivors from Swissair Flight 111.

 The auxiliary was dispatched at approximately 11 p.m. September 2 through the Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax.

 At approximately 1 a.m., he said, large amounts of debris were found, although bits and pieces were found earlier in the night.

 Mr. Backman said some of the volunteers stayed awake for 30 to 40 hours during the search. "The effort was 100 per cent from the fishermen, the firefighters and the Coast Guard Auxiliary."

 In the 21 years he has been involved with the auxiliary, he added, "This was the worst we've dealt with here.

 "It was worse than what people expected but it was a situation we had to deal with. We had to carry on and search for survivors and do the best we could. When you're out there, you try to keep your mind away from what you're looking at and continue until you're shut down. Everybody has to deal with it in their own special way."


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