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Swissair Tragedy

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Residents shocked at sound of Swissair crash

Mark Roberts
Lighthouse staff

 COUNTY - Little Tancook Island resident Carol Green is still having trouble sleeping after listening to Swissair Flight 111 crash just a few miles from her home.

 At 10:25 p.m., she was lying in bed with her three-year-old granddaughter when she first heard the airplane.

 "I have a sister in Bridgewater who has a heart condition so I call her every night. I was talking to her and all of a sudden I could hear the plane. My sister could even hear it on the telephone, that's how loud it was. I said by the sound of this it would take the roof off the house. It didn't sound right but I never dreamed the plane was the size it was." She then heard a hissing noise, which she believes may have been the pilot expelling jet fuel.

 Mrs. Green said, "I believed right there the plane was going to crash. It was 10:25. I looked at my digital clock. I said that plane is going to crash and all of a sudden everything went quiet."

 Minutes later, she said, the jet returned.

 "All of a sudden I heard this big bang. The house trembled, the bed trembled and my granddaughter, who was sleeping, jumped up and asked, 'what was that?' The waterbed shook. Even my pictures were crooked on the walls. I looked out and couldn't see anything." It was 10:36 p.m. She dialled the RCMP and discovered her analysis was correct.

 Both she and her granddaughter have been emotionally affected by the disaster, she said. "Every time a plane flies over she runs and hides between the fridge and stove. She won't go outside of the house now. That's how terrified she is."

 Mrs. Green, who began to cry, said, "I tell you I never want to experience that again. I never dreamed it was the size it was. It's a terrible thing, a horrific thing to happen. I can't even stay in the house now by myself. I'm that terrified. I had to go over to my daughter's again. Nobody knows what this has done to me."

 She said she listened to her VHF during the night search. She heard fishermen describing bodies, and parts of bodies, some breaking down at what they were viewing.

 The worst memory, however, she said, is what happened to the passengers and crew of the jet.

 "I can't close my eyes because I can see the picture of the plane. I never want to experience this again. This is the worst thing, knowing something like this happened so close to your doorstep. It's terrible. I sat on the shore yesterday and said a few little prayers for them. My heart goes out to these people."

 Bayswater resident Alberta Martin and her husband were watching the news on television when they first heard the airplane. "We lowered the sound on the TV and both of us listened to what it was. It was an awful sound, the engine was choppy, so we we first thought it was a low-flying helicopter."

 Approximately two or three minutes later, she said, the jet plummeted into the sea.

 "It didn't sound like an explosion. It sounded like a punch or impact sound. I thought something had hit the house. I searched the house, the yard and I even checked the deck and the roof. I was absolutely sure something impacted on our house."

 She continued, "As soon as I finished inspecting the house, I looked to the sky. I can see Peggy's Cove from here and the glow of Halifax from the deck and I would have clearly seen any fire on the ocean. I didn't see anything."

 Her daughter telephoned a few minutes later to make sure her parents were safe.

 Then, Mrs. Martin said, emergency crews began pouring into the community. "I knew something terrible had happened and it seemed like forever before they found anything. Finally, I saw the two flares and realized it was from across the water."

 Locally, she said, people were frustrated by the long search because they believed there were survivors.

 "All of us were frustrated because they couldn't find anything and because we thought people needed help. We just automatically believed someone was alive."

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