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Airplane crash and community response


The crash of Swiss Air Flight 111 required a widespread, coordinated community response. It was a disaster that changed the community of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia forever. On September 2, 1998, Swissair Flight 111 was a scheduled international passenger flight from New York City to Geneva, Switzerland. Unfortunately it never made it. The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Halifax International Airport, 8 kilometres from shore, just off the tiny fishing and tourist communities of Peggy's Cove and Bayswater. All 229 passengers and crew on board were killed, making it the the deadliest McDonnell Douglas MD-11 accident in aviation history. In the hours and days that followed, the search and rescue response, recovery operation, and investigation by the Government of Canada took more than four years and $57 million CAD. The investigation carried out by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) concluded that flammable material used in the aircraft's structure allowed a fire to spread beyond the control of the crew, resulting in the crash of the aircraft. In this episode, we speak with John Webb, who was in charge of Emergency Social Services for the Government of Nova Scotia at that time about what happened, how the community coped, and how it changed many individuals and families forever. While many communities don't like to think about responding to a major airline crash, it is something they need to plan for. They can also learn a lot from those who have been on the front lines, particularly the psychosocial impacts that linger far after the clean up is complete, and the media have moved on to another story.



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