Saturday, September 5, 1998 Published at 02:38 GMT 03:38 UK
Switzerland mourns air crash dead
Relatives of the victims have travelled to the coast near the crash site
Saturday has been declared a day of national mourning in Switzerland, following the Swissair crash off Canada's east coast on Wednesday that killed 229 people.
On Friday afternoon, rescuers announced that there was now no hope of finding any survivors of the crash, and have turned their attention to establishing the causes of the disaster.
Many of them have visited the coast near the site of the crash to try and come to terms with the tragedy, and to begin the grim task of identifying their loved ones.
Swissair has offered immediate payouts of $20,000 to relatives ahead of any compensation due under international law.
The airline has also offered $3,000 in expenses to victims' families flying to Canada from Geneva, Zurich and New York.
Joe LaMotta, son of former middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta, was also on the aircraft.
Search for causes
Our correspondent Tom Carver reports that the United States Federal Aviation Authority issued a warning two years ago about faulty cockpit wiring in McDonnell Douglas MD-11s.
It was said that the faults might cause a fire if not rectified. It is not known whether Swissair acted on this warning.
Investigators said their work on Friday was being hampered by people taking unauthorised boats on to the crash site, apparently hunting for ghoulish souvenirs.
The airliner was en route from New York's John F Kennedy Airport to Geneva when it plunged into the sea just 10 minutes from Halifax airport.
Airline officials have told how the pilots issued frantic distress calls as smoke filled the cockpit.
Some passengers donned life vests during the several minutes before the jumbo jet crashed in choppy seas.
So far about 60 bodies have been retrieved along with a tragic cargo of debris including children's toys, sodden luggage and a water-swollen Bible.
Swissair said on Friday that 131 Americans were among the victims. The others who died included 30 French, 28 Swiss, six British, three Germans, three Italians and two Greeks.