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Friday, September 4, 1998 Published at 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK


World: Americas

Second plane in 'cockpit smoke' emergency

Canadian police sort debris from the Swissair crash

Only hours after the Swissair disaster a second plane had to make an emergency landing off the Candian Atlantic coast when smoke filled its cockpit, it has been revealed.

Swissair flight 111 crashed into the sea off Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Wednesday.

Just 36 hours later, a Royal Airlines Boeing 757 from Toronto to Glasgow was forced to land at Goose Bay military base in Newfoundland.

No one was reported hurt.

'Pretty shaken up'

Colonel Doug Langdon at the base described the mood of the passengers.

"Getting on a flight so soon after what happened was probably a strain for some people and then to have smoke in the cockpit of the aeroplane you're on - they're pretty shaken up."

A spokesman for the Canadian Transportation Safety Board said the chances of two planes reporting smoke in the cockpit within two days of each other was extremely rare.

But one passenger told reporters that she was not taking any chances.

She said she was not getting back on the the original plane and was going to find another way to get back to Scotland.

Scottish passenger Irene Cadona said she had thought the plane "didn't sound right" when it took off from Toronto.

"Then, three hours into the journey, we were told we were making an emergency landing and to take the emergency position.

"It took about half-an-hour to come down," she said.

"It was the same as the plane the night before, in the same place. We were frightened, very frightened. The whole plane was frightened," she added.

Crew's tears

John Burns, from Newcastle upon Tyne, described the moment when everyone knew they were in trouble.

"One of the smoke alarms went off in the aircraft and the crew started taking the food trays away very quickly, and the look on their faces told the story that they were worried," he said.

Others said the flight attendants were in tears, and one that they were "literally throwing the dishes and the food in the compartment".

A Canadian woman who had her 15-week-old baby with her added: "When they were in tears, I thought it was time for me to be in tears too."

The plane's captain, David Muralt, said the Canadian-run charter would have a repair team there shortly.

It is not yet known what went wrong.



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