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Saturday, September 5, 1998 Published at 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK

World: Americas

Scenes of sorrow at Peggy's Cove

A bouquet left at the entrance to Peggy's Cove

BBC News Online's Neil Everton reports from Peggy's Cove

A single figure, dwarfed by a lighthouse, standing on giant boulders, gazing out to sea.

The first of the relatives arrived at Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia to be near the spot where Swissair Flight 111 ended beneath 50 metres of ocean.

[ image: A grieving relative seeks consolation]
A grieving relative seeks consolation
The weather provided fog to suit the sombre mood. As the first of the family members stared out across the Atlantic, the fog thickened.

It softened the outlines and muffled the engines of boats still searching for signs of the airplane.

While some chose quietly to stand alone with their thoughts and their memories, others hugged and wept and consoled each other.

However the relatives expressed their sorrow, waiting for them were teams of volunteers trained in grief and bereavement counselling.

The Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army, local social workers - all were there to do what they could.

Among them was the pastor of Peggy's Cove, the Reverend Richard Walsh. There was no text book for this kind of task, he said. All you could do was be there for people and react to their needs.

"Being there" is the task the people of Nova Scotia have taken upon themselves. Some 2,000 of them have offered their homes, their cars, their friendship to the families of the 229 victims of the disaster.

[ image: Salvation Army: on hand to help]
Salvation Army: on hand to help
And everyone is still asking "what happened to flight 111?" There is still no trace of the aircraft's two flight data recorders - the so-called black boxes.

But a clearer picture of the last moments of the airplane should soon emerge.

Crash investigators will issue a map of its final movements, and possibly transcripts of conversations between the pilot and air traffic control.

That map may clarify suggestions that the plane actually overflew Halifax airport once and then circled back over the ocean - and out over Peggy's Cove.

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