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Tuesday, September 15, 1998 Published at 02:32 GMT 03:32 UK

World: Americas

Swissair plane: Picasso painting, banknotes and diamonds aboard

Swissair says the airline's plane that crashed into the sea off eastern Canada twelve days ago (Sep 2) was carrying a painting by Picasso and a large amount of cash, watches and diamonds.

A Swissair spokesman in Zuerich said the Picasso picture -- "The Painter" -- had been destroyed; it was estimated to be worth around one-and-a-half-million dollars.

The spokesman said other valuables included nearly fifty kilos of banknotes, secured in a safe container, and more than five kilos of jewels and diamonds. (However, he did not say what currency the banknotes were in or how much the other valuables were worth.) The announcement came as a United States navy salvage ship prepared to begin lifting parts of the wreckage of the MD-Eleven jet from the bed of the ocean. (Investigators have already recovered the plane's voice and flight flight data recorders.

All two-hundred-and-twenty-nine people on board the Swissair plane died in the crash.) .

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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