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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK

World: Americas

Swissair crash: insulation fed fire

Canadian air safety investigators say they believe they have found one of the causes of the crash of a Swissair flight which went down off the east coast of Canada last September, killing all two-hundred and twenty-nine people on board.

The investigators say an insulating material used in the aircraft to protect it from cold and noise was flammable, and helped spread the fire which brought the plane down. The jet -- an MD-11 belonging to Swissair -- plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on its way from New York to Geneva. Soon after the Canadian announcement, the federal aviation administration in Washington ordered the owners of some seven-hundred aircraft to replace the material known as metalised Mylar with new insulation within the next four years.

It estimates the cost of the operation at more than two-hundred-and-fifty-million dollars.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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