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Swiss TV won't broadcast Swissair crash film

16 Sep 2011, 14:25

Published: 16 Sep 2011 14:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Sep 2011 14:25 GMT+02:00

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Swiss television (SF) has decided not to broadcast a documentary about a Swissair crash that left 229 people dead in Canada in 1998 after controversial new allegations emerged that it may have been caused by a terrorist attack.

SF co-researched and funded the documentary with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which puts forward the theory that the Swissair SR-111 crash in the Atlantic Ocean near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on September 2nd 1998 was not the result of a burnt cable, but was deliberate.

Swiss journalist Fritz Muri carried out extensive research working closely with the Canadian broadcaster, according to Blick newspaper.

All 229 passengers and crew died in the tragic plane crash, including a Saudi prince and a relative of the late Shah of Iran.

A four-year official investigation carried out by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada, which cost US$39 million found that the crash was probably caused by an electrical fault that ignited the insulation on board. 

However, the CBC documentary suggests a terrorist attack was to blame and that investigators tried to cover this up.

The Swissair 111 plane took off from New York and was heading to Geneva when it got into trouble on Canada’s eastern coast and smoke appeared in the cockpit.

In the cargo hold was half a billion dollars worth of gold, diamonds and cash, according to CBC. It is not clear what happened to the stash.

“Swissair 111: the untold story“ will be broadcast by the investigative programme The Fifth Estate on CBC at 9pm ADT (Atlantic Daylight Time) on Friday.

Presenting the new allegations on the CBC homepage, The Fifth Estate says: “Years later, the crash of Swissair 111 in 1998 remains one of Canada’s greatest tragedies. Now new disturbing information raises questions about the official cause of the disaster.“

When questioned by Blick newspaper about SF’s reasons for not broadcasting the documentary it helped to produce, SF editor-in-chief Diego Yanez said:

“Previous research results do not justify broadcasting at this moment in time. It is not our task to spread speculation.“

Yanez confirmed that SF would broadcast the film only when they have conducted their own research into the new evidence.

Swiss viewers have complained in online forums that they should be allowed to watch the programme that was co-funded by the TV licence fee they paid.

However, the documentary will still be available to watch from Switzerland via the internet on CBC online from 4am on Saturday after it has been broadcast on CBC television.

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