On the 25th Anniversary of the Swissair Tragedy

Friday, September 1, 2023

This weekend, Nova Scotians remember the 229 souls that were lost when Swissair Flight 111 tragically went down near the entrance of St. Margaret’s Bay. We also pause to honour the service and sacrifices of over 2,800 individuals who participated in search, rescue, and recovery efforts. They include members of Operation Persistence, staff at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Halifax, and local fishermen.

For all involved, the days following the accident were filled with anticipation and devastation. Family members and residents anxiously waited for news of survivors. When it became known that all passengers and crew members had perished, grief echoed in households around the globe. Thousands of individuals were united by disbelief and struggled under the weight of enormous loss.  

In the face of this tragedy, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary resources, Veterans, first responders, the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, and community members persevered in their efforts. Each individual, regardless of organizational affiliation, was united by one goal: to provide closure to the families of passengers and crew members. 

There are no words to adequately thank those who participated in the search and rescue response, the recovery operation, and subsequent investigations. Each of you were placed in unimaginable circumstances and chose to selflessly provide support to hundreds of families, many of whom you had never met. All Nova Scotians and individuals touched by Swissair Flight 111 take strength from your legacy of bravery and integrity. When we feel that our will is failing, we remember your example and gain a renewed sense of endurance and purpose. 

To those who lost family members and loved ones, there are no words that will ever fill the absence that has resulted from this tragedy. Know that the memory of each passenger and crew member has been etched in our hearts and will be remembered by Nova Scotians for years to come. 

Patsy and I keep the individuals personally and professionally connected to Swissair Flight 111 in our thoughts over the coming days. We hope that this weekend is a time for remembrance, healing, and peace.