TWICE AS FAR

 

SWISSAIR 111

CRASH INVESTIGATION

 

 

 

- EXTRACT FROM FILE NOTES -

 

 

FOR

- 2000 MAR 24 -

 

00-03-24          0700    Morning routine.  Found out that Mike GOODALL died last night.  As a member of the DND, he has worked in the hangar for the past six to ten months.  He was diagnosed with Leukaemia several weeks ago, but died last night in hospital of other complications.  He was a really nice guy and will be missed.

            Set up and completed the wire shorting for the seawater test.  Larry FOGG did the shorting, John GARSTANG was present and checked each result.  I controlled the exhibits and ran the video.  Each wire pair was recorded with the appropriate test number, and the test number was then recorded on the video at the beginning of each test.  During each test, the circuit breaker had to be frequently reset.  Once completed, the wires were set to one side on one of the shelves, and later they were individually packaged in exhibit bags.  The following table lists the pairs of wires and the test number as indicated on the videotape. 

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            Later in the afternoon, each wire was individually heated with a propane torch to remove the coating, and each was then cooled by air or water according to the schedule set up in the plan.  Andy KERR had provided a plastic bucket of seawater and this was used to water-cool those wires that required it.  It is interesting to note that during the heating process of the non-shorted end, I was able to produce copper beads on the individual strands with the heat of the torch.  The results looked very much similar to that which we have seen on some of the aircraft wire melts.  I brought this to the attention of John GARSTANG who was not surprised to see that the wires could melt, after all the copper melting point is about 1350 deg F.  But he was surprised to see such good quality round beads.  When I pointed out that they looked similar to those we have seen on some of the aircraft wires, he suggested that it is unlikely the aircraft melts were formed by heat from an external source versus heat from an internal electrical short circuit.  Aluminiumís melting point is lower than that of copper, so if copper melted, then so did aluminium.  We have aluminium melts only in one area, at the forward emergency battery box.  As well, we have no indication of a melt through in the skin.  However, I pointed out that to look at the skin and frame material, there are a lot of missing areas.  As for the melted aluminium, these could easily have been missed in the sorting process at Sheet Harbour.  After all, if an incendiary device had been used, it would only have been in one area, and anything melted would have been minimal.  It was also noted that the small wires were easily heated, and care had to be used or they would melt away.

            Just before lunch, we were called into a meeting that had been ongoing between LATHEM and GERDEN.  Included now were COOPER, KERR, STOTHARD, LONDON, & myself.  The TSB is making a presentation for funding to Treasury Board for the new fiscal year, but they cannot justify including some of our expenses.  It ended up that they could justify the data entry, Ident, and logistical support at the front end, but could not justify the investigators at the back office.  It was also argued that they did not need the same quality of Ident work as has been performed in the past.  They do not need positive physical matches, etc.  Vic GERDEN stated that their standards are less because they do not have to attend court.  They feel that their legislation will keep them from giving evidence, and they will never have to justify their findings.  They donít care if they do not find a cause; only clear up any potential safety problems.  They feel that they never have to worry about being wrong in their findings, because there are always a number of causes to every accident.  They then persuade the companies to make changes voluntarily instead of forcing an issue.  Therefore, they never have to be accountable for their findings.  Some way of doing business!  We also learned that the FORCE has decreed that it will not fund our work and that the money has to come from the TSB.  If the TSB cannot pay for us to be there, then we are out.  It sure doesnít make you feel very good about the support from management.  Here all along I thought that we were there to keep an eye on a potential criminal source.  I guess I missed something along the way.  It was also suggested to GERDEN that our findings could strengthen the final report of the TSB in showing that all avenues of a criminal matter were investigated.  I stated that because we can provide physical matches on the frame from nose to 1st class, that then proves the burn patterns and provides credibility to their position.  They stated that they did not need it, that their credibility will never be in question because they will never be in court.  Even LATHEM questioned GERDEN on this point, and he stuck to his belief that they will never go to court, so they will never have to provide proof of the matter in question. 

            It ended after about 1.5 hrs of discussion, most of which was about matters of finances that we have no way of influencing, let alone making a decision on.  LATHEM is going to try to get some money out of the FORCE, but he is not optimistic.  I can see KERRís front office group, COOPERís computer group, and me (alone) hanging in there until September, and then shutting it down with the material of importance going to Ottawa.  From pervious discussions, they want the frames in Ottawa so that they can show it off to any visiting dignitaries and groups.  After all, this is their ďBig OneĒ.

            But one has to remember that when this all began, we didnít know what we were getting into, in more ways than one.  We set up the SOPís to cover off the potential of a criminal investigation.  As far as I am concerned, the criminal part of the investigation still has not yet been ruled out, certainly not from the physical evidence, even though the mandarins in Ottawa may have done so.

            It now seems doubtful that the FIB process will be conducted.  We may not even be around to protest the grinding of the beads.  It even is doubtful that the seawater test wires will be examined.  By what LATHEM says, there is no money for it from our side.  By what VANCE tends to indicate, they only have limited resources.  They will not want to waste their money on what they feel are needless tests.





 

 

 

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