On This Day — The Crash of Swissair Flight 111 & The Mystery of the Lost Picasso (September 2 1998) [2019]

“There was sufficient grounds to suspect a criminal device on that plane. I am convinced that the investigation was improperly done.”

Retired RCMP sergeant Tom Juby — Arson investigator assigned to the Swissair file

“RCMP, DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) and the Coast Guard conducted patrols of the area to maintain security of the scene. If someone tried to enter the area, they could have been charged with obstruction under the Criminal Code, or perhaps other offences under the various federal acts that might apply. Once the restrictions were lifted, the RCMP would not be aware of people going to the area to search for valuables, as it would not have been an offence or a police matter. This continues to be the case.”

Nova Scotia RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Jennifer Clarke

“There was a lot of talk about it after the crash, that there had been all these valuables on board. That was a big deal. Somewhere down at the bottom of the ocean, theoretically, are those diamonds.”

Stephen Kimber — Author of the book Flight 111: A Year in the Life of a Tragedy.

“Usually those kind of paintings are sent in some kind of wooden construction that is really not a shock-proof container. We don’t know for sure but we assume that because of the heavy impact it was probably destroyed.”

Urs Peter Naef — a spokesperson for Swissair

“Le Peintre” (The Painter), by famed artist Pablo Picasso, was lost in the crash of Swissair Flight 111 off Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on Sep 2, 1998.

September 2 2019 — On September 2 1998, Swissair Flight 111 hit the water off the hamlet of Peggy’s Cove (Nova Scotia)  killing all 229 passengers and crew on board instantly.  According to the plane’s manifest, Flight 111 was also transporting a diamond from a Nature of Diamonds exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, one kilogram of other diamonds, about 4.5 kilograms of other jewellery, 49 kilograms of cash, and a multimillion-dollar version of Picasso’s Le Peintre. None of these was ever recovered. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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The crash of Flight 111 was one of the worst tragedies not attributed to terrorism in aviation history.

The ultimate cause was determined to be an electrical fire caused by a faulty wire.

Along with 215 passengers and 14 crew members, Swissair Flight 111 had been transporting a spectacular—and spectacularly valuable—inventory of cargo.

According to Stephen Kimber — Author of the book Flight 111: A Year in the Life of a Tragedy — the plane’s manifest included a diamond from a Nature of Diamonds exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, one kilogram of other diamonds and about 4.5 kilograms of other jewelry, 49 kilograms of cash, and a multimillion-dollar version of Picasso’s Le Peintre.

Le Peintre was sold in 1996 by Sotheby’s in London for $867,000, and that it was valued at nearly $1.5 million at the time that it was lost. Over $500 million worth of valuables — including all of the diamonds —are still missing.

Insurer Lloyd’s of London reportedly paid out an estimated $300 million for the diamonds and other jewels, and had applied for a treasure-trove licence from the Nova Scotia government to search the site following the federal investigation.

The plan outraged many of the victims’ relatives, and the company eventually withdrew its application.

New — and rather disturbing — information from one of the crash investigators raises chilling questions about the official cause of the disaster.

Swissair 111 : The Untold Story – the fifth estate

At 10:31 p.m. on Sept. 2, 1998, Nova Scotians felt their homes shake as Swissair flight 111 slammed into the waters off Peggy’s Cove, killing all on board.

There were 229 passengers and crew, including a Saudi Prince and a relative of the late Shah of Iran. In the cargo hold, a half a billion dollars worth of gold, diamonds and cash.

Early into the crash investigation, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada made a preliminary finding that the tragedy was the result of an accident.

The TSB would ultimately point to a fire in the cockpit, likely sparked by an electrical fault. But there remained many unanswered questions and mysteries.

Years later, the crash remains one of Canada’s greatest tragedies.

 

Air Crash Investigation Swissair Flight 111 Fire In The Cockpit

REFERENCES

Mystery of lost diamonds endures, 20 years after the Swissair Flight 111 crash — CBC

How a Plane Crash Left a Picasso Painting Lost at Sea — Daily Beast

Swissair crash may not have been an accident: ex-RCMP — CBC

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On This Day — The Crash of Swissair Flight 111 & The Mystery of the Lost Picasso (September 2 1998)

On This Day — The Crash of Swissair Flight 111 & The Mystery of the Lost Picasso (September 2 1998) [2019]

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