Employees Honoured for Response
Clifford Huskilson, Minister of Transportation and Public Works, formally recognized 129 departmental employees at a ceremony in Halifax today for their efforts after the crash of Swissair Flight 111.
"Since becoming minister of this department, I have been amazed by the dedication and professionalism of the employees. No single event illustrates this better than the Swissair operation," said Mr. Huskilson. "Our line employees - truck drivers, field staff, carpenters, plumbers and electricians - were the backbone of this operation. It was led and handled by employees; they got the job done."
Within hours of the crash on September 2, employees began building the facilities required by the province's medical examiner, RCMP and Transportation Safety Board investigators.
Autopsy rooms were designed as they were erected. Evidence trailers were refit to dry possessions recovered at the crash site. Inventory control staff collected the material, furniture and equipment that investigators needed on site.
Some employees drove for Swissair families, while others offered their homes, food, and most importantly, their support. Employees moved airplane wreckage, gathered equipment and supplies, and later in the fall, fabricated a full-size mock-up of the MD-11 cockpit for crash investigators at the department's welding shop in Miller Lake.
"The initial response, the cohesive team, the tireless dedication of staff working around the clock was truly impressive, and at times moving," said Chris Moir, Transportation and Public Works' link to the Emergency Measures Organization.
Mr. Huskilson presented each individual with a pewter pin, while three divisions were awarded plaques for their group contribution. The symbol for the award is the Carrick bend, a seafaring knot considered to be highly reliable, strong and durable.
The 1945 Ashley Book of Knots offers a description of the symbol used: "A bend is a knot that unites two ropes. Its purpose is to lengthen the rope. The Carrick bend is perhaps the nearest thing we have to a perfect bend. It is symmetrical. It is easy to tie. It doesn't slip easily in wet material. It is among the strongest of knots. It cannot jam and is readily untied."
arc June 24, 1999 3:40 p.m.