|Pair unhappy with attitude in
U.S. after Swissair crash |
By Robert Russo / The Canadian Press
Washington - When Lyn Romano met with U.S. air safety officials
Tuesday, she brought photos of her husband as well as pathologists'
drawings of his shattered remains after the crash of Swissair Flight
"I wanted them to realize they were dealing with human beings
rather than just a number," Romano said.
Her husband, Raymond, was among the 229 people killed when the
Geneva-bound Swissair MD-11 jet plummeted into the ocean off Peggy's
Cove on Sept. 2, 1998.
Romano and Barbara Fetherolf, who lost her 16-year-old daughter
Tara in the crash, came to Washington to push for safer airliners
and greater sensitivity towards victims' families following a crash.
They left unsatisfied and angry after meeting White House
representatives as well as a senior official of the U.S. Federal
One of their fundamental objectives is to get airlines to make
faster changes to the wiring and insulation blankets of jets around
But the FAA would not budge from its directive giving airlines
four years to check wiring and replace the flammable insulation
"Four years of these 'flying coffins' - that's my term for them -
flying around, and it's just OK in their opinion," Romano complained
after meeting with Thomas McSweeny, the FAA's head of aircraft
regulation and certification.
Romano and Fetherolf also want better treatment for the families
of airline passengers when a crash occurs.
Romano realized her husband likely had died aboard Swissair
Flight 111 after watching a late local newscast. It took several
agonizing hours for her to get confirmation from the airline that
her husband was aboard.
Fetherolf said her daughter's dripping passport was fished out of
the Atlantic and held aloft for television cameras.
"They showed her name and picture on network television,"
Fetherolf said. "What if I had been watching television at that
The passport and several of her daughter's other possessions were
returned to her in an envelope stamped "freeze-dried."
They want a committee formed that includes a family member of an
air crash victim to help families deal with many of the difficult
issues surrounding recovery of victims and their personal effects
following air accidents.
Romano has promised to take any settlement money she might get
from the airline and put it towards a foundation she chairs that
promotes greater air safety.
Many of the relatives of Swissair victims have decided to wait
until the official accident investigation is over before commenting
on these and other air safety issues surrounding the crash.