On the 2nd of September, 1998, near the small fishing village of Peggy’s Cove, N.S., a Swissair passenger jet carrying 229 people crashed into the ocean with a complete loss of life.
This book is the true story of the crash investigation as told by the RCMP’s main crime scene investigator who worked on the investigation from start to finish. For more than four years, he searched for the truth amid the remains of human flesh, and the debris of the aircraft. What he found was not what was presented to the public.
Nepotism, deception, intimidation, and lies were tools used by supervisors and managers to overcome this one-person criminal investigation and keep the truth from the public.
This is the in-depth story that shows how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada broke the law, and failed to perform their legal obligations to the Canadian and International public, and to the victims and their families.
Twice as Far: The True Story of SwissAir Flight 111 Airplane Crash Investigation
Thomas Juby, author of Twice as Far, was an RCMP investigator assigned to the four-year crash investigation of Swissair Flight 111. The massive MD-11 aircraft crashed off Peggy's Cove while en route from New York to Geneva, killing all 229 passengers and crew.
Early in his book, Juby offers these little-known details about the Sept.2, 1998 flight: the first class passengers had been moved to the rear of the aircraft, and all aboard were dead before the plane crashed. Recalling how the victims' remains arrived at the morgue, Juby wrote,"Suddenly there was this overwhelming realization that every body was in dozens if not hundreds of pieces."
Confusion presided when X-rays revealed thousands of metal beads embedded in the human flesh. By checking the flight's cargo docket, these were traced to a shipment of tungsten balls used for ballpoint pens.
Inexplicably, on the third day of the investigation, the Transportation Safety Board announced there would be no criminal investigation of the crash. As a result, the ongoing profiling of passengers and airline employees was abandoned even though disturbing leads were developing. Juby reports, "Of the employees who serviced the aircraft just prior to its last departure, one was never found again. He worked the one shift to service this aircraft and left. He had provided fake identification to his employer when hired."
As the investigation continued, much of the wreckage was retrieved and partially re-assembled on a frame inside a Shearwater hangar. It became obvious a fire had ignited and burned above the ceiling of the plane's forward cabin. Convincing evidence of an improvised explosive device was found. This was confirmed by Dr. Jim Brown, a government scientist with Natural Resources Canada who examined telltale magnesium deposits on burnt wiring.
No evidence of an explosion was discovered, but as Juby explains, "Many such devices had been found to ignite and burn rather than ignite and explode, thus actually becoming an incendiary device."
The RCMP team identified potential suspects including bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Juby reminds readers, "It must be noted this was taking place in 1999, more than two years before bin Laden and his group became common household knowledge because of his cold-blooded and cowardly attacks of 9-11."
In spite of evidence pointing to a homemade bomb, top brass with the RCMP and Transportation Safety Board would not shift gears and pursue a criminal investigation. Instead, they went into cover-up mode. First,skilled FBI investigators -- fresh from investigating the TWA 800 flight that exploded and crashed off Long Island in 1996 -- were blocked from viewing the Swissair wreckage.
Then Dr. Brown's magnesium report was altered. An RCMP chief superintendent wrote, ". . . even if an incendiary device is found, we will not be able to identify it to an individual at this late date, so there is no use conducting such an investigation."
Finally, RCMP supervisors forced Juby to change his notes, an apparent Criminal Code offense for obstructing a police officer.
Many more stories about unskilled investigators, manipulative bureaucrats,duped journalists, and promotion-seeking managers tumble from the pages of Twice as Far.
Clearly, Juby is still haunted by what he believes was a cover-up. In the closing pages of Twice as Far, he wrote: "...If the file had been handled properly, would 9-11 and the subsequent two wars have occurred? I have thought about that everyday since then, and it is the last thing on my mind every night."