SAINTE-AGATHE-DES-MONTS – Fifty-three passengers and four crew members died when Air Canada Flight 593 crashed on February 7 during a snow storm in the mountains north-west of Montreal. There were no survivors. The cause of the crash is still unknown. Members of Laurentian Mountain Rescue and Recovery (LMRR) temporarily buried the bodies found at the site until major recovery efforts are mounted in late spring. The ‘black box’ was turned over to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board last night. Identifiable personal effects found in the wreckage will be delivered to family members of the victims.
The leader of the team, Pierre Raquin of Sainte-Agathe, said the recovery effort was delayed by avalanches in the region. When asked about the physical hardships of mountain recovery, Raquin said, “Not surprisingly, the greatest difficulty for team members is the emotional toll.” Burying bodies and recovering personal belongings, he explained, are stark reminders of the fragility of life. As an example, he spoke about a damaged photograph dated 1952 found at the edge of the debris field. The image is of a young woman standing by a wall on what appears to be Mount Royal in Montreal. “No other identification is available,” Raquin said, “so we are unable to return this keepsake to the next of kin.”
–by Dave Riese, Echo from Mount Royal