The Swiss Ministry of Transport says there is still no indication of the cause of the Caravelle air crash at Madeira in which 36 people died.
GV Warship off coast at Funchal, Madeira, PAN TO airport building.
GV Warship anchored off coast.
GV Divers in dinghy PAN TO ship.
GV Ship sailing into port.
MV PAN Soldiers and onlookers at sea wall.
GV Soldiers searching along coast. (2 shots)
GV Soldiers searching on quayside PAN TO divers in dinghy.
GV PAN Madeira Sheraton Hotel.
MV Survivors arriving at hotel. (3 shots)
Initials VS 19.10
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Background: The Swiss Ministry of Transport says there is still no indication of the cause of the Caravelle air crash at Madeira in which 36 people died. Rescue authorities said on Tuesday (20 December) that six more bodies had been recovered from the wreck of the Swiss jet, now lying on the seabed off the Portuguese holiday island. The search for further victims was later called off because bad weather was preventing the arrival of specialised diving equipment.
SYNOPSIS: Portuguese warships which were in the area converged on the jet after it crash-landed in the sea near Madeira's Funchal airport. But most of the 21 survivors, who included the two pilots, were rescued by local fishing boats. The pane, on a Christmas holiday flight from Geneva, with an all-Swiss passenger load of 52, stayed afloat for several hours. Then it plunged to the seabed 700 metres (2,300 feet) below. Specialised diving gear is being flown in the assist in the recovery operation.
Troops were brought in to help in the search for survivors. A spokesman at Funchal hospital said the first batch of survivors to come in were all suffering from cold and exposure, but none was seriously injured. A total of 19 bodies has so far been recovered, leaving 17 still unaccounted for.
The crash at Funchal came only a month after the crash there of a Portuguese airliner -- a National Airlines Boeing 727. A hundred and twenty nine people died.
The Caravelle survivors who were not badly hurt were put up in local hotels after a hospital check-up. As speculation began about the cause of the crash, an airport official said that the Swiss jet had appeared to be coming in low on its landing approach. Funchal airport, which is carved out of the volcanic rock of the coastline, is considered a miracle of modern engineering. But it has a short runway, and is unpopular with pilots.