transaeroyyz
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Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:32 am

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/mystery-swi...-111s-diamond-cargo-003210374.html

Wow what an opportunity for some real sunken treseaure, ahh.. Why is this just making news just now? I mean this is one well kept secret, how many people would have known about this at the time of the crash, is the crew informed about this type of valuable cargo?
 
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shamrock604
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:49 am

Quoting transaeroyyz (Thread starter):
is the crew informed about this type of valuable cargo?

Depends on the procedure of the airline in question. Generally, it is a case of any "special" cargo (such as live animals) or anything classified as a dangerous good that would have to be specifically notifed. In the case of live animals, it is obviously so that the cargo holds are kept at an appropriate temperature.

Without knowing Swissair's procedure, I would say it doubtful they would have been specifcally notified about the diamonds.
 
LONGisland89
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:52 am

Very interesting, considering the recent houpla about a bomb taking down the MD-11.
 
ltbewr
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:30 am

First of all, Geneva and Switzerland in general, is a major point of trade in valuable jewels as well as an ideal place to keep them considering the deep respect for privacy as to banking there, so it is not unreasonable to have such valuables on board.

To try to locate the tubes with these jewels is really looking 'for a needle in a haystack' one about a square kilometer or more. The priority of the initial investigation is to recover any parts of the a/c to assist with determining the cause of the crash, not the stuff on it. It was largely covered by insurance, so the owners were comped. If they are ever recovered, even 100 years from now, then the insurers will still own them and can sell them to recover. As the article noted, an attempt to recover the jewels was largly tharwated by the victims families desire to keep the defacto burial site treated as a grave and not to be disturbed any more.
 
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mayor
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:14 am

At least twice a week in SLC, we (DL) would ship out gold that had been recovered in the copper refining process at Kennicott Copper mines. Usually 1 or two LD-3s, but sometimes 3 or 4 LD-2s. Sometimes it was to connect to a DL flight to ZRH, but other times, it was to terminate in JFK and be re-shipped on Swissair to ZRH. Usually, it was not reported as "high value" or "precious metals", but just as metal or ore. They saved on shipping that way, not having to pay a premium. I believe the shipper was self insured, so if anything happened to the shipment, they were covered.
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KELPkid
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:20 am

Diamonds would burn in a fire  

Just a friendly reminder that carbon will burn...at 700 deegrees centigrade.
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tdscanuck
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:22 am

Quoting transaeroyyz (Thread starter):
Why is this just making news just now?

Because some conspiracy nuts managed to use this as one card in their house about an incendiary device planted on the flight and the story is set to air.

Quoting transaeroyyz (Thread starter):
I mean this is one well kept secret, how many people would have known about this at the time of the crash

Whoever shipped it, whoever was expecting to received it, whoever insured it. In other words, not many people.

Quoting transaeroyyz (Thread starter):
is the crew informed about this type of valuable cargo?

Generally not. There's no reason for them to care about inert cargo that requires no special handling.

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 2):
Very interesting, considering the recent houpla about a bomb taking down the MD-11.

It's the same story...this is only coming up because of the hoopla about an alleged incendiary (not a bomb).

Tom.
 
transaeroyyz
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:34 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 6):
There's no reason for them to care about inert cargo that requires no special handling

uhm, having half a billion $s worth of non traceable goods in your cargo hold would attract a lot of the unscrupulous type.
Example: lets say the mob got wind of this shipment, a ramper removes the goods before take-off, plane goes down " None of the diamonds and gems, or the stainless steel tube that held them, were found." coincedence uhm. Its a brilliant plan. This would have made a great Columbo episode.
  
 
rfields5421
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:51 am

Quoting transaeroyyz (Reply 7):
having half a billion $s worth of non traceable goods



First - it wasn't half a billion dollars worth. That is 'today's' value, the value at the time was closer to 1/4 of that.

Second - it was not untraceable. The diamonds were marked with identification. They would have to be re-cut to remove the serial numbers. There were few diamonds, most of the value was other gems in the jewelry. Someone with the right connections and pre-planning could probably have netted $20 to $30 million USD, which isn't exactly chump change. A normal thief or a crash recovery person finding and keeping the container would very likely have been caught when they tried to sell any of the items.

Third - it was reported in the media at the time of the crash that a routine shipment of diamonds and jewelry was on the plane. Only folks who did not read the full articles were unaware that the high value cargoes were not on the plane. Anyone familiar with the route knew that almost every flight by Swiss on that route carried a lot of high value cargo.

Fourth - the possibility of sabotage, bombs, incendiary devices or other deliberate means to cause the fire and bring down the plane were investigated in depth. The evidence showed conclusively that none of those could have caused the type of fire which brought the plane down.
 
sandrozrh
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:54 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 6):
Generally not. There's no reason for them to care about inert cargo that requires no special handling.

Actually, we are. It would usually be noted as "VAL", short for valuables, on the NOTOC. Depending on the station though, they give us a specific description about the nature of the valuables on board. A few weeks ago, we transported 3.5 tons of gold and 500kg of banknotes from LHR to ZRH, totalling in the hundreds of millions.
 
RubberJungle
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:07 am

Quoting transaeroyyz (Thread starter):
I mean this is one well kept secret

It's not a well-kept secret, it was well-known at the time that valuable cargo was on board because Lloyd's wanted to search for it after restrictions on access to the crash site were lifted:

http://www.lloyds.com/Lloyds/Press-C...air_crash_site_license_application


Lloyd's came up against resistance to its plans to comb the wreckage purely for financial reasons, and changed its mind:

http://www.lloyds.com/Lloyds/Press-C..._regarding_the_Swissair_crash_site
 
edina
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:36 am

Gem stones are also carried in the cabin on some airlines.....I have signed for consignments of high value cargo carried in the "Diplomatic Locker" on several occasions & when carried in the cabin you are aware of what the shipment consists of.

On my airlines longhaul aircraft you can fit an average sized shoe box in there....plenty of space for diamonds.
Worked on - Caravelle Mercure A300 A320 F27 SD3-60 BAe146 747-100/200/400 DC10-30 767 777 737-400 757 A319 A321
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:46 am

Apart from the sad loss of life and the diamonds, I seem to recall that there were some VERY valuable works of art that were lost.
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
 
Thenoflyzone
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:13 pm

Quoting transaeroyyz (Thread starter):
Why is this just making news just now?

It's not. It was reported in the news a few days after the crash.

All of it, Picasso, diamonds, money....

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1998/09/14/world/main17411.shtml

Thenoflyzone

[Edited 2011-09-17 10:14:07]
us Air Traffic Controllers have a good record, we haven't left one up there yet !!
 
BE77
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:04 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 4):
SLC, we (DL) would ship out gold that had been recovered in the copper refining

Probably was a residual concentrate containing quite a bit of gold - in the percentages evenif it was worth sending airfreight, but wouldn't be considered really high risk of theft since you need to deal with getting it out of the concentrate, and there are only so many places to do that.
I'm guessing that it was a con since an LD2 that was only half full of pure gold would weigh almost 33 metric tonnes (19.3 tonnes / m3 or 19.3 times as heavy as water). The W+B for that flight would be interesting  

When you see someone throwing a standard gold bar (1000 ounces) in a movie, feel free to laugh  , since for a miner it's as bad as how aircraft are protrayed in movies (which I imagine is the same for every specialty occupation in the movies, or on TV news!).

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 6):
is the crew informed about this type of valuable cargo

Usually I would imagine they are aware even if not told, since the cargo won't be checked baggage (!) and getting a bar of gold or a vial of diamonds through security would be a neat trick - and it would be really fun to watch the mule when asked to gate check the bag.
Actually, usually half the airport knows anyway, at least in smaller centres, since there is usually a lot of extra security involved. One place I worked, it was easy to tell since the army would have security teams (with 0.50's mounted) on the apron and at the ends of the runway whenever there was a flight with product, since ground robberies have happened on the runway (Sweden a couple of times, France I believe as well). I imagine it isn't noticed as much in large airports, but even then the baggage and flight crews would not likely miss the attention.
A good shipping policy will include dummy trips where boxes of lead or vials of cubic zirconium are sent, and of course, if you are really worried about security then dedicated charter flights work really well.
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canoecarrier
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:29 pm

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 9):
Actually, we are. It would usually be noted as "VAL", short for valuables, on the NOTOC. Depending on the station though, they give us a specific description about the nature of the valuables on board. A few weeks ago, we transported 3.5 tons of gold and 500kg of banknotes from LHR to ZRH, totalling in the hundreds of millions.

In the 3 years I worked for a domestic carrier this was the first I'd "heard" of transfers like this. I'm sure it happens all the time, but we were never notified.

Not long ago I heard a news story about Hugo Chavez wanting a fairly high percentage of Venezuela's assets put into gold and stored in his country. They discussed the relatively frequent nature of precious metal/gemstone transfer via air freight. For reference we're talking about $13 Billion in gold or 211 tons. Rather than paraphrase any more than I already have the interview is here:

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/22/139859...-holdings-transferred-to-venezuela

Another article about the gold transfer:

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmo...t-12-billion-of-gold-to-venezuela/
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ghifty
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:03 pm

SR was/is known as the "Flying Bank." I suppose SR literally is a flying bank, what with all this valuable stuff in the MD's cargo hold..

Do valuable pieces of art, etc., get transported on the likes of AA? DL? AF? or FX? Makes me wonder.
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bonusonus
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:26 pm

Quoting RubberJungle (Reply 10):

Lloyd's came up against resistance to its plans to comb the wreckage purely for financial reasons, and changed its mind:

Lloyd's wants to search for the cargo. Since they paid out the insurance claim for it, are they the legal owner of the diamonds now? Or is something at the bottom of the ocean "up for grabs"?
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:31 pm

If you paid out for something I think you should own it. 
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mayor
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:38 pm

Quoting be77 (Reply 14):
Probably was a residual concentrate containing quite a bit of gold - in the percentages evenif it was worth sending airfreight, but wouldn't be considered really high risk of theft since you need to deal with getting it out of the concentrate, and there are only so many places to do that.
I'm guessing that it was a con since an LD2 that was only half full of pure gold would weigh almost 33 metric tonnes (19.3 tonnes / m3 or 19.3 times as heavy as water). The W+B for that flight would be interesting

Sorry.......forgot to mention that if you opened up any of the buckets, it would just look like gravel. It would have to be further refined to get any value out of it. The LD2s and 3s usually went out at max weight, in any case.
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Viscount724
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:36 pm

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 9):
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 6):
Generally not. There's no reason for them to care about inert cargo that requires no special handling.

Actually, we are. It would usually be noted as "VAL", short for valuables, on the NOTOC. Depending on the station though, they give us a specific description about the nature of the valuables on board. A few weeks ago, we transported 3.5 tons of gold and 500kg of banknotes from LHR to ZRH, totalling in the hundreds of millions.

LX cargo brochure on their special services for valuables.
http://www.swissworldcargo.com/web/E...ments/SWC_Valuables_e-100610A4.pdf

Related website section.
http://www.swissworldcargo.com/web/E...aluables/Pages/SwissValuables.aspx
 
BMI727
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RE: Mystery Of Swissair Flight 111's Diamond Cargo

Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:04 am

Quoting ghifty (Reply 16):
Do valuable pieces of art, etc., get transported on the likes of AA? DL? AF? or FX? Makes me wonder.

Most large freighters do have courier seats for people to escort certain cargo. I don't see why such things wouldn't be carried since such airlines have carried horses, F1 cars, and corpses. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of exotic cars being loaded and unloaded from airliners, usually to or from the Middle East.
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