Leading Aids scientist among victims

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AT LEAST 10 United Nations employees were on the flight, including Jonathan Mann, the renowned Aids pioneer, and his wife, Mary Lou Clements- Mann, a vaccine expert.

Other UN staff who died included Dr Pierce Gerety, in charge of operations for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, and Ludwig Beaumler, a director of operations of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Dr Mann was dean of the School of Public Health at Alleghany University in Philadelphia and for seven years, until 1997, was a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. His wife worked at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore. They were on their way to meetings of the World Health Organisation in Geneva. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Norwegian prime minister who is director-general of WHO, disclosed that they were on the plane. UN flags in Geneva were flown at half-mast.

The names of other passengers will be released when all relatives have been informed.

The passenger list showed 137 Americans, three Germans, three Italians and two Greeks were on board, with one person from the countries of Saudi Arabia, Yugoslavia, Afghanis- tan, Iran, Spain, Russia and St Kitts and Nevis.

The dead included two babies and the plane's 14 crew members, one of whom worked for Delta, Swissair's American partner airline. The two pilots were Captain Urs Zimmermann, 50, and First Officer Stephan Loew, 36, who were both said to be MD-11 instructors with considerable experience of flying the aircraft.

Marc Rosset, 27, the 1992 Olympic tennis champion, was booked on the flight but cancelled a few hours before take-off. The Swiss player, No 47 in the world, was beaten in the first round of the US Open on Monday and planned to leave on the first available flight. His coach persuaded him to stay in New York to practise.

Unicef's US public relations head, Ingrid Acevedo, 32, was also among the dead. The New Yorker, born to Dominican parents, had worked for Bread for The World, a Christian group that campaigns against hunger, before joining Unicef. A colleague said: "She was young, terrific, and had a fabulous sense of humour."

Two of the three Germans who died were Ludwig Baeumer and Joachim Bilger. They worked at the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organisation office.