Relatives grieve for six Britons who died

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The Independent Online
AS THE main wreckage of the Swissair flight which crashed in the Atlantic off the Canadian coast killing all 229 on board was being inspected yesterday, relatives of the six Britons on the plane spoke of their shock and grief.

The Foreign Office named the Britains as Olivier Jackman, Heidi Kretschenner, Keith Abery, Stephanie Shaw, Norman Scoular and Joyce Ratnavale.

The sister-in-law of Mrs Ratnavale, 74, the former United Nations employee who was killed with her Sri-Lankan husband Victor, said she was devastated.

Monica Dollery said Mr Ratnavale, 77, had just had a successful heart by-pass and colon surgery during their stay in America.

"It had all gone very well. They were looking forward to getting home to Geneva where they were very well liked," she said.

The couple had been visiting their daughter Chantal, a doctor, and her family in Virginia. The couple chose to stay in Geneva, where they first met, after retiring from the UN. They had a son, Myron, who also lives in Geneva, and another daughter, Amanda, who lives in France. "They had so many friends in Geneva who like me will be devastated," Mrs Dollery said. Mrs Ratnavale, a former French teacher from Kent, worked as a personal secretary at the World Health Organisation. Her brother Lt Col Lionel Dollery, a former Conservative mayor, from Gillingham, died of cancer only four months ago.

Norman Scoular, 45, originally from Bramhall, Greater Manchester, was returning from a business trip in Massachusetts to his home in Geneva.

The divorced father-of-three was the chief executive of an electrical firm, Sylvania Lighting International. His deputy Roger McSweeny, said he had spoken to him minutes before he boarded the flight.

"He was at the peak of his career. A man of prodigious energy and a man of great warmth and charisma," he said. "He rang me from the airport that evening but he had to break off the conversation because he was called to board the ill-fated flight.

"He was his normal effervescent self and we were due to get together on Sunday evening in Brussels. I have lost a great boss and a great friend."

Mr Scoular, a keen golfer, had an 18-year-old son and two daughters in their 20s. He had lived in Geneva for five years.

Other passengers who died in the crash also included Dr Jonathan Mann, a pioneer in the fight against Aids and his wife, Mary-Lou Clements-Mann, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Pierce Gerety, director of African Great Lakes operations at the UN High Commission for Refugees, Yves de Roussan, a UNICEF regional adviser and Dr Roger Williams, a recognised expert in the field of cardiovascular genetics.

Among those presumed dead, whose name appeared on a passenger list, was a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Saad Abdul Rahman al-Saud, according to the Saudi diplomatic mission in Geneva. The former Saudi air force pilot was 42.