Relatives of victims are flown to Canada

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The Independent Online
A SPECIAL flight took relatives of the 229 dead last night to the scene of the disaster, where they were preparing to carry out the grim task of identifying the remains.

In Britain, the Foreign Office said seven Britons, and not six, as originally thought, were on the Swissair flight that crashed off the Canadian coast on Wednesday night.

The Foreign Office named the British dead as Keith Abery, Stephanie Shaw, Norman Scoular and Joyce Ratnavale, who died with her Sri Lankan husband, Victor. A couple, Alex and Petra Wilcox, were joint British-United States citizens and Olivier Jackman was of dual British-French nationality.

Mrs Ratnavale, 74, was a teacher from Kent who later worked as a personal secretary with the World Health Organisation. She met her husband, who also worked for the United Nations, in Geneva.

Mrs Ratnavale's sister-in-law, Monica Dollery, said the couple had been staying with their daughter Chantal in the United States, where Mr Ratnavale, 77, was recovering from a heart by-pass and colon surgery. "It [the operation] had all gone very well. They were looking forward to getting home to Geneva, where they were very well liked," she said.

"They had so many friends in Geneva who, like me, will be devastated."

The couple had chosen to stay in Switzerland after retiring from the UN. They had a son, Myron, who also lives in Geneva, and another daughter, Amanda, who lives in France.

Mrs Dollery said: "This is so upsetting, just four months after the death of my husband."

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

Mr Scoular, who was divorced, 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 twenties. He had lived in Geneva for five years.

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

Among those whose names were on the 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.

Marc Rosset, the Swiss tennis player, escaped death by changing his mind about joining the flight at the last moment.