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Passengers Jittery After Crash

September 4, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The attendants smiled as they collected the boarding passes, but the passengers and their families clearly had the jitters.

It was Thursday night at Kennedy International Airport and the passengers were boarding Swissair Flight 115, the first jetliner to fly the same route at the same time as Swissair Flight 111.

That plane crashed into the sea off Nova Scotia a night earlier, killing all 229 people aboard.

The pilot and co-pilot of Swissair Flight 115 to Geneva chatted briskly and appeared calm. But passengers appeared tense.

``Thank God it wasn’t last night that they flew out,″ said Marge Satayathum, of Cleveland, Ohio, who had tears in her eyes as she watched her daughter Ariana, 15, get on the plane. ``Thank God.″

The teen was one of 47 high-school sophomores leaving Thursday night for a semester in Switzerland with a group called Swiss Exchange. She gave her father a parting hug, picked up her backpack and waved as she boarded the plane.

``Are you OK?″ Pradist Satayathum asked his wife as he put an arm around her. ``Are you OK?″

Swissair chief executive Jeffrey Katz offered assurances about the airline’s safety.

``We have 9,000 Swissair employees who work every day to provide a very safe service and high quality service,″ he said. ``They’ve done that in the past ... and they continue to do that today.″

Mrs. Satayathum, a nurse, said she probably wouldn’t go to sleep until she knew the plane had landed. As for the images of bodies and wreckage in the water off Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, she said: ``I’m trying not to think about it.″

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