Families of Swissair victims begin sad pilgrimage
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PEGGY'S COVE, Nova Scotia (CNN) -- Family members of victims of Swissair Flight 111 stood in the fog on a remote Nova Scotia shore Friday afternoon, looking out over the rough seas of the North Atlantic where their loved ones perished in a fateful instant.
The first six of the more than 100 family members flown to Halifax from both Geneva and New York made a sad pilgrimage to Peggy's Cove, the fishing village near where the plane crashed Wednesday night, killing the 229 people on board.
More mourners were expected to be bused to the site Saturday from Halifax.
Canadian authorities were doing their best to shield family members from the news media. Green army tents were set up along the shore, overlooking the ocean, to give relatives privacy, and police warned reporters to keep their distance.
"If anyone forces themselves on family members, it won't be tolerated," said Staff Sgt. Keith McGuire of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Mourners travel on charter flights
Swissair officials and family members, most dressed in black, boarded charter flights in New York and Geneva. Airline officials said about 300 people were on the flights.
About 100 to 150 of those aboard the charters were believed to be family members. The remainder were grief counselors on hand to help the families and airline personnel, who will assist in the crash's recovery effort.
The province of Nova Scotia plans to pick up the tab for the travelers.
"We don't want them to have to think about meals, we don't want them to have to think about where to stay, we don't want them to have to think about anything," said Nova Scotia Premier Russell MacLellan.
Late Thursday, Swissair said it would offer each victim's family $20,000 as "compensatory damages" to help "meet the immediate financial needs that may be experienced" by them due to the crash.
More on the victims
Meanwhile, more details emerged Friday about those who lost their lives.
Here's a brief look at some of the victims:
"Everybody has their own Princess Diana. She was our Princess Diana," said Nelson's aunt, Laurie Michel. "This is monstrous."
John Mortimer had been senior vice president for personnel and labor relations at The New York Times for more than 25 years. He retired about 12 years ago.
He was considered a pioneer in Colorado television journalism, and began his TV career at KREX in Grand Junction in 1959. By 1970, Plumleigh was chief photographer at KWGN when the station became the first in Denver to win a National Press Photographer's Award.
He left the station in 1981 to work for Coors Brewing Co.'s video department. In 1993, he started his own business. His wife was a homemaker.
"They were very kind, very down-to-earth," family friend Amy Tekansik said.
He supplied hotel chains with goods, including sheets and bedspreads. She was a pharmaceutical representative.
"They really were an ideal couple," neighbor Jim Bochniarz said. "We all commented that they bought a rather large house for two, and they always said they planned on having kids."
His older brother, Jake LaMotta Jr., died earlier this year from cancer.
"My only two sons died in the same year," the former champ said Thursday. "What is God trying to tell me?"
Joe LaMotta, president of LaMotta Foods Inc., was traveling to Geneva to promote the company's new LaMotta Tomatta Sauce. His father said Joe loved boxing, and had entered a number of Golden Gloves competitions.
The elder Jake LaMotta, 76, also has four daughters. The champ was portrayed by actor Robert DeNiro in Martin Scorsese's 1980 film "Raging Bull." He held the middleweight title from 1949 to 1951.
Correspondents Jim Clancy and Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.
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