With the jetliner at 33,000 feet and 58 miles from Halifax, the pilot uses an aviation code signaling trouble in the cockpit.
SWR111: "Swissair one eleven heavy is declaring Pan Pan Pan. We have smoke in the cockpit, request deviate immediate right turn to a convenient place, I guess Boston."
The controller responds:
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SWR111: "Affirmative for Swiss Air One Eleven prefer Halifax from our position." (Aircraft starts descent from 33,000 feet to Halifax.)
Controller: OK, active runway at Halifax is zero six. Should I start you on a vector for six?
SWR111: Yes, vector for six would be fine. Swiss Air 111 heavy.
The controller then asks the pilot if he wants to land immediately:
Controller: "Turn left heading zero three zero. You've got 30 miles to fly to the [runway] threshold."
The pilot, probably concerned about landing on a short runway with a heavy load of fuel, replies:
SWA111: "We need more than 30 miles."
Controller: "Turn left to lose some altitude."
SWA111: "Roger we are turning left"
SWA111: "We must drop some fuel. We may do that in this area during descent."
(closing to 10,000 feet)
SWA111: "Okay, we are able for a left or right turn toward the South to dump."
Controller: "Roger, turn left heading of 200 degrees and advise me when you are ready to dump."
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SWA111: "We are declaring an emergency at time 0124. we are starting vent [fuel] now. We have to land immediately."
The controller gives the kay to dump fuel. The pilot does not respond, and the controller radios again:
Controller: "You are cleared to commmence your fuel dump on that track and advise me when the dump is completed."
Controller: "Swiss Air 111 check you are cleared to start fuel dump."
But flight 111 is never heard from again, and six minutes later the MD-11 with 229 people aboard plunges into the North Atlantic.