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Picasso painting, diamonds on Swissair Flight 111

USS Grapple
The U.S. Navy salvage ship, the USS Grapple, will be used to lift large chunks of the jetliner from the sea floor  
September 14, 1998
Web posted at: 11:14 a.m. EDT (1514 GMT)

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (CNN) -- A Picasso painting worth $1.5 million, diamonds and possibly millions of dollars in cash and gold were aboard Swissair Flight 111, which crashed into the ocean off of Nova Scotia this month.

The cargo included diamonds -- whose weight, including cases, was more than 4 pounds -- nearly 110 pounds of cash, and gold, an airline spokesman said.

The money was being sent from a U.S. bank to another U.S. bank in Switzerland inside a safe. The plane was also carrying a locked box possibly containing millions of dollars in currency and gold, the airline said.

The Picasso work, titled, "The Painter," was housed in a normal freight container and is presumed destroyed, the airline said.

None of the goods have been recovered. The U.S. Navy salvage ship, the USS Grapple, was preparing Monday to begin lifting large chunks of the jetliner and its contents to the surface. A spokesman said the lift would begin when Canadian authorities give approval, after human remains are recovered.

Flight 111 crashed into the sea off Peggy's Cove on September 2, killing all 229 people aboard.

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