But 51 pilgrims died when plane hit Alps
FIRST news of the Canadian air liner disaster, in which 51 Canadian Holy Year Pilgrims lost their lives last Monday on a snow-covered mountain in the French Alps, was broken in Rome at the dinner in honour of the 22 Canadian Bishops attending the beatification of Mother Margaret Bourgeoys.
Vatican officials present at once informed the Holy Father, who—only eight hours earlier—had spoken to the victims when he received 1,200 Canadian pilgrims in a special audience.
Deeply moved by the tragedy, the Pope stayed up to pray, instead of retiring for the night at his usual tom. hoping to hear later that they were safe.
In the aircraft were nine priests and a number of nuns who had come full of joy for the beatification of the foundress of their order.
It was feared originally that two Bishops might he among those who lost their lives. Later it was learnt that instead of flying they had left Rome by train and car respectively.
On Tuesday morning two CanadianMgr. Archbishops, Maurice Roy, Archbishop of Montreal. and Mgr. Emile Leger. Archbishop of Quebec. made hurried arrangements to fly to the French Alps to assist in the search for the wrecked airliner.
Mgr. Emile Leger's private secretary was on the crashed plane.
The pilgrims on the plane included 33 men and 18 women. in addition to the crew. There were no survivors.
Some of a party of Canadian Bishops would have been aboard the plane had not last-minute arrangements been made in Rome on Monday for a Pontifical Mass in honour of Mother Bourgeoys.
The same plane was to have returned to Rome on Wednesday to pick up the 22 Canadian Bishops still in Rome.
Addresses of most victims arc given only as "clo Catholic Action, Quebec." and the bodies when discovered. were unrecognisable.
They included Mgr. J. A. Bureau, 47, of Eveck de Quebec. Professor of the Grand Seminary de Quebec; Fr. Romano Mocchutti. attached to the Apostolic Delegation in Canada.
The scattered wreckage of the airliner was found on Tuesday afternoon.
As they tramped up the mountain, the searchers found personal possessions of the passengers which were scattered over a wide area lying in the snow long before they sighted the wreckage.
There was a photograph of the Pope with three Cardinals. soaked through with the snow where it had
fallen from the plane. The aircraft's log-book was also found. Mountain guides found a torn and rain-soaked page from a diary on the mountainside.
Blurred in places and written in French, apparently just before the plane crashed, it read : " It is
already 4.45. The very gracious hostess is passing out cakes and cups of coffee. I forgot that when the plane left we sang ' Ave Mari (Continued on page Sr