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Wednesday, May 24, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Lloyd's won't dive for gems at Swissair crash site

The Associated Press

LONDON - Lloyd's of London canceled its plans yesterday to search the site of the 1998 Swissair crash off Canada for $200 million worth of diamonds and jewels, saying it was sorry "for any distress" it caused crash victims' families by pursuing a search initially.

Hours earlier, Lloyd's spokesman Adrian Beeby denied that the insurance company was being insensitive by seeking to retrieve the valuables from the wreckage of the crash, which killed 229 people. He said the site already had been dredged by Canadian authorities immediately after the plane went down.

But Lloyd's later said the license it applied for to search the site, if issued, would be solely to deter treasure hunters.

"The reputation of Lloyd's has always been founded on its integrity," the statement said. "Consequently, Lloyd's will not dive or explore the site, respecting the wishes of the families. Lloyd's would like to apologize to all of the families of the victims of the Swissair crash for any distress caused by its application for a license."

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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