Do you remember? Exactly 30 years ago a bomb destroyed a Pan Am Boeing 747 above Lockerbie

Air Accident Investigation Branch – Air Accident Investigation Branch Report No: 2/1990 – Report on the accident to Boeing 747-121, N739PA, at Lockerbie, via wikimedia commons

On 21 December 1988 – exactly 30 years ago – a Pan Am Boeing 747-121 (N739PA) was operating flight PA103 from Frankfurt to Detroit via London Heathrow and New York. While the aircraft was operating the transatlantic leg of the route, the aircraft was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Large sections of the aircraft crashed into the residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing another 11 people on the ground.

Following a three-year joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in November 1991. In 1999, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi handed over the two men for trial at Camp Zeist, Netherlands, after protracted negotiations and UN sanctions. In 2001, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life after being found guilty of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing. In August 2009, he was released by the Scottish Government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in May 2012 as the only person to be convicted for the attack.

In 2003, Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the families of the victims, although he maintained that he had never given the order for the attack. During the Libyan Civil War in 2011, former Minister of Justice Mustafa Abdul Jalil claimed that the Libyan leader had personally ordered the bombing, though this was later denied.

Source: wikipedia Pan Am Flight 103 

Lessons to be learned from this terrorist attack remain valuable today, after the disaster the ICAO drastically improved international aviation security procedures with regard to unaccompanied baggage, x-raying luggage and conducting full baggage/passenger reconciliation.


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