Monday 21 December 2020

Remembering Pan Am-103

32 Yrs ago today Pan Am 103 blew up over Lockerbie killing everyone on board.

Pan Am Flight 103 was a regular scheduled transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. At 19.03 on the 21st December 1988, N739PA, (the aircraft operating the fight) was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing. Large sections of the aircraft crashed onto a residential street in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 people on the ground. With a total of 270 people killed, it is the deadliest terror attack in the history of the United Kingdom. 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, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, 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. Acceptance of responsibility was part of a series of requirements laid out by a UN resolution in order for sanctions against Libya to be lifted. Libya said it had to accept responsibility due to Megrahi's status as a government employee.  Some relatives of the dead, including the Lockerbie campaigner Dr Jim Swire, believe the bomb was planted at Heathrow airport and not sent via feeder flights from Malta, as the US and UK claim. A cell belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (General Command) had been operating in West Germany in the months before the Pan Am bombing.

The same aircraft was involved in another incident 18yrs earlier on the 4th November 1970.
Pan Am Flight 114 was operating from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York to  Orly Airport, Paris, France. There were 148 passengers and a crew of 15 aboard the flight. The takeoff at 21.17 EST was uneventful. The flight had been cleared to 31,000 feet, and experienced turbulence during the climb at approximately 27,000 feet. It was described by the flight crew as an occasional “nibble.” At approximately 21:46 EST, the aircraft encountered moderate to severe turbulence as it passed Nantucket, Massachusetts. During the encounter, which lasted approximately 4 minutes, 21 passengers and 2 stewardesses sustained injuries which ranged from minor to serious. The seatbelt sign was on at the time of the encounter and had been on since takeoff.  At 22:07 EST, the flight crew requested clearance back to JFK Airport and later requested and received preferential air traffic control handling. The aircraft landed on runway 31R at 23:39 EST. 

Aircraft Information.
The aircraft was a Boeing 747–121, registered N739PA (CN 19646) and was named "Clipper Maid of the Seas". It was the 15th 747 built, it first flew on the 25th January 1970 and was delivered in mid February 1970. It had PW JTD-7A engines
The aircraft was 18yrs old at the time of the Lockerbie incident.

No comments:

Post a Comment