Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Remembering Air India 182 - 36 yrs on

       AIR INDIA B787-8 VT-AND (CN 36287)        

On the 23rd June 1985, at 7:13 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, Air India 182, a Boeing 747-200 disintegrated in mid-air at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,448 m), while doing the Montreal, Mirabel (YMX / CYMX) - London, Heathrow (LHR / EGLL) leg as a result of the explosion from a bomb planted by Canadian Sikh terrorists. The aircraft took off from Montreal at 02:18 UTC. Its estimated time of arrival at London was 08:33 UTC. Around 07:13 UTC, at FL310 over the Atlantic Ocean an explosion occurred in the forward cargo compartment, causing a rapid decompression. The aft portion of the aircraft separated from the forward portion before striking the water. The wreckage sank to a depth of 6700 feet into the Atlantic Ocean approximately 120 miles (193km) west-southwest of the southwest tip of Ireland, killing all aboard. It carried 329 people, including 278 Canadian citizens, 27 British citizens and 24 Indian citizens. 82 of those killed were children under the age of 13. The bombing of Air India Flight 182 is the largest mass killing in Canadian history, and was the deadliest act of aviation terrorism until the September 11 attacks in 2001. The bombing of this flight occurred at the same time as the Narita Airport bombing; investigators believe that the two plots were linked, and that those responsible were aiming for a double bombing. However, the bomb at Narita exploded before it could be loaded onto the plane. Canadian law enforcement determined the main suspects in the bombing were members of the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa. The attack is thought to have been in retaliation for the Indian government's Operation Blue Star in which the Indian Army entered the Golden Temple in Amritsar to remove occupying Sikh militants. Although a handful of members were arrested and tried for the Air India bombing, the only person convicted was Inderjit Singh Reyat, a Canadian national and a member of the ISYF, who pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for assembling the bombs that exploded on board Air India Flight 182 and at Narita.
Air India 182 was only 45 minutes away from landing in London.
When the wreckage of AI 182 was retrieved no direct evidence was found of an explosive device. However, there is a considerable amount of circumstantial and other evidence that an explosive device had caused the occurrence. Mainly because of the explosive device that detonated in Tokyo the same day. Just before Air-India 182 crashed, a bag from CP Air Flight 003 exploded at Tokyo-Narita Airport 55 minutes before Air India 182 crashed. This was probably an interlined unaccompanied suitcase to be placed on Air-India Flight 301 to Bangkok. Investigation determined that the suitcase was also interlined unaccompanied from Vancouver via CP Air Flight 060 to Toronto. VT-EFO's first flight date was 19th June 1978 - the explosion was 22nd June 1985

Aircraft Information
Airline: Air India
Code: AI/AIC
Aircraft: Boeing 747-237B
Registration: VT-EFO
Serial Number: 21473 / 330
Age 7 Yrs 3 Days

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