Pan Am Flight 103: The Lockerbie Bombing
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Pan Am Flight 103: The Lockerbie Bombing

Pan Am Flight 103: The Lockerbie Bombing

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Lockerbie wasn't really one of UK's famous tourist destinations until what happened the 21st of December 1988, 23 years ago that placed her well on the map transforming what used to be an unspoken, quiet rural town in south-western Scotland into a famous place that sent bad memories owing to a tragic event that transpired on her grounds one cold night 4 days before Christmas. On the said date at about 7 in the evening, Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747 with its 259 passengers and crew perished as a bomb exploded aboard the aircraft sending falling wreckage that rested on the grounds of Lockerbie changing her into a place as we see today. In the morning after that tragedy, the whole world was in shock as newspapers worldwide took in their headlines the harrowing image of what remained of a Boeing 747 cockpit disfigured like pulp paper resting on the ground with bodies of lifeless passengers mixed up with fragments of aircraft parts. The memories won't be easier to bear even for the local residents of Lockerbie who live today to recall their neighbourhood partly burnt as the aircraft wreckage caused the destruction of 21 more houses by fire and the death of an additional 11 people from one of their own on the ground owing to such act of terrorism. As was required of the investigation, dead bodies of passengers could be seen left scattered on the streets and gardens in the neighborhood for days and was extracted only later when forensic experts were able to process data necessary to determine the force of the explosion.

The tragic flight originally came from Frankfurt, Germany in a Boeing 727 and took the transoceanic leg of the flight in Heathrow, London aboard the "Maid of the Seas" which was utilizing Boeing's 15th Boeing 747 built out of the assembly lines (Pan Am being the launching customer of the jumbo jet). The cause of the explosion was traced on a Semtex bomb enclosed in a cassette player which detonated while the aircraft was in flight at an altitude of 31,000 feet. Two Libyan terrorists were linked to the bombing for which one was acquitted and another convicted to serve life imprisonment until released on compassionate grounds. The bombing became a key event that brought Pan American World Airways into bankruptcy eventually leading it to cease operations effective 4th December 1991.

References:

"Pan Am flight 103 disaster." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011.

http://www.allaboutlockerbie.com/index.php?pageID=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103

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Comments (13)

I remember the events, it is hard to think it was 23 years ago. So sad.

Excellent information! Voted up!

WEll reviewed. I remember this well.

Well written air craft article from your expertise kabayan,

Great and informative article

Thanks a lot for your comments, everyone.

I remember this and it wasn't too far away from me.

You write so well in this genre. Are you a pilot, kabayan?

Awesome share!

I had completely forgotten about this event until reading your well-written article.

I remember this tragic incident. Nice research on this!

As your article points out, the consequences of this horrible event have been far-reaching.

I remember the news footage, as well as the interviews of the relatives of some of the passengers. Very well written.

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