Somehow the passing today of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al Megrahi will probably give little if any closure and solace to the families and friends of the 259 souls who lost their lives on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, on December 1988. While Megrahi’s family continue to plead his innocence, claiming he had became a scapegoat by Gaddafi’s regime, and the Scottish Government (including Gordon Brown) continuing to dodge questions about the real reasons behind Megrahi’s early release, you have to wonder if the truth will ever be told.
Tag Archives: Pan AM flight 103
As passengers snuggled into their blankets and prepared for their in-flight meals, down in the hold a bomb was about to blow a 20inch hole in the left side of Pan AM flight 103. Less than 3 secs after the explosion the nose section of the plane, including the cockpit and the first class section broke away from the rest of the plane. It would take 1 minute for the Boeing 747-121 to crash down to earth and onto the Scottish town of Lockerbie and another minute for those unfortunate passengers who were blown out of their seats by the gale force winds that ripped through the fuselage. When the fire and smoke had cleared 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 residents of Lockerbie were dead. Of the 259 people on board forensic pathologists believe over 150 of them were alive on impact, some may have even been conscious for some of the time they were free falling. A flight attendant was believed to have been found alive but died before medics arrived. Added to the horror the residents of Lockerbie had to live amongst the bodies for several days while investigators inspected them all.
So who was behind this atrocious terrorist attack? Considering there were some interesting characters aboard flight 103 it was no surprise conspiracy theorists were soon pointing fingers. One theory suggested it was planted by the South Africa’s apartheid government to assassinate Bernt Carlsson, the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia, others suggest rogue CIA agents (there were 4 US Inteligence officers on the passenger list) . The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command was one of the prime suspects many believing it was one in retaliation for the shooting down of Flight 655 by USS Vincennes in 1988. Even a passenger Jaswant Basuta became a suspect after he missed the flight but his checked luggage remained on board. But in the end the world turned their attention to Libya. The main pieces of evidence was a Samsonite suitcase, a Toshiba Bombeat radio cassette player, a circuit board fragment and several pieces of baby clothing made in Malta. Investigators were able to trace the clothing to a Maltese merchant who identified Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi (a former Libyan intelligence officer and then head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines) as the man who purchased the babywear. The circuit board fragment was identified as part of an electronic timer similar to that found on a Libyan intelligence agent a few months prior (one key witness later admitted he lied at trial, confessing he had stolen the circuit board and given it to an official investigating the Lockerbie bombing) . In 2000 two Libyans, Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah stood trial for the bombing. Fhimah was found not guilty but Megrahi was sentenced to life imprisonment. In a few days cancer ridden Megrahi (who has continually maintained his innocence) will be released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds and will return to his homeland. For the families and friends of those who perished it seems there will never be closure.
Psst The people of the Lockerbie washed, dried, and ironed every piece of clothing that was found once the police had determined they were of no forensic value, so they could be returned to family members.