Pan Am Flight 103

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Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103. Crashed Lockerbie, Scotland, 21 December 1988.jpg
The remains of the forward section from Clipper Maid of the Seas on Tundergarth Hill, Lockerbie
Bombing
Date21 December 1988 (1988-12-21)
SummaryIn-flight breakup due to terrorist bombing
SiteLockerbie, Scotland
55°06′56″N 003°21′31″W / 55.11556°N 3.35861°W / 55.11556; -3.35861Coordinates: 55°06′56″N 003°21′31″W / 55.11556°N 3.35861°W / 55.11556; -3.35861
Total fatalities270
Aircraft
Aircraft typeBoeing 747–121
Aircraft nameClipper Maid of the Seas
OperatorPan American World Airways
IATA flight No.PA103
ICAO flight No.PAA103
Call signCLIPPER 103
RegistrationN739PA
Flight originFrankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, West Germany
1st stopoverHeathrow Airport, London, United Kingdom
2nd stopoverJohn F. Kennedy Airport, New York, United States
DestinationDetroit Metropolitan Airport, Michigan, United States
Occupants259
Passengers243
Crew16
Fatalities259
Survivors0
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities11
Grey marble slab with names of victims listed
Memorial at the Lockerbie cemetery

Pan Am Flight 103 was a Pan American World Airways passenger flight that flew from London to New York City across the Atlantic Ocean. On 21 December 1988, the aeroplane flying this route was destroyed by a bomb. The explosion caused the plane to crash onto Lockerbie, Scotland. The crash killed everybody on the plane and eleven more people on the ground. The event is also known as the Lockerbie bombing.

The aircraft was a Boeing 747–121 named “Clipper Maid of the Seas”. The explosion killed all 243 passengers and 16 crew members.[1] Eleven more people in Lockerbie were killed as large parts of the plane fell in the town and crashed into houses. The total number of people killed in the disaster was 270. After many years of investigation, the attack was blamed on airline officials working for Libya's government. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan man, was convicted of murder over the attack, and later freed as he had terminal cancer. Megrahi died almost three years later. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was also said to have ordered the attack.[2]

Airplane involved[change | change source]

The airplane that crashed was a Boeing 747–121, registered N739PA and named Clipper Maid of the Seas and it was was 18 years old.

Flight[change | change source]

Flight 103 had originated at Frankfurt Airport, operated by Boeing 727. At London Heathrow Airport, the flight was the changed to a Boeing 747. The aircraft pushed back from the terminal at 18:04 and took off from runway 27R at 18:25, and took off to John F. Kennedy International Airport, and then to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Crash[change | change source]

At 19:02:44 Flight 103 disappeared from air traffic control, then at 19:02:50 then plane returned as five echos instead of one. A British Airways pilot, reported that he could see a huge fire on the ground. The explosion punched a 50-cm (20-inch) hole on the left side of the fuselage. As it descended, the fuselage broke up into smaller pieces, with the section attached to the wings landing first. 200,000 lb (91,000 kg) of jet fuel it contained, ignited, the resulting fireball destroyed several houses and tore a large crater through the center of Lockerbie killing 11 people on the ground.

Victims[change | change source]

All 259 passengers and crew and eleven people on the ground died in the crash. Of the 259 people on the plane 190 people were Americans, 43 were British, and many more were represented, with four or fewer passengers per country. Flight 103 was manned by Captain Jim MacQuarrie (55), First Officer Ray Wagner (52), and Flight Engineer Jerry Don Avritt (46). The cabin crew were from Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic, France, Norway, the Philippines, Spain, Sweden, West Germany, and the United States.

Nationality Passengers Crew On ground Total
 Argentina 3 0 0 3
 Australia 1 0 0 1
 Belgium 1 0 0 1
 Bolivia 1 0 0 1
 Brazil 5 0 0 5
 Canada 3 0 0 3
 Czechoslovakia 1 0 0 1
 Denmark 1 0 0 1
 Dominican Republic 1 0 0 1
 France 2 1 0 3
 West Germany 3 1 0 4
 Greece 1 0 0 1
 Hungary 4 0 0 4
 India 3 0 0 3
 Ireland 3 0 0 3
 Israel 1 0 0 1
 Italy 2 0 0 2
 Jamaica 1 0 0 1
 Japan 1 0 0 1
 Mexico 2 0 0 2
 Netherlands 1 0 0 1
 Norway 1 0 0 1
 Philippines 1 0 0 1
 Portugal 2 0 0 2
 Romania 1 0 0 1
 South Africa 1 0 0 1
 Spain 0 1 0 1
 Sweden 2 1 0 3
  Switzerland 1 0 0 1
 Trinidad and Tobago 1 0 0 1
 United Kingdom 31 1 11 43
 United States 178 10 0 188
 Yugoslavia 3 0 0 3
Total 248 15 11 274

Notable people[change | change source]

Bernt Carlsson

James Fuller

Paul Jeffreys

Matthew Gannon

Claims of responsibility[change | change source]

Members of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution had destroyed the plane in retaliation for Iran Air Flight 655 being shot down by U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf the previous July.

Muammar Gaddafi admitted Libya's responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families in 2003, though he maintained that he never personally gave the order for the attack.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Clipper Maid of the Seas: Remembering those on flight 103". panamair.org. 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2008.
  2. "Colonel Gaddafi 'ordered Lockerbie bombing'" at bbc.co.uk

Other websites[change | change source]