Pan Am Flight 103

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Pan Am Flight 103

The remains of the forward section from Clipper Maid of the Seas
Bombing summary
Date 21 December 1988 (1988-12-21)
Summary Bombing
Place Lockerbie, 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
Passengers 243
Crew 16
Injuries (non-fatal) 0
Fatalities 270 (all, including 11 on the ground)
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Boeing 747-100
Aircraft name Clipper Maid of the Seas
Airline/user Pan American World Airways
Registration N739PA
Flew from Frankfurt am Main Airport
1st stopover London Heathrow Airport
2nd stopover John F. Kennedy International Airport
Flying to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport


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 killed everybody on the plane. It exploded over Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, and eleven more people on the ground were killed by the falling plane. 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 deadly 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 2 0 0 2
 Australia 1 0 0 1
 Belgium 1 0 0 1
 Bolivia 1 0 0 1
 Brazil 6 0 0 6
 Canada 3 0 0 3
 Croatia 1 0 0 1
 Denmark 1 0 0 1
 France 2 1 0 3
 Germany 3 1 0 4
 Hong Kong 2 0 0 2
 Hungary 4 0 0 4
 Indonesia 1 0 0 1
 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
 South Korea 2 0 0 2
 Mexico 1 0 0 1
 Netherlands 1 0 0 1
 Philippines 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
 Taiwan 3 0 0 3
 Trinidad and Tobago 1 0 0 1
 United Kingdom 31 1 11 43
 United States 178 10 0 188
Total 243 16 11 270

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]

Other websites[change | change source]