AP NEWS
Related topics

Bombings of Commercial Airliners With AM-Crash Bjt

December 23, 1988

Undated (AP) _ Suspicion has focused on terrorist sabotage as the cause of Wednesday’s Pan Am jetliner crash in Scotland. Here is a look at five air disasters involving bombs over the past 12 years:

---

NOV. 29, 1987

Korean Air Flight 858 disappears over the jungle near the Thailand-Burma border. All 115 people aboard the Boeing 707 are killed.

Suspicion about a planted bomb focused on two passengers, a man and woman, detained after they were questioned about forged Japanese passports and bit into cyanide capsules hidden in cigarette filters. The couple had left the KAL flight, which was bound from Baghdad to Bangkok, in Abu Dhabi, one stop before it disappeared. The man succeeded in his suicide attempt, but the woman survived.

South Korean officials believe the couple left bags on the plane that contained a bomb, and suggested they were North Korean agents who blew up the plane as part of a long-range scheme to disrupt the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. North Korea called the accusation ″silly and far-fetched.″

---

APRIL 2, 1986

Four Americans are killed when a bomb under a seat explodes on Trans World Airlines Flight 840 from Rome to Athens. Nine other passengers are injured.

The Boeing 727 was beginning its descent into Athens when the bomb blew a gaping hole in the fuselage. Two women, a mother and daughter, and the daughter’s baby were killed when they were sucked from the plane and plummeted to the ground. The fourth victim, also found on the ground, was killed instantly when the bomb exploded under his seat.

Authorities speculated that the terrorist who set the charge may have been confused by Italy’s recent shift to daylight-saving time. Had the bomb gone off an hour earlier - before the jet began its descent - the massive decompression of the fuselage would have caused a crash killing all 122 people aboard.

Police said the explosive device was left under the seat by a woman carrying a Lebanese passport under the name Mei Mansour who sat in the seat earlier, when the plane was westbound. Mansour later appeared in Beirut and denied responsibility.

---

JUNE 22, 1985

Air-India Flight 182 blows apart off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people aboard. The Boeing 747 was on its way from Toronto to Bombay, via London.

An inquiry by the Indian government concluded that a bomb caused the crash.

Canadian authorities said a man checked a suitcase onto the plane but did not board. In another incident the same day, Canadian officials say, Sikh militants planted a suitcase bomb on a Canadian jetliner in Vancouver. The bag exploded while being transferred to an Air-India flight at the Tokyo airport, killing two baggage handlers.

Despite circumstantial evidence, police have been unable to prove their contention that extremist Sikhs based in British Columbia planted the bombs to retaliate for the storming of a Sikh shrine in India by government troops. Anonymous callers claimed responsibility for the crash on behalf of Sikh groups.

---

AUG. 11, 1982

A 16-year-old Japanese boy is killed by a bomb that explodes aboard a Pan Am jetliner bound from Tokyo to Hawaii. Fifteen other passengers, including the boy’s parents, are injured.

The plane, carrying 285 people, landed safely despite the explosion, which occurred about 140 miles out from Hawaii. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the explosion.

In May 1988, a Palestinian, Mohammed Rashid, was arrested at Athens airport, on a tip from the U.S. Embassy in the Greek capital, and charged with planting the bomb aboard the trans-Pacific airliner. American officials have said Rashid also was involved in the 1986 TWA bombing.

His extradition to the United States remains under consideration.

---

OCT. 6, 1976

A Cubana Airlines DC8 crashes into the sea minutes after taking off from Seawell Airport in Barbados, killing 73 people, including 24 members of the Cuban national fencing team.

Nine minutes after takeoff, the pilot contacted the control tower: ″Seawell, Seawell, C0455. We have an explosion on board. We’re descending fast. ... We have fire on board. ... Request immediate landing permission.″ Another explosion went off and the pilot was heard shouting, ″Shut the door 3/8″ The plane hit the ocean several miles offshore.

Four Cuban exiles living in Venezuela were charged with the bombing. Two were convicted, one escaped, and a fourth, anti-Castro radical Orlando Bosch, spent 11 years in Venezuelan prisons while fighting the charges, was never convicted, and finally was released and returned to the United States last February.

AP RADIO
Update hourly