35 Years Later: Remembering Pan Am Flight 103

by Anthony Losanno
Pan Am 103 Logo

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Pan Am flight PA103 was scheduled to fly from Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA) to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) on December 21, 1988. The Boeing 747 was in flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie when a bomb destroyed the aircraft and killed all 243 passengers and 16 crew. When the aircraft crashed on a residential street, an additional 11 people perished.

A three-year joint investigation ensued with Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) piecing together how the incident occurred. Arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in November 1991, but they were not brought to trial until 1999 when Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi turned in the two men for trial at Camp Zeist in The Netherlands.

Pan Am Flight 103

In 2001, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was found guilty of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing and jailed for life. In August 2009, he was released by the Scottish government after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died three years later in May 2012 and was the only person convicted of this attack.

Relatives of some of the victims believe that the bomb was planted on the plane during a stopover at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). In 2020, US authorities indicted Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, who is a Tunisian resident and Libyan national, for his participation in the bombing. He was taken into custody in December 2022.

Anthony’s Take: This remains the deadliest terror attack in UK history with 270 fatalities. Even after 35 years, I’m sure the incident still is a source of pain for the families of these victims. My condolences to all that have lost loved ones here.

(Featured Image Credit: Pan Am via Twitter/X.)

(Image Credit: Wikipedia.)

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1 comment

Christian December 20, 2023 - 2:37 pm

An awful attack. I was a young travel agent when it happened in a small agency that sold a lot of Pan Am. The airline took gigantic losses from the bombing and had to offer $298 round trip tickets to most of Europe afterwards just to scare up any passenger traffic. Pan Am almost certainly wouldn’t have survived to this day if Lockerbie but no doubt the attack hastened Pan Am’s downfall by years.


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