It is still regarded as one of the most significant terrorist attacks in history, it devastated a village in Scotland and it captured the attention of the world. It was over twenty years ago and we take a look back.
On 21st December, 1988 Pan-Am flight 103 from London to New York crashed into the small Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing all 259 people onboard and 11 people on the ground, just 38 minutes after take-off. We take a look at the Lockerbie crash twenty years on.
The Pan-Am 747 was flying at approximately 31,000 feet when a bomb on board the plane – planted by Libyan terrorists and meticulously traced to a specific suitcase in the plane’s forward luggage compartment – exploded. Initially, investigators did not know what caused the crash, but on Christmas Eve, the darkest fear of investigators came true when they found evidence that a bomb brought the plane down. The area becomes the largest crime scene in the world. Like a giant puzzle, every piece of the wreckage is reassembled in a warehouse.
In 1991 after a three-year investigation, Scotland's chief law officer, the Lord Advocate, obtained a warrant for the arrest of two Libyans, Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah. Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was jailed for life in January 2001, while his alleged accomplice, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was found not guilty.
Two years later in 2003, the Libyan government ultimately accepted responsibility and paid a $2.7 billion settlement. For the role it played in the disaster, Pan Am was eventually found guilty of wilful misconduct for failing to ensure that every piece of luggage was matched to a passenger on the plane.
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