Database of terrorist attacks and related events--Johnston's Archive

Pan American Flight 103--21 December 1988

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 26 November 2017

Date: 21 December 1988

Location: Lockerbie, Scotland, United Kingdom

Type of event: terrorism


Pan American Flight 103, a Boeing 747, was destroyed in flight by a bomb at 6:56 PM. The plane was en route from London, England, to New York City, carrying holiday and other travelers. An explosive device, using a sophisticated time-delay fuse, had been concealed in a portable radio in luggage originating in Malta and transfered to the flight in Frankfurt, Germany. This exploded in a cargo hold after the 747's departure from London, with the aircraft rapidly disintegrating due to the damage to the fuselage. All 259 aboard were killed, including 189 Americans. The mid-section of the plane impacted the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, destroying several buildings and killing 11 more people and injuring 12. An intensive investigation eventually identified two Libyan suspects; the Libyan government was implicated by evidence including the timer used in the bomb. In 2004 Libya settled claims stemming from the bombing.

Consequences: 270 killed, 12 injured


© 2017 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 26 November 2017.
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