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Hull-loss Description Status: Final      [legenda]

Date:21 DEC 1988
Type:Boeing 747-121A
Operator:Pan American World Airways
Registration: N739PA
Msn / C/n: 19646/15
Year built: 1970
Total airframe hrs: 72464 hours
Cycles: 16497 cycles
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A
Crew:16 fatalities / 16 on board
Passengers:243 fatalities / 243 on board
Total:259 fatalities / 259 on board
Ground casualties:11 fatalities
Airplane damage: Written off
Location: Lockerbie (UK)
Phase: Cruise
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Destination airport:New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK)
Flight PA103 departed London-Heathrow runway 27R for New York at 18:25. The aircraft levelled off at FL310 31 minutes later. At 19:03 Shanwick Oceanic Control transmitted an oceanic clearance. At that time an explosion occurred in the aircraft's forward cargo hold at position 4L. The explosive forces produced a large hole in the fuselage structure and disrupted the main cabin floor. Major cracks continued to propagate from the large hole while containers and items of cargo ejected through the hole, striking the empennage, left- and right tail plane. The forward fuselage and flight deck area separated when the aircraft was in a nose down and left roll attitude, peeling away to the right at Station 800. The nose section then knocked the no. 3 engine off its pylon. The remaining aircraft disintegrated while it was descending nearly vertically from 19000 feet to 9000 feet. A section of cabin floor and baggage hold (from approx. Station 1241-1920) fell onto housing at Rosebank Terrace, Lockerbie. The main wing structure struck the ground with a high yaw angle at Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie causing a massive fire. The Semtex bomb which caused the explosion had probably been hidden in a radio cassette player and was transferred to PA103 from a Pan Am Boeing 727 flight, arriving from Frankfurt. The Polular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) was probably the organisation responsible for the bombing.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The in-flight disintegration of the aircraft was caused by the detonation of an improvised explosive device located in a baggage container positioned on the left side of the forward cargo hold at aircraft station 700."

Related information/accidents:
Security - Sabotage (bomb)
Airplane - Airframe - Fuselage
Result - Crash out of control

Source: (also check out sources used for every accident)
ICAO Circular 260-AN/154 (p.133-188); Air Safety Week12.4.93(3); Aviation Week & Space Technology 2.1.89 (28-32);

Accident Investigation Report AAIB AAR 2/90 [HTML ]
Lockerbie Trial Briefing Site
The Lockerbie Trial


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