U.S. Concurs That Plastic Explosive Caused Downing of Pan Am Flight 103
Menu JTA Search

U.S. Concurs That Plastic Explosive Caused Downing of Pan Am Flight 103

Download PDF for this date

The United States concurred Wednesday with Great Britain’s finding that an explosive device caused the downing of Pan American World Airways Flight 103. Government agencies will now help find the culprit.

State Department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said the United States agrees with the finding of the British investigative team, which announced in London on Wednesday that a plastic explosive had caused the air disaster.

Up to 270 people died in the Dec. 21 incident, in which a Boeing 747 jet crashed in the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, about an hour after taking off from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Oakley said the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing their inquiry into the plane crash.

She said three groups have claimed responsibility for blowing up the plane, including Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, which did so in a Dec. 22 telephone call to the London bureau of the Associated Press. She did not identify the other two groups.

The United States has “no particularly theory” about who planted the bomb, including whether the saboteur was a terrorist group or an individual, she said.

She said the United States agrees with the conclusion of a Finnish investigation that the Abu Nidal group had “no connection to this bombing.” The terrorist organization was cited in a Dec. 5 telephone call to the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki warning that a Pan Am plane departing Frankfurt would be blown up in the coming weeks.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund