Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Air India Flight 182: Twenty five years ago

PM to Air India families: 'We are sorry'

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | 11:57 PM ET

CBC News

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently met with members of the Air  India Victims Families Association in his office on Parliament Hill in  Ottawa.Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently met with members of the Air India Victims Families Association in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will mark the 25th anniversary of the Air India bombing by saying "we are sorry" to families of the victims.

"Some wounds are too deep to be healed even by the remedy of time," Harper will say on Wednesday in Toronto in a speech he wrote himself. "We are sorry."

An excerpt from the speech was obtained by CBC News.

Harper will say the destruction of Air India Flight 182 "was, and remains, the single worst act of terrorism in Canadian history."

He will describe terrorism as "an enemy with a thousand faces, and a hatred that festers in the darkest spots of the human mind."

"This was evil, perpetrated by cowards. Despicable, senseless and vicious," Harper will say.

The prime minister will discuss compensation, but will not mention an amount.

Harper's apology follows a scathing report released last week by former Supreme Court justice John C. Major. He blamed a "cascading series of errors" by government, the RCMP and the country's spy agency for failing to prevent the disaster.

Harper called the report a "damning indictment of many things that occurred before and after the tragedy" which the government is "determined to avoid in the future."

There is more, here. Also check out the links in the sidebar on that page.

There is a massive archive on this terrorist act, and the aftermath in the subsequent years:

(AP Photo/Jane Wolsak)

The Bombing of Air India Flight 182
CBC News Online | September 25, 2006

On March 16, 2005, a B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri on eight charges related to the bombing of Air India Flight 182 on June 22, 1985. It was Canada's worst mass murder - 329 people were killed. Two baggage handlers at Tokyo's Narita Airport died in another connected bombing.

The investigation and prosecution of the accused have been the costliest in Canadian history, estimated at about $130 million.

An inquiry into the bombing of Air India 182 — how it occurred, why the law has failed to find those responsible and whether in could happen again — began on June 21, 2006. The first three hearings were held on July 18, 19 and 20. The inquiry began hearing evidence on Sept. 25, starting with the relatives of some victims.

It all started more than 20 years ago.

Ajaib Singh Bagri [left] (CP Photo/Chuck Stoody) and Ripudaman Singh Malik (CP Photo/Richard Lam)

June 22, 1985. Airline agent Jeanne Bakermans checks in two pieces of luggage at Vancouver International Airport that will change the course of history.

Hours later, the first suitcase explodes inside the baggage terminal at Tokyo's Narita Airport while being transferred to an Air India flight. Two baggage handlers are killed. Exactly 55 minutes later, the other bag, a dark-brown hard-sided Samsonite suitcase, explodes in the forward cargo hold of Air India Flight 182 as it approaches the coast of Ireland.

Some passengers actually survive the 747's fall from 31,000 feet only to die in the frigid waters of the Atlantic.
(For more on the background, go here)

The BBC has this:

1985: Air India jet crashes killing 329
A passenger jet has disintegrated in mid-air off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people on board.

The Air India flight was only 45 minutes from London Heathrow when it suddenly disappeared from radar screens at 0816 BST.

Airline officials said they do not know the cause of the crash, but suspected it was caused by a bomb planted by Sikh extremists.

The Boeing 747 plunged into the sea from 30,000 ft (9,144 m) and rescue officials said they did not expect to find survivors. The pilot had no time to issue a mayday message, according to the coastguard.

Flight AI 182 was flying from Toronto to London with a stopover at Montreal. Most of the passengers were of Indian origin and intending to fly on to Bombay or Delhi.

There is a large slick of fuel about 4.5 miles long and a lot of wreckage on the surface
RAF pilot Paul Redfern
The plane had already been delayed at Mirabel Airport, Montreal, where Canadian Mounties removed three suspicious packages.

The rescue operation is being co-ordinated by the coastguard in Plymouth and Falmouth, and four RAF helicopters are being used to search for bodies. ..

Lots more here.

No comments: