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1985: Air India bombing remembered

More than 300 people were killed when a bomb exploded on Air India flight 182 as it flew over the Irish sea on its way to Canada.

The same day, an attempt to sabotage another Air India flight in Tokyo failed when a bomb exploded prematurely at Narita Airport, killing two baggage handlers.

Police believed the bombings were in revenge for the Indian government's storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sikhism's holiest shrine, in 1984.

After a 20-year-long investigation and a 19-month long trial two Sikh immigrants to Canada were acquitted in March 2005 on the ruling of one Canadian judge, to the dismay of victims' relatives.

Your accounts of the Air India crash:

706 squadron at Culdrose. Was on duty and have memories of the helicopters coming back after the search.

A sad day for everybody and was grateful for what little we could do.
Neil, UK

My father was an air traffic controller in Cork airport at the time the plane was destroyed.

We were due to go on holiday when he recived the call to come into work so that they could look for the plane.


" Ordinary people, murdered for someone else's ideology "

Daire, Ireland

All I can remember is the confusion as people wondered what was happening and the slim, fading hope that the people would be found alive.

I can still see my dad getting the call in our kitchen and thinking that these people had just wanted to go on holidays, like we were due to do. Ordinary people, murdered for someone else's ideology.
Daire, Ireland

I was waiting for my husband to return from the USA when I heard of a plane going down into the sea.

He had already left the USA and all I kept thinking of was what I was going to tell my children - it wasn't until a few hours later that I learnt that it was an Air India flight that had gone down.

Of course I was relieved, but I felt so sorry for all those who had lost their lives and their families.
Lynne, USA

I was 12 years old and I distinctly remember the incident. It was late at night and my mother was watching the news.

I remember standing behind her and hearing the terrible news unfold. The news woman was saying how among the debris, rescuers had found a doll.

It still gives me chills to think how I felt that night. I couldn't sleep. I think that news made a huge impact on me, and I felt a kind of pain for strangers like I had never felt before. I learnt empathy.
Ankita

On this day I was attending a get-together at my relative's home.

The radio was on and we were listening to the news. Suddenly, there was a breaking news about the Air India jet crash over Ireland.

We were all saddened. Though there were none of my relatives on that flight, still I felt heartache for my fellow citizens.

There was a deep silence in the house and nobody ate anything after the news broke.

Even today I feel like a part of myself is missing.
Kirti Shah, USA

I was a teenager at the time and was attending high school near Toronto.

It was front page news, because there were many people on that plane from the area and not many planes were exploding at 30,000 feet in the air at the time.

But what I remember the most was the full page picture my school ran in the yearbook of a fellow classmate who perished in the terrorist attack and remembering thinking how horrible it must have been.

I can still see his face in my mind's eye today.

I am not sure why I wrote this - maybe it's a memory to keep him alive and remembered.
Gary Moore, Canada

I was working at the time in Tokyo and living with my lovely Chinese girlfriend.

Her sister from Hong Kong had visited us and was scheduled to return that day to Hong Kong on board a Narita/Kai Tak flight with Air India.

We had just dropped her off at airport when the CP Air bomb blew up, killing two baggage handlers.

The airport was immediately closed down and we were stuck in the car park, unaware of the events around us.

Listening to the AFN news on the car radio, we learned about the Air India crash in the Atlantic and the bombing at Narita.


" Our sympathy goes out to those who were not so lucky as my sister's girlfriend. "

David Marler, Lebanon

It was already suspected that the Atlantic crash was caused by a bomb and that the Tokyo bomb was intended to connect to the Air India flight from Narita.

We quickly realised how close my girlfriend's sister had come to being a victim of a conflict of which we knew very little of.

The bombers had planned a double attack and it was only fortunate that the Tokyo bomb exploded prematurely.

Our sympathy goes out to those who were not so lucky as my sister's girlfriend and the other passengers on Air India's Narita flight.
David Marler, Lebanon

I was visiting my sister in the USA and was to return to India on the same flight.

Due to ticket booking problems, my return trip got delayed at the last minute.

My sister's neighbours had assumed I would be on the plane and they came around, some of them crying as I had become friendly with them.

As for me, I was struck dumb, not so much with the thought that I could have been one of the 329 on board but more because even such a huge plane could be so vulnerable, and we are all so very helpless at times.
Ulupee Kakoty, India

I was wireless op based at RAF Alness on RAF Marine Craft when I heard the breaking news of the incident.

When I heard the news, I tuned my various radios to monitor the SAR frequencies.

The main HF frequency was most useful as I could hear the rescue aircraft.

I do remember taking a long message down which gave the spread of the wreckage.

We plotted the wreckage spread and updated as and when we received messages from the SAR aircraft.

It was a very interesting experience matched only by being at RAF Pitreave during the Alexander Kyland disaster in 1979.
David Nevans, Scotland


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