[Unsurprisingly, the media today is full of articles comparing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 with the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie. One interesting example, from the United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, deals with the history of aircraft accident investigation and contains the following:]
The job of the aircraft investigation team is sometimes to confirm the expected cause of a crash, but also sometimes to uncover the unexpected.
One of the most famous examples of the former is the destruction of Pan-Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988. The 270 fatalities included 11 people on the ground.
From the start it was clear that the crash had been caused by a mid-air explosion. The question was, who or what was responsible?
The cockpit recorder in the tail was found in less than 24 hours and confirmed there had been no warning.
Parts of the Boeing 747 were shipped to the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Board headquarters in southern England, where a three dimensional reconstruction of a section of the hull was carried out.
Meticulous examination determined that an explosion had destroyed the aircraft, with other fragments showing that it had been planted in a Samsonite suitcase.
Traces of a circuit board dug out of the Scottish soil showed it had been hidden in a Toshiba cassette player, similar to one that had been used in an earlier attempted terrorist attack in West Germany. Libyan intelligence was blamed for the crime, with an intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, eventually convicted.
[Frequent commentator on this blog, Rolfe, has recently posted this comment:]
“It looks as if MH370 broke up at 35,000 feet without any distress signal being broadcast, 41 minutes after the wheels left the tarmac. I hope to hell this is just an evil coincidence but does anyone know where Marwan Khreesat is right now?”