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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# Cork
30 years ago, the Irish navy began the search and rescue in 'shark infested' waters for victims of Flight 182
All 329 passengers and crew were killed.

Avia Wrecks Accidents For 1985 Air India Flight 182 Associated Press The first Body from the Ill fated Air India plane arriving at Cork Airport in Cork, Ireland, on June 23, 1985. Associated Press

THE IRISH NAVY today marked the 30th anniversary of Air India Flight 182.

At 8.13am on the 23 June 1985, Air India Flight 182 exploded just off the coast of Cork.

The Boeing 747-237B, was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 9,400 metres and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace.

All 329 passengers and crew were killed – including 280 Canadians, 27 British citizens and 22 Indians. The flight had over 80 children on board.

131 bodies were recovered from the sea. It was one of the biggest operations in the history of the State to recover the bodies which was undertaken by the Irish Navy.

The L.É. AISLING navy ship, under the command of Lieutenant Commander James Robinson, was one of the first vessels on scene.

11535876_837854476297450_4985004233744498882_n Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

The Irish Navy Service said it immediately began the grim process of a search and recovery operation.

After 24 hours, the L.É. AISLING had recovered 38 victims from shark infested waters and four of the Ship’s Company, Lt Cdr James Robinson, Petty Officer Seaman Mossie Mahon, Leading Seaman John Mc Grath and Able Seaman Terry Browne would be awarded Distinguished Service Medals for their actions during that operation.

10847953_837854512964113_4012154121248572879_n Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

1557451_837854479630783_3287892359300624245_n Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

The RAF, the Royal Navy and lots of locals also helped with the search and rescue attempts. It was one of the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history.

Flight 182 was en route from Toronto to Delhi, with a stopover in London. However, while in Irish airspace the aircraft disappeared off radar.

Initially it was not known what the cause of the accident was, but it was soon determined that a bomb was planted on board.

Avia Wrecks Accidents For 1985 Air India Flight 182 Associated Press rish soldiers carry one of the victims of the Air India jetliner which plummeted into the Atlantic off Ireland in Cork. Associated Press

This morning an Irish Naval vessel held a one minutes silence by a long blast on the ships horn to commence a period of quiet contemplation by the visiting relatives of the victims and those who assisted in the recovery operation.

The Irish Navy Service said that many of the victim’s relatives congregated in the small village called Ahakista in West Cork, which was the nearest point of land to the crash site.

Since that terrible day, the families have made an annual pilgrimage to the shoreline memorial to remember the disaster. The support and compassion extended to the pilgrims each year by the Irish people has been a sustaining influence on those affected by the terrorist attack.
Our thoughts, prayers and support are with the families at this time.

Five months after the explosion, two suspects were arrested, however, just one man was charged, Inderjit Singh Reyat, a Canadian national.

He pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for building the bombs that exploded aboard Flight 182 and at Japan’s Narita Airport. Last year he lost his appeal. 

In 2006 an inquiry into the bombing was launching by the Canadian Commission into the bombing of Air India Flight 182.

The final report was released 2010, and found there was a series of errors that resulted in intelligence reports of possible terror threats not being acted upon.

Every year, a remembrance ceremony is held in Cork at the memorial garden and sundial in Ahakista in County Cork.

56800_AirIndia1 Discover Ireland Discover Ireland

The sundial was sculpted by Cork sculptor Ken Thompson and was donated by the people of Canada, India and Ireland.

25916_Air-India Discover Ireland Discover Ireland

Last night award-winning Canadian poet, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, spoke at the West Cork Arts Centre. Saklikar lost her aunt and uncle on the Air India flight.

Speaking to the Southern Star Newspaper she said her family will never forget the compassionate care given to us by the people of Cork, in the days just after the bombing.

First published 06.03am 

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