Sikh Who Sought Revenge by Bombs; Crash Horror: Final Chapter in History of Air India Flight 182; Sikh Activist and Former Coventry Jaguar Worker Inderjit Singh Reyat Yesterday Admitted His Part in an 1985 Airline Bombing Which Killed 329 People. Emma Brady Looks at the History of the Disaster of Air India Flight 182
It was within the space of an hour on June 23, 1985, that Inderjit Singh Reyat's destructive handiwork manifested itself in two explosions, resulting in the loss of 331 lives.
The carnage could have been even greater.
A bomb planted in a suitcase at Tokyo's Narita airport blew up at 0720 BST in a baggage sorting area, killing two baggage handlers.
The suitcase had come from the hold of a Canadian Pacific Air Boeing 747, which had started its journey in Vancouver, and was carrying 400 passengers.
Fortunately for them the aircraft arrived 15 minutes early and had been on the ground for 40 minutes when the blast happened.
The bomb, it later emerged, had been destined for transfer to a Bangkok-bound Air India flight but detonated early.
An hour later, Air India Flight 182 was on its way from Vancouver to Delhi, via London, when it exploded over the Atlantic, 100 miles off the Irish coast.
Debris was scattered across a five-mile stretch of the ocean. Pathologists believed some passengers survived the blast and crash, but drowned after the plane entered the water.
There were no survivors. The twin attacks led to Canada's longest and most expensive criminal investigation, culminating in the arrest of three Sikhs including Reyat.
Police believed both bombs had originated in British Columbia, Canada, and were the work of militant Sikh separatists who were fighting for an independent Sikh homeland in India.
The bombings were suspected of being revenge attacks for Operation Bluestar in 1984 when Indian troops raided the Sikhs' holiest shrine, the Golden Temple at Amritsar. State-owned Air India appeared an obvious target. Reyat, who holds joint BritishCanadian citizenship, was arrested in Coventry, where he worked as an electrician at the Jaguar plant, in 1989. …