The Full Wiki

More info on UTA Flight 772

UTA Flight 772: Map

Advertisements
  
  

Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:



UTA Flight 772 of the French airline Union des Transports Aériens was a scheduled flight operating from Brazzavillemarker in the Republic of Congomarker, via N'Djamenamarker in Chadmarker, to Paris CDG airportmarker in France.

On 19 September 1989 the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft registered N54629 took off from N'Djamena International Airportmarker at 13:13. Forty six minutes later, at its cruising altitude of , an explosion caused UTA Flight 772 to break up over the Sahara Desert near the towns of Bilmamarker and Ténéré in Nigermarker. All 156 passengers and 14 crew members died, including Bonnie Pugh, wife of the American ambassador to Chad, Robert Pugh.

Victims

On the flight deck were Captain Georges Raveneau, First Officer Jean-Pierre Hennequin, Flight Engineer Alain Bricout. In the Cabin, Pursers Jean-Pierre Baschung and Michele Vasseur along with Flight Attendants Alain Blanc, Laurence de Boery-Penon, Martine Brette, Anne Claisse, Nicole Deblicker, Ethery Lenoble, Gael Lugagne, Veronique Marella, Jean-Pierre Mauboussin.

The victims came from 18 different countries, the majority being French or Congolese nationals: 54 French, 48 nationals of Republic of Congo, 25 Chadians, 9 Italians, 7 Americans, 5 Cameronians, 4 Britons, 3 nationals of Zairemarker (Democratic Republic of the Congomarker), 3 Canadians, 2 Central Africans, 2 Malians, 2 Swiss, 1 Algerian, 1 Bolivian, 1 Belgian, 1 Greek, 1 Moroccan and 1 Senegalese.

Investigation

An investigation commission of the ICAOmarker determined that a bomb placed in a container in location 13-R in the forward cargo hold caused the destruction of the aircraft. The commission suggested that the most plausible hypothesis was for the bomb to have been inside the baggage loaded at Brazzaville airport. Initial speculation over which groups might have been responsible for destroying UTA Flight 772 centered upon Islamic Jihad, who were quick to claim responsibility for the attack, and the "Secret Chadian Resistance" rebel group, which opposed president Hissen Habré. Five years previously, on 10 March 1984, a bomb destroyed another UTA aircraft from Brazzaville shortly after the DC-8 had landed at N'Djamena airport. There were no fatalities on that occasion and those responsible were never identified.

Wreckage of the aircraft was sent to France for forensic examination, where traces of the explosive pentrite were found in the forward cargo hold. Pieces of a dark grey Samsonite suitcase covered in a layer of pentrite convinced the investigators that this was the source of the explosion. It had been loaded in Brazzaville.

Trial in absentia

The investigators obtained a confession from one of the alleged terrorists, a Congolese opposition figure, who had helped recruit a fellow dissident to smuggle the bomb onto the aircraft. This confession led to charges being brought against six Libyans. French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière identified them, as follows:

  • Abdullah Sanussi, brother-in-law of Muammar al-Gaddafi, and deputy head of Libyan intelligence;
  • Abdullah Elazragh, Counsellor at the Libyan embassy in Brazzaville;
  • Ibrahim Naeli and Arbas Musbah, explosives experts in the Libyan secret service;
  • Issa Shibani, the secret agent who purchased the timer that allegedly triggered the bomb; and,
  • Abdelsalam Hammouda, Sanussi's right-hand man, who was said to have coordinated the attack.


In 1999, the six Libyans were put on trial in the Paris Assize Court for the bombing of UTA Flight 772. Because Gaddafi would not allow their extradition to France, the six were tried in absentia and were convicted.

On 16 August 2003 Libya formally admitted responsibility for Pan Am Flight 103 in a letter presented to the president of the United Nations Security Council. Felicity Barringer of The New York Times said that the letter had "general language that lacked any expression of remorse" for the people killed in the bombing.

The motive usually attributed to Libya for the UTA Flight 772 bombing is that of revenge on the French for supporting Chadmarker against the expansionist projects of Libya toward Chad. Libya was understood to have considered this French support as "neo-colonialist". The Chadian–Libyan conflict (1978–1987) ended in disaster for Libya with the 1987 Toyota War —almost exactly two years later UTA Flight 772 was bombed.

Libyan compensation

The Paris court awarded the families of the UTA victims sums ranging from €3 000 to €30 000 depending on their relationship to the dead. Not content with this award, the French relatives' group "Les Familles du DC10 d'UTA" signed an agreement on 9 January 2004 with the Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Associations accepting a compensation payment of $170 million United States dollars, or $1 million for each of the 170 UTA victims. By 2007-05, it was reported that 95% of this compensation money had been distributed. However, the families of the seven American victims refused to accept their $1 million USD awards and are pursuing the Libyan government through a federal court in Washingtonmarker. On 19 September 2006, the court was asked to rule that the Libyan government and six of its agents were guilty of the 19 September 1989 destruction of UTA Flight 772. Damages of more than $2 billion USD were claimed for the loss of life and the destruction of the DC-10 jet.

In April 2007, D.C. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy found Libya directly responsible for the bombing and presided over a three day bench trial from 13 August 2007 to 15 August 2007. On 15 January 2008, Judge Kennedy issued an order awarding $6 billion USD in damages to the families and owners of the airliner. Libya has appealed this decision.

In October 2008 Libya paid $1.5 billion into a fund which will be used to compensate relatives of the
  1. Lockerbie bombing victims with the remaining 20%;
  2. American victims of the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombingmarker;
  3. American victims of the 1989 UTA Flight 772 bombing; and,
  4. Libyan victims of the 1986 US bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi.


As a result, President George W. Bush signed an executive order restoring the Libyan government's immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing all of the pending compensation cases in the US, the White Housemarker said.

Popular references



Memorial

In 2007 a memorial was created in the desert by Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA, an association of the victims’ families. The memorial is constructed of black rock in the shape of the DC10 airplane inside a compass.

Notes

  1. " Court Awards US Victims More Than $6 Billion for 1989 Libyan Terrorist Bombing of French Airliner That Killed 170 People Over African Desert." PR Newswire. 15 January 2008. Retrieved on 3 June 2009.
  2. The ICAO is a United Nations agency that does not routinely investigate aircraft accidents, however Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in 1983 set the precedent.
  3. UTA Flight 772: Aviation Safety Network report
  4. UTA DC-8: Aviation Safety Network report
  5. Les preuves trafiquées du terrorisme libyen by Pierre Péan (Le Monde diplomatique)
  6. Barringer, Felicity. " Libya Admits Culpability in Crash of Pan Am Plane." The New York Times. Saturday August 16, 2003. Retrieved on August 11, 2009.
  7. Libya "accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials"
  8. The French military role in Chad
  9. http://www.dc10-uta.org Les Familles du DC10 d'UTA
  10. Over $160 million of Libyan compensation distributed
  11. Compensation claim by American relatives
  12. Memorandum, Robert Pugh, et al. v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Civ. Action No. 02-2026-HHK (D.D.C. 15 January 2007)
  13. " U.S. judge orders Libya to pay billions to plane victims," Houston Chronicle, 17 January 2008


References

  1. " Court Awards US Victims More Than $6 Billion for 1989 Libyan Terrorist Bombing of French Airliner That Killed 170 People Over African Desert." PR Newswire. 15 January 2008. Retrieved on 3 June 2009.
  2. The ICAO is a United Nations agency that does not routinely investigate aircraft accidents, however Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in 1983 set the precedent.
  3. UTA Flight 772: Aviation Safety Network report
  4. UTA DC-8: Aviation Safety Network report
  5. Les preuves trafiquées du terrorisme libyen by Pierre Péan (Le Monde diplomatique)
  6. Barringer, Felicity. " Libya Admits Culpability in Crash of Pan Am Plane." The New York Times. Saturday August 16, 2003. Retrieved on August 11, 2009.
  7. Libya "accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials"
  8. The French military role in Chad
  9. http://www.dc10-uta.org Les Familles du DC10 d'UTA
  10. Over $160 million of Libyan compensation distributed
  11. Compensation claim by American relatives
  12. Memorandum, Robert Pugh, et al. v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Civ. Action No. 02-2026-HHK (D.D.C. 15 January 2007)
  13. " U.S. judge orders Libya to pay billions to plane victims," Houston Chronicle, 17 January 2008


See also




Embed code:
Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message