Most of the 270 victims were Americans, including two Seton Hill College students, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, a volunteer firefighter from Pleasant Hills, and a widow from New Castle and her two daughters.
On Sunday, US and Scottish authorities announced that a Libyan bomb maker responsible for the deadliest terror attack ever on British soil is now in custody. Most of his 270 victims were Americans, and some had close ties to Pennsylvania.
On December 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew members were killed, and when the wreckage fell, 21 houses were destroyed and another 11 people on the ground were killed.
The flight was on its way to New York from London, carrying among its passengers two Seton Hill College students, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, a volunteer firefighter from Pleasant Hills, a widow from New Castle and her two daughters, and many more Americans with and without ties to the Keystone State.
The man in custody is Abu Agila Masud, and rumors of his eventual capture began last month with reports that he had been kidnapped by a militia group in Libya. This fueled speculation that he was taken in order to be handed over to American authorities to stand trial for his crimes.
Masud’s alleged co-conspirator, a man named Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was tried and convicted in 2001, then sentenced to life in prison for his role in the terrorist attack. He was later released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer, and died in 2012.
To date, Megrahi has been the only person convicted over the attack. Now it appears there will be another trial, this one at least 34 years overdue.
“This means so much to the families, so much to my family, so much to me to know that justice for my brother, for the 269 other victims is going to be served in our country under our laws,” said Kara Weipz, President of the group Victims of Pan Am 103. Her brother, Richard Monetti, was killed in the Lockerbie bombing.
Masud was officially charged by the Justice Department in 2020, and now, it appears he will face those charges.