Man Accused of 1988 Airplane Bombing That Killed 270 People Now in U.S. Custody

Man Accused of 1988 Airplane Bombing That Killed 270 People Now in U.S. Custody

Over half of the people on board were Americans, including 35 students from Syracuse University.

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A mock-up of the explosives-loaded Toshiba cassette recorder which blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 is displayed on January 31, 2001 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
A mock-up of the explosives-loaded Toshiba cassette recorder which blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 is displayed on January 31, 2001 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

A Libyan man accused of building the bomb that exploded on a civilian plane over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people, has been transferred to U.S. custody, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The U.S. Department of Justice first announced charges against Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi in December of 2020 after he was arrested in Libya. Mas’ud would be the first person to face charges in a U.S. court over the terrorist attack.

The Pan-Am flight took off from London on Dec. 21, 1988 and was headed for New York but a bomb, designed inside of a Toshiba boombox, exploded less than an hour after takeoff. The crash killed all 259 people on board as well as 11 people on the ground where it crashed in Lockerbie, destroying homes in the area.

As the AP notes, 190 of the people on board were Americans, including 35 students from Syracuse University who had been spending a semester in the UK. Residents from 20 other countries were also killed in the attack.

The Justice Department alleges Mas’ud admitted to the bombing as a member of Libyan intelligence in the 1980s. Moammar Gadhafi, the longtime leader of Libya before his death in 2011 at the hands of a rebel militia following NATO airstrikes, reportedly thanked Mas’ud for his work building the bomb that destroyed the flight over Scotland.

Click through the slideshow for more photos from that day and the aftermath. Viewer discretion is advised.

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From Above

From Above

Some of the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 after it crashed onto the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, on December 21, 1988
Some of the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 after it crashed onto the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, on December 21, 1988
Photo: Bryn Colton (Getty Images)
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Clipper Maid of the Seas

Clipper Maid of the Seas

The cockpit section of ‘Clipper Maid of the Seas, Pan Ams flight 103 is inspected by police and specialists as it lay on the ground following a midair explosion over the village of Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, United Kingdom, on Thursday, December 22, 1988
The cockpit section of ‘Clipper Maid of the Seas, Pan Ams flight 103 is inspected by police and specialists as it lay on the ground following a midair explosion over the village of Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, United Kingdom, on Thursday, December 22, 1988
Photo: Bryn Colton (Getty Images)
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Scattered Wreckage

Scattered Wreckage

Local resident Robert Love stands by one of the four engines of the Pan Am 747 Jumbo jet on December 22, 1988.
Local resident Robert Love stands by one of the four engines of the Pan Am 747 Jumbo jet on December 22, 1988.
Photo: Roy Letkey / AFP (Getty Images)
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Radio Fragment

Radio Fragment

Fingertip-held Toshiba radio fragment recovered fr. 1988 Lockerbie bomb-blasted Pan Am flight 103 plane, Justice Dept. evidence in indictment of 2 Libyans.
Fingertip-held Toshiba radio fragment recovered fr. 1988 Lockerbie bomb-blasted Pan Am flight 103 plane, Justice Dept. evidence in indictment of 2 Libyans.
Photo: Cynthia Johnson (Getty Images)
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Slide Title

Slide Title

Detonator-model-fit Toshiba radio chip recovered from 1988 Lockerbie bomb-blasted Pan Am flight 103 plane, Justice Dept. evidence in indictment of 2 Libyans.
Detonator-model-fit Toshiba radio chip recovered from 1988 Lockerbie bomb-blasted Pan Am flight 103 plane, Justice Dept. evidence in indictment of 2 Libyans.
Photo: Cynthia Johnson (Getty Images)
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Art in the Compound

Art in the Compound

A Libyan hand holds a crushed US fighter jet in this sculpture located on the grounds of Libyan leader Muammar Al Qadhafi’s compound February 1, 2001 in Tripoli
A Libyan hand holds a crushed US fighter jet in this sculpture located on the grounds of Libyan leader Muammar Al Qadhafi’s compound February 1, 2001 in Tripoli
Photo: Courtney Kealy/Newsmakers (Getty Images)
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Reconstructed Plane

Reconstructed Plane

The “Shatter Zone” Portion Of The Reconstructed Fuselage Of Pan Am Flight 103, Which Exploded Over Lockerbie In 1988 Is On Display January 31, 2001 In Edinburgh, Scotland.
The “Shatter Zone” Portion Of The Reconstructed Fuselage Of Pan Am Flight 103, Which Exploded Over Lockerbie In 1988 Is On Display January 31, 2001 In Edinburgh, Scotland.
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)
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Path of Destruction

Path of Destruction

Some of the destruction caused by Pan Am Flight 103 after it crashed onto the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, on December 21, 1988.
Some of the destruction caused by Pan Am Flight 103 after it crashed onto the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, on December 21, 1988.
Photo: Bryn Colton (Getty Images)
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Lockerbie, Scotland

Lockerbie, Scotland

Some of the destruction caused by Pan Am Flight 103 after it crashed onto the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, on December 21,1988.
Some of the destruction caused by Pan Am Flight 103 after it crashed onto the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, on December 21,1988.
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)
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Airplane Seats

Airplane Seats

Police officers view a row of aircraft seats from the crashed Pan Am Boeing 103.
Police officers view a row of aircraft seats from the crashed Pan Am Boeing 103.
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)
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Makeshift Chapel for the Victims

Makeshift Chapel for the Victims

Almost 90 pine coffins of victims of the Pan Am Boeing 747 which crashed on to the town of Lockerbie, in four rows in the makeshift Chapel of Rest in Lockerbie’s Town Hall.
Almost 90 pine coffins of victims of the Pan Am Boeing 747 which crashed on to the town of Lockerbie, in four rows in the makeshift Chapel of Rest in Lockerbie’s Town Hall.
Photo: John Giles/PA Images (Getty Images)
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Search and Rescue Dogs

Search and Rescue Dogs

Collie Donna who helped in rescue operations after the Lockerbie Air Crash, with her owner Bill Parr in London after the courageous canine received a 1989 Bounce Superdog Award.
Collie Donna who helped in rescue operations after the Lockerbie Air Crash, with her owner Bill Parr in London after the courageous canine received a 1989 Bounce Superdog Award.
Photo: PA Images (Getty Images)
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