Remembering Pan Am Flight 103: Alex Smith
Alex Smith, a retired detective of the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, lived in the Lockerbie neighborhood of Sherwood Crescent, which sustained multiple casualties when pieces of the bombed Pan Am Flight 103 landed on several houses there.
You probably know the characteristics: This thing is flying at 30-odd-thousand feet with 140-mile-an-hour crosswind. So, at the actual point of explosion, it fragments. And it was the main fuselage of the plane that came down in Sherwood Park. But on impacting with the ground, it actually blew up again, and everything went back up in the air. So, for those of us on the ground, it was initial impact, horrendous crash, and then minutes later, the fallout. It was earth and rubble and parts of the aircraft just falling back to the ground again. And so, in all it took about five to six minutes for the whole impact scenario to play through.
For all the worst possible reasons it was on the world map, you know? Scotland’s a pretty small country. If you travel abroad, people will say, “Where are you from?” Scotland, yeah. And they probably know the name of two major cities—Glasgow or Edinburgh. And they say, “Glasgow, Edinburgh.” But now we go abroad and, “Where are you from?” Scotland. “Where about?” Lockerbie. “Oh, we’ve all heard of Lockerbie.” Yeah. Again, for all the wrong reasons. So it put Lockerbie on the map, and hopefully Lockerbie has responded to that. Well, I know they have. They’ve embraced what happened to us. And although they would just quietly like to get along with business and don’t make a fuss about it, the fact that some quite poignant memorials have been erected and the dignity of the whole disaster has been kept intact. Quite, quite proud of the Lockerbie people, actually.
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