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  • Air India Flight 182

    VANCOUVER - Irish navy commander describes grisly recovery of bodies from Air India plane

    Bodies, suitcases, seats, wheels and brightly colored clothes littered a wide swath of the ocean after Air India Flight 182 fell from the sky on June 23, 1985, a naval officer testified Wednesday.

    Cmdr. James Robinson, now second-in-command of the Irish navy, described the chilling day nearly 18 years ago when the crews of 19 ships and aircraft responded to a call for help after a plane disappeared off the coast of Ireland.

    Robinson, wearing his navy uniform, leafed through more than 80 photographs as he described the sighting and recovery of bodies and wreckage. Most of the pictures were taken by a crew member on the Aisling, an Irish warship on which Robinson served as lieutenant-commander.

    The naval officer who helped coordinate the operation was the first witness to describe the recovery effort at the British Columbia Supreme Court trial of two men accused of bombing the jetliner, killing 329 people.

    Ripudaman Singh Malik, 56, of Vancouver and Ajaib Singh Bagri, 53, of Kamloops, British Columbia, face multiple counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in the bombing of Flight 182.

    They also face charges in another bombing 54 minutes earlier, when two baggage handlers were killed at Tokyo's Narita airport after a suitcase bomb exploded. Air India Flight 301 was the intended target.


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  • #2
    Well its good to know that we've since expanded our long range rescue capabilities....oh wait.
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

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    • #3
      I remember the whole episode well. Our SAR facilities were shown up as a Joke. We had no Helis capable of flying that far out,and it was pure luck that Aisling was within 24 hours of the scene. I believe a merchant vessel was there first,and On Aislings arrival she took over as search Coordinator. 4 crew from this vessel were awarded the DSM in respect of the Horrible task they carried out during the search,recovering bodies that had fallen many thousands of feet,all the time fighting off the sharks that are all the time present in this part of the Atlantic.
      We witnessed British and American Helicopters being refuelled over Cork by hercules,while our own air corps looked on,unable to provide any assistance.
      I still have newspaper clippings from the time. Aisling Brought many bodies back to cork,and was replaced on scene by other Naval vessels including the Canadian Coast Guards John Cabot, HMS Challenger, and Later on the LE Eithne,which was fitted with a side scan sonar to locate the Black Boxes of the downed aircraft.

      It could easily happen again,and I doubt there would be much difference in the search,except for the occasional availability of Our own Coastguard Helis.


      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

      Comment


      • #4
        But that doesn't matter cos it won't happen no never, it just won't, no more plane crashes cause the DOF said so.
        "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

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        • #5
          In such a scenario, would all our CG helis head to the scene ?
          IRISH AIR CORPS - Serving the Nation.

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          • #6
            20 years ago.
            0813 23-6-1985

            RIP.

            Anyone in the Bantry area should make a point of visiting the Monument to those killed . Its located in Ahakista Bay and is quite moving.
            It consists of a sundial which falls on an arrow pointing to direction of the crash,only on the 23rd of june every year at the above time. Facing the bay there is a "wall of sorrow" which lists the names of all those Killed in the crash. It is tragic to see the similar surnames,which lead you to wonder how many families were killed on the Aircraft on that tragic day.


            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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            • #7
              I remember exactly where I was.....incidently it was only by sheer coincidence that Aislingende up there..it should have been Emer but she was dealing with a brit span who was acting the bollocks regarding a detention.

              It was definetly Robinsons moment of Glory....interesting to note he is mentioned as an LTCDR serving on the warship while he was actually the ships captain...and it was the Aisling who coordinated the whole rescue/recovery operation.

              the others who were awarded DSMs were

              CPO/Sea Muiris Mahon
              L/sea John McGrath
              A/sea Terry Brown.

              I thought I'd mnetion these guys as nobody else ever seems willing to do so.

              The whole crew should have been awarded some sort of decoration as not one baulked from the task in hand.
              Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

              Comment


              • #8
                Whilst credit is given where credit is due..I some times wonder are awards the notions of someone else..

                why wasn't Joe Deasy and his crew( Deirdre) awarded DSMs for the fastnet disaster in 1979 and...interestingly for guys who did a very similar role to the air india disaster in 1968 at the viscount crash..why were there no DSMs awarded then.

                The feeling in the NS at the time of Robinsons award that he put the gemini crew forward for awards on the understanding he got his own reward.

                Interesting to note that a direct entry officer has aquired staff status ...unheard of within army ..because of his DSM which was largely promoted by him self.( he was always very cotraversial in his position of ships captain...take the sonia incident)

                Do the people who rightly warrant the award always get it.

                It was the case before the award of the good conduct medal that former chiefs of staff were awarded DSMs because of their good service,

                Surely this undermines the award as presented to those who actualy put their lives at risk prior to recieving the award.
                Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

                Comment


                • #9
                  So Murph where exactly where you at the time ? .
                  I was on Eithne at the time alongside in Cobh after a patrol , which was a great berth because we did not have to take the ferry back and forth to the base .
                  A few of us where relaxing in the mess reading the Sunday papers that Sunday morning < Da Paper, included > when we heard the news from R . T .E about the crash .
                  A lot of crew headed up to Cobh for a few drinks knowing that we where heading out again sometime soon and would miss the Sunday night at the Comodore .
                  We ended up heading out a few days later with a bunch of Americans onboard who had flown in from the States with the Side Scan Sonar and all it's gear which was mounted off the after deck with a big A FRAME welded to the after railing and a huge winch and cable which they brought along with them in the C130 .
                  They all had military style hair cuts and a few tatoos and always pulled out Zippo lighters with various U.S Military insigna on them .
                  They all claimed they where from an Oceanagraphic Insitute in Florida and that they wher all civies now .
                  Anyway if anyone has any more info on this .
                  Don't spit in my Bouillabaisse .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Woods Hole perhaps? Didn't Howard Hughes and the CIA Tie in with Woods Hole to build the Glomar Explorer?


                    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hptmurphy
                      Whilst credit is given where credit is due..I some times wonder are awards the notions of someone else..

                      why wasn't Joe Deasy and his crew( Deirdre) awarded DSMs for the fastnet disaster in 1979 and...interestingly for guys who did a very similar role to the air india disaster in 1968 at the viscount crash..why were there no DSMs awarded then.

                      The feeling in the NS at the time of Robinsons award that he put the gemini crew forward for awards on the understanding he got his own reward.

                      ...

                      Do the people who rightly warrant the award always get it.

                      It was the case before the award of the good conduct medal that former chiefs of staff were awarded DSMs because of their good service,

                      Surely this undermines the award as presented to those who actualy put their lives at risk prior to recieving the award.
                      Veering off topic slightly...what is the process for getting a gallantry medal, i.e, does the unit/ship IC write up a recommendation and sends the recommendation up the chain of command? Are there citations given with the medals?
                      "Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here...this is the War Room!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Murph,

                        I always found Robinson a fairly straight up kinda guy. I treated a few serious injuries in my role as an SBA in Bere Island one summer (one guy broke his back but thankfully made a full recovery.) , and Robinson was very supportive and full of praise. No DSM mind you!!!! But then, that was my job! He even put a letter into my file, which I saw when I left the NS. I never even knew about that letter, until I was signing off.

                        So, I cant compain too loudly about him! I changed careers in the NS, and even got to go overseas twice. Perhaps Jim was looking after me???

                        Anyway, I know we're veering off topic, but just wanted to say how Robinson was always pretty straight up with me

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          definetley straight up and damn good at his job...you don't get his rank without being so..also found him to be very agressive and gung ho.

                          I had a similar situation in batry in January 88 where I jumped into the tide to drag out some civvy who had fallen in a 3am.

                          Got a COs invitation to go for a chat in his cabin and the words were mnetioned..but nothing ever became of it...until I saw the reference in my discharge papers records signed by the CO at the time...nice.

                          Awards are granted primarily at the recommendation of a witness ,as enior officer who then passes it up the chain...the further reprt goes the better the chance.

                          I don't think he will ever become flag rank though as ther is one little stain on his copy book.

                          Laners on the morning of the Air India disaster I was on the range with the SM..not nowing that within six months I would have joined up....the result of a very mediocre leaving cert and a very benevolent uncle who moved me up the interview list.

                          Robinson was /is a friend of my fathers although my father is 10 years older and they grew up in Ferrybank together.I was actually at his fathers funeral. I had been introduced some time earlier but all ways found the guy very dismissive and stanoffish.
                          Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            30 year anniversary June 23 more details more details to folow

                            Originally posted by hptmurphy View Post
                            definetley straight up and damn good at his job...you don't get his rank without being so..also found him to be very agressive and gung ho.

                            I had a similar situation in batry in January 88 where I jumped into the tide to drag out some civvy who had fallen in a 3am.

                            Got a COs invitation to go for a chat in his cabin and the words were mnetioned..but nothing ever became of it...until I saw the reference in my discharge papers records signed by the CO at the time...nice.

                            Awards are granted primarily at the recommendation of a witness ,as enior officer who then passes it up the chain...the further reprt goes the better the chance.

                            I don't think he will ever become flag rank though as ther is one little stain on his copy book.

                            Laners on the morning of the Air India disaster I was on the range with the SM..not nowing that within six months I would have joined up....the result of a very mediocre leaving cert and a very benevolent uncle who moved me up the interview list.

                            Robinson was /is a friend of my fathers although my father is 10 years older and they grew up in Ferrybank together.I was actually at his fathers funeral. I had been introduced some time earlier but all ways found the guy very dismissive and stanoffish.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              35 Years today, but no ceremony at Ahakista due to Covid-19.
                              https://www.rte.ie/news/munster/2020...a-anniversary/
                              Anniversary of Air India bombing marked online
                              The 35th anniversary of the Air India bombing is being marked with an online ceremony today.

                              Air India Flight 182 was en route from Montreal to New Delhi when a bomb exploded as it was flying off the southwest coast of Ireland on 23 June 1985, killing all 329 people on board.

                              Mayor of County Cork Ian Doyle is among a number of local people taking part in an online remembrance ceremony, which has been organised by the victims' families who cannot travel to Ireland for the annual commemoration due to Covid-19 restrictions.

                              In his message, Councillor Doyle said it was "deeply saddening that the families of those who were so tragically killed on this day 35 years ago cannot visit the memorial in Ahakista to mourn their loved ones".

                              But, he said, as Mayor of the County of Cork he was honoured to be a part of the remembrance tradition.

                              He laid wreaths at the Air India Disaster Memorial at Ahakista earlier this week on behalf of the victims' families, the Indian and Canadian governments and Cork County Council, a recording of which will be included in the online event.

                              The remembrance is available to be viewed on the YouTube channel 'Air India Memorial’.


                              One particularly tragic memory from the event was in the aftermath numerous Indian Consulate and embassy staff were made available to man reception in what was then the Cork Regional Hospital, as an influx of relatives of the passengers was expected. However there was some confusion when the relatives arrived and couldn't understand the consulate, most relatives being Canadian citizens.
                              One of the Garda officers dealing with the identification of remains was an Inspector (Later Superintendent) Bambury. However the pronunciation took on a significantly indian tone in the aftermath, and this stayed with him for the remainder of his career.


                              https://www.rte.ie/archives/2015/062...ia-flight-182/

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