A Place Called Lockerbie
On December 21, 1988, Pan American Airways Flight 103 (PA103) left London’s Heathrow airport on its regularly scheduled flight to New York’s JFK airport, carrying 259 people and a suitcase that contained a radio cassette player filled with Semtex. The plane exploded as it approached its cruising altitude of 32,000 feet. The cockpit and front sections of the passenger cabin broke away from the rest of the plane and plummeted to the ground. The rest of the plane continued its forward trajectory for approximately eight miles, its passengers and their belongings raining upon the landscape below. The fuselage and wings landed on Lockerbie, a small, market village in southern Scotland. Eleven of Lockerbie’s residents were killed as the flaming debris incinerated their homes. This paper examines the immediate and long-term effects of Lockerbie’s individual and collective trauma, the emergence of disaster tourism, and the international political ramifications of the disaster.