TWA Flight 840 bombing (1986)

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TWA Flight 840
Bombing summary
Date April 2, 1986
Summary Bombing
Site Argos, Greece
Passengers 115[1]
Crew 7[1]
Injuries (non-fatal) 7[2]
Fatalities 4
Survivors 118[1]
Aircraft type Boeing 727-231
Operator Trans World Airlines
Registration N54340
Flight origin Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport
Destination Athens (Ellinikon) International Airport
This article is about the 1986 bombing. For the 1969 hijacking, see TWA Flight 840 (1969).

Trans World Airlines Flight 840, registration N54340, was a Boeing 727-231 flying en route from Rome to Athens on April 2, 1986. About 20 minutes before landing, a bomb hidden underneath seat 10-F was detonated on the aircraft while it was over Argos, Greece, blasting a hole in the plane's starboard side. Four American passengers, including a nine-month-old infant, were ejected through the hole to their deaths below. Seven others on the aircraft were injured by shrapnel as the cabin suffered a rapid decompression. The remaining 110 passengers survived the incident as pilot Richard "Pete" Petersen made an emergency landing.[3]

The bodies of three of the four victims were later recovered from a meadow near Argos; the fourth was found in the sea.

A group calling itself the "Arab Revolutionary Cells" claimed responsibility, saying it was committed because of "American imperialism" and clashes with Libya in the Gulf of Sidra the week before.[4] Investigators concluded that the bomb contained one pound of plastic explosive. It is suspected it had been placed under the seat cushion on a previous journey by a Lebanese woman (later arrested, never convicted) who worked for the Abu Nidal Organisation, which was opposed to the peace process.[5]


  • Demetra Stylianopoulos, 52 (mother of Maria Klug)
  • Maria Styllan Klug, 25
  • Demetra Klug (the infant, 8 months old and daughter of Maria)
  • Alberto Ospina, 37 (Colombian-born American from Stratford, Connecticut, seated in 10-F, under which the bomb was placed)[4]


Police sources identified the injured Americans as Henry Sherman Siemsen, 70; his wife, Myrtle Faye Siemsen, 67 (both from Los Angeles, CA) and James Carlton Denon. The four injured Greeks were identified as Panayotis Karasavas, George Matessis, Despinia Hioti and Eleni Phillips. [4]


  1. ^ a b c William E. Smith; John Borrell; Mirka Gondicas (1986-04-14). "Terrorism Explosion on Flight 840". Time. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  2. ^ BBC (1986-04-02). "On This Day - 1986: Bomb tears hole in airliner over Greece". BBC News. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  3. ^ TWA Pilot's Wife Says Her Husband is a Hero With PM-Plane-Bomb Bjt
  4. ^ a b c Bomb Blast On Airliner Kills 4 Jet Lands Safely In Greece
  5. ^ "Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) attacked Airports & Airlines target (Apr. 2, 1986, Italy)". MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base. April 3, 2001. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 

See also[edit]