Air Lanka Flight 512
4R-ULD at Paris–Le Bourget Airport in 1983
|Date||3 May 1986|
|Site||Bandaranaike International Airport|
|Aircraft type||Lockheed L-1011-100 TriStar 100 (FAA - L-1011-385-1-15)|
|Aircraft name||City of Colombo|
|Flight origin||London-Gatwick Airport|
|1st stopover||Zurich Airport|
|2nd stopover||Dubai International Airport|
|Last stopover||Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB/VCBI) Colombo, Sri Lanka|
|Destination||Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE/VRMM), Malé, Maldives|
Air Lanka Flight 512 was an Air Lanka flight from London Gatwick Airport via Zurich and Dubai to Colombo (Bandaranaike International Airport) and Malé, Maldives. On 3 May 1986, the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar was on the ground in Colombo, about to fly on to Malé, when an explosion ripped the aircraft in two, destroying it. Flight 512 carried mainly French, West German, British and Japanese tourists; 21 people were killed on the aircraft, including three British, 2 West German, 3 French, 2 Japanese, two Maldivians and one Pakistani; 41 people were injured.
Boarding of the flight had been delayed due to the aircraft being damaged during cargo / baggage loading. During boarding a bomb, hidden in the aircraft's 'Fly Away Kit', exploded. The bomb had been timed to detonate mid-flight; the delay likely saved many lives.
The Sri Lankan government concluded that the bomb was planted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to sabotage peace talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government. They reported that a search of the aircraft the next day uncovered a parcel containing uniforms with the insignia of the Black Tigers, the suicide wing of LTTE.
- "1986: Bomb kills 21 in Sri Lanka". BBC. 3 May 1986. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
- A joke common among international travelers at the time was that AirLanka's IATA code, UL, stood for "usually late".
- "Accident description". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "Commercial Airline Bombing History". aerospaceweb.org. Retrieved 10 September 2014.