Air Lanka Flight 512

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Air Lanka Flight 512
Lockheed L-1011-385-1-15 TriStar 100, AirLanka AN0710512.jpg
4R-ULD at Paris–Le Bourget Airport in 1983
Bombing summary
Date 3 May 1986 (1986-05-03)
Summary Suicide bombing
Site Bandaranaike International Airport
Passengers 128
Crew 20
Fatalities 21
Injuries (non-fatal) 41
Survivors 127
Aircraft type Lockheed L-1011-100 TriStar 100 (FAA - L-1011-385-1-15)
Aircraft name City of Colombo
Operator Air Lanka
Registration 4R-ULD
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 serving the flight 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.[1]

Boarding of the flight had been delayed due to the aircraft being damaged during cargo / baggage loading.[2] During boarding a bomb, hidden in the aircraft's 'Fly Away Kit', exploded.[3] 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.[1][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "1986: Bomb kills 21 in Sri Lanka". BBC. 3 May 1986. Retrieved 30 April 2008. 
  2. ^ A joke common among international travelers at the time was that AirLanka's IATA code, UL, stood for "usually late".
  3. ^ "Accident description". Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Commercial Airline Bombing History". Retrieved 10 September 2014.