TWA Flight 840 bombing

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For the earlier hijacking of TWA Flight 840, see TWA Flight 840 hijacking.
TWA Flight 840
Boeing 727-231, Trans World Airlines - TWA AN0214403.jpg
A Boeing 727-231 of TWA, similar to the aircraft involved in the incident
Bombing summary
Date April 2, 1986
Summary Bombing
Site Argos, Greece
Passengers 115[1]
Crew 7[1]
Fatalities 4
Injuries (non-fatal) 7[2]
Survivors 118[1]
Aircraft type Boeing 727-231
Operator Trans World Airlines
Registration N54340[3]
Flight origin Los Angeles International Airport
1st stopover John F. Kennedy International Airport
2nd stopover Leonardo da Vinci Int'l Airport
3rd stopover Athens (Ellinikon) Int'l Airport
Destination Cairo International Airport

Trans World Airlines Flight 840 was a regularly scheduled flight from Los Angeles to Cairo via New York City, Rome, and Athens. The flight originated in Los Angeles on a Boeing 747 and transferred to a Boeing 727 in Rome for the remainder of the flight. About 20 minutes before landing in Athens, a bomb hidden underneath seat 10F was detonated on the aircraft while it was over Argos, Greece, blasting a hole in the plane's starboard side. Four American passengers, including an eight-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.[4]

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 in retaliation for American imperialism and clashes with Libya in the Gulf of Sidra the week before.[5] 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.[6]


  • Demetra Klug, 8 months, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Maria Styllan Klug, 25, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Alberto Ospina, 37, Stratford, Connecticut
  • Demetra Stylianopoulos, 52, Bethesda, Maryland


  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. ^ "FAA Registry". Federal Aviation Administration. 
  4. ^ TWA Pilot's Wife Says Her Husband is a Hero With PM-Plane-Bomb Bjt
  5. ^ Bomb Blast On Airliner Kills 4 Jet Lands Safely In Greece
  6. ^ "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]