Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montreal–London–Delhi route. On 23 June 1985, the aircraft operating on the route—a Boeing 747-237B (c/n 21473/330, reg VT-EFO) named after Emperor Kanishka—was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m), and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace.
A total of 329 people were killed, including 280 Canadians, 27 British citizens and 22 Indians. The incident was the largest mass murder in Canadian history, and the deadliest aviation disaster to occur over a body of water. It was the first bombing of a 747 jumbo jet, preceding the better-known 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, which was also brought down by explosives placed in a radio inside a bag without its passenger boarding. The explosion and downing occurred within an hour of the fatal Narita Airport bombing, which also originated from Canada. In this case, a bag exploded on the ground before being placed on another Air India flight. Evidence from the explosion pointed to an attempt to blow up two airliners simultaneously.
Investigation and prosecution lasting almost 20 years made this the most expensive trial in Canadian history, costing nearly CAD $130 million. Although some Sikh supporters blamed the bombing as a "false flag" effort by Indian intelligence to discredit their movement, Canadian law enforcement determined that the main suspects in the bombing were members of the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa and other related groups based in Canada. Though a handful of members were arrested and tried, Inderjit Singh Reyat was the only person convicted of involvement in the bombing, due to a lack of solid evidence and various legal and investigative errors. Singh pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for building the bombs that exploded at Narita and aboard Flight 182.
The Governor General-in-Council in 2006 appointed former Supreme Court Justice John Major to conduct a commission of inquiry. His report was completed and released on 17 June 2010. It concluded that a "cascading series of errors" by the government of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had allowed the terrorist attack to take place.
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