On This Day — Air India Flight 182 Warning Report Is Discredited (December 6 2007)

“Mr. Bartleman misled the families of the victims and the commission.”

Former CSE officer Pierre Lecompte (December 6 2007)

1985-06-10 VT-EFO Air India EGLL.jpg
The aircraft involved, VT-EFO, seen on 10 June 1985, less than two weeks before the tragedy

December 6 2021 — At the time of the tragedy, James Bartleman was in charge of the intelligence analysis and security branch of Foreign Affairs. In May 2007, Bartleman told the inquiry that he has seen a secret report warning that Flight 182 was targeted by terrorists. On December 6 2007, Pierre Lecompte, a former official with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), testified that such report never existed. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: On this Day — At Long Last, FBI Admits No Evidence of Foul Play in 1996 TWA 800 Crash (November 18 1997)

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Why I ruled out the bomb theory [Technical Analysis of the Debris Lines]

On June 23 1985, Air India Flight 182 — Boeing 747-237B registered VT-EFO — disintegrated in mid-air en route from Montreal to London, at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m) over the Atlantic Ocean.

James Bartleman was director of security and intelligence for the Department of External Affairs. On May 3 2007, he testified at the Air India Inquiry that he had presented an intelligence document to the RCMP warning of a possible attack days prior to the tragedy.

On December 6 2007, Pierre Lecompte, a former official with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), testified that such report never existed.

Lecompte said he had searched the electronic archives of reports — which span back to the 1970s — and he couldn’t find a record of the report Bartleman referred to. [All wiretap intelligence, including reports from foreign agencies, pass through CSE.]

“I can assure you it was not a CSE intercept,” he said. “If such a report had existed, I would have felt responsible for what happened with Air India. And I can assure you, I can meet with all the families, express my condolences, but not feel responsible.”

What do I think?

Let me remind you that the sequence of events leading to the disintegration of Air India Flight 182, Pan Am 103, and TWA 800 is entirely similar.

In each case, the front section detached from the main body of the plane and  thus landed earlier that the rest of the plane.

In the mid 80′, Boeing had noticed a serious engineering problem with the front section of the Boeing 747. In short, due to the unusual shape of that part of the plane, fatigue effects on the structure of section 41 (and to a lesser extent section 42) were far more severe than anticipated. The issue had been expected but underestimated.

The Boeing 747 had been expected to serve 20 years, 20,000 cycles or 60,000 hours. But the problems encountered with section 41 made it clear that these expectations were not realistic. In some case, “fatigue cracks” would appear as soon as after just 6,500 cycles.

James K. Kallstrom — the New York F.B.I. chief who was in charge of the T.W.A. Flight 800 investigation — has claimed that the sharp noise at the end of the tape was identical to the Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie) sound and this was clear evidence of a bomb explosion.

As I explained recently in great details, the first part of this statement is TRUE but the second part is absolutely FALSE.

There is no sound of a bomb explosion recorded in the Lockerbie tragedy. Although the Pan Am 103 report was ambiguous regarding the bomb sound, the Lockerbie investigators corrected Kallstrom and stated very clearly that there was no record of a bomb explosion aboard Pan Am 103.

Air India Flight 182 — What does the evidence tell us?

On July 11 1985, The New York Times [JET’S ‘BLACK BOX’ IS RAISED FROM THE SEA] reported that the voice recorder had been recovered.

The voice recorder from the Air-India jumbo jet lost off the Irish coast last month with 329 people aboard was brought to the surface today, raising hopes that the mystery of the crash could be solved.

The unit, one of two so-called black boxes, was recovered by a robot submarine from a depth of 6,700 feet.

The device should contain recordings of the final 30 minutes of conversation in the cockpit of the doomed Boeing 747, along with public-address announcements and perhaps ambient sounds such as a whoosh of decompression. A whoosh would indicate that there had been an explosion aboard the Boeing 747, which was en route from Canada to India, via London’s Heathrow Airport. (…)

Every fraction of a second will be studied, in the hope that the recorders kept going long enough to provide clues – possibly the beeping of an alarm signal or the sound of decompression or some technical data that points toward one probable cause or another. The analysis will be carried out in India, the investigators said, using special machines that can isolate one set of sounds from another. It was not known how long the analysis would take.

Well, to the best of my knowledge, The New York Times never published the result of this analysis…

Let me quote from the official Kirpal Report for Air India Flight 182, 1986.

“It is considered that from the CVR and ATC recordings supplied for analysis, there is no evidence of a high explosive device having detonated on AI 182. There is strong evidence to suggest that a sudden explosive decompression occurred but the cause has not been identified. It must be concluded that without positive evidence of an explosive device from either the wreckage or pathological examinations, some other cause has to be established for the accident.”

The graph shows a sudden loud sound followed by an abrupt power cut to the flight data recorders. This sound was analyzed by the government scientists for frequency, duration, rise and fall time.

“The conclusion reached by all these analysts in the UK, USA, Canada and India is that the sudden loud sound is not a bomb explosion sound but that of an explosive decompression sound. The bomb sound was ruled out because necessary low frequencies were not present and the rise time was too slow.” [John Barry Smith]

There is no record of a bomb sound for Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, and TWA Flight 800.

In the case of TWA 800, the FBI is known to have attempted to hide vital information pointing to a mechanical failure while trying to portray the accident as an act of terrorism.

I have come to the conclusion that Pan Am Flight 103 disintegrated in flight over Lockerbie because of a massive structural failure due to well-known issues of metal fatigue in section 41 and 42 of the Boeing 747 (Series 100 & 200), not because of an explosive device.

The reader will draw his/her own conclusions about Air India Flight 182…

“One thing however is worrying aviation observers in India and abroad, and that is the time being taken to complete the inquiry and inform an eagerly waiting aviation world about the reasons which caused Kanishka (Air India 182) to break up. The whole industry has huge stakes in the Boeing 747 and if, for example, it were found that structural defects or fatigue had caused the crash, the repercussions for world airlines would be disastrous. All 747’s would have to be grounded and checked for structural fatigue.”

Kanishka disaster: ‘Black box’ recovered, investigators to probe what caused the crash

Ramindar Singh (August 15 1985)


James Bartleman — Wikipedia

Air India Flight 182 — Wikipedia

Bartleman ‘misled’ Air India victims’ families, inquiry told — CBC News


On This Day — Air India Flight 182 Warning Report Is Discredited (December 6 2007)

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2 Responses to On This Day — Air India Flight 182 Warning Report Is Discredited (December 6 2007)

  1. Jay says:

    It wasn’t metal fatigue. It was caused by a shorted wire which caused a breach in the forward cargo door leading to explosive decompression and in-flight breakup. The main issue was with the mid span latches to partially open. But I I think it would have led to the same concern about grounding the work horse of the industry, the 747 and the fear people would have about flying


    • L says:

      Dear Sir,

      Allow me to repeat. In these 3 cases (India Air 182, Pan AM 103 and TWA 800), the plane beaks up at section 41. This cannot be disputed as it is simply factual. There is no doubt whatsoever that metal fatigue at this section was caused by the unusual shape of the plane. (I have posted some pics.)

      Of course, I do not know – although I may have an opinion — what started the chain of event in these 3 tragedies.

      This is why I wish I could find out what piece(s) of Pan AM 103 landed at Torbeck Hill. [That piece must have detached from the plane several seconds before the breakup, which is consistent with the unexplained RADAR returns observed by TWO stations several seconds before the tragedy.]

      However, that place [Torbeck Hill] was immediately sealed off and the information remains classified (The Lockerbie X File) to this day.

      The forward cargo door was indeed an issue. See my post about United Airlines Flight 811.

      Regards, L


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