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Globe and Mail Update

Air-India case timeline


June 23, 1985: 0218 GMT -- Air-India Flight 182 departs Montreal for London, en route to Delhi and Bombay. There are 329 people aboard the Boeing 747 -- 307 passengers and 22 crew. Most of the passengers are Canadian. The 747 is named Kanishka, after a powerful Indian king who ruled in the first century AD. Although he was a devout follower of Buddhism, which preaches non-violence, Kanishka met a violent end -- he was murdered by some of his subjects.

June 23, 1985: 0620 GMT -- At Japan's Narita airport, an explosion in the baggage handling area kills two baggage handlers and injures four others. Investigators later determine that the bomb was in a suitcase being transferred from a Canadian airliner onto an Air-India flight.

June 23, 1985, 0714 GMT -- The transponder signal from Air-India 182 suddenly stops, causing it to disappear from radar screens at an international flight monitoring centre located in Shannon, Ireland. Until its disappearance, the aircraft had been cruising at 31,000 feet. The wreckage falls into the ocean about 175 kilometres off the southwest coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people aboard.

June 23, 1985, 0730 GMT -- Shannon radar centre notifies marine authorities that a plane has gone missing. Ships and aircraft begin converging, but all that is left for them was the grisly task of collecting the bodies. When the search was suspended, about 15 hours after the crash, 123 bodies had been recovered. By the end of the recovery, 132 bodies are found.


June 24, 1985 -- Investigators and officials from India, the United States, Canada and Ireland arrive in Shannon. Recovery of the wreckage is complicated by the extreme depth at the crash site. The remains of the 747 lie under 2,010 metres of water. Initial examination of wreckage and bodies leads investigators to believe that the 747 was blown apart in midair, and that at least some of the passengers were alive as they fell toward the Atlantic. When submersibles locate the wreckage on the ocean floor, they find initial evidence that suggests an explosion.

July 16, 1985 -- Flight 182's data recorders reveal normal conversation among the flight crew, then a loud bang that ends the recording.

Sept. 10, 1985 -- Two B.C. Sikh fundamentalists are taken into custody by police on explosives charges in connection with the Narita airport bombing. The two are Inderjit Singh Reyat, of Duncan, and Talwinder Singh Parmar, of Burnaby, a Sikh priest and founder of the fundamentalist Babbar Khalsa Religious Society of Canada. Mr. Reyat, a friend of Mr. Parmar, belongs to the International Sikh Youth Federation. Although the arrests lead to widespread speculation that the Air-India bombing is about to be solved, that does not prove to be the case: charges against Mr. Parmar are eventually dropped for lack of evidence, and Mr. Reyat is charged with a minor offence, unrelated to Air-India. Mr. Parmar later acknowledges that he is considered a prime suspect in the Air-India bombing.

Jan. 22, 1986 -- The Canadian Aviation Safety Board formally concludes that a bomb brought down Air-India Flight 182.

May 11, 1986 -- Federal Solicitor-General James Kelleher says new evidence discovered in the case may lead to charges, but warns that the evidence gathered so far is insufficient to get a conviction in court.

November, 1987 -- The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service resigns after it is revealed that the agency submitted a misleading affidavit in 1985 in order to obtain a wiretap warrant from a judge as they investigated suspected Sikh terrorists. Liberal MP John Nunziata accuses CSIS of bungling the investigation of the Air-India crash so badly that criminal charges may never be laid.

Feb. 5, 1988 -- Inderjit Singh Reyat is arrested in England in connection with the Narita airport bombing. Soon after Mr. Reyat's arrest, Talwinder Singh Parmar leaves Canada for India.

Aug. 10.1988 -- A British court orders Mr. Reyat's extradition to Canada.

Aug. 7, 1989 -- Submersibles begin a new search of the underwater wreckage site off the Irish coast.

Aug. 21, 1989 -- Canadian investigators confirm they have found new evidence in the Air-India bombing, but refuse to make it public.

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