Sunday, February 11, 2007

Terrorism Hits Pan Am - How My Friend Died

For years, I've been thinking about writing a book about my friend who got killed in a terrorist attack, but lately I'm leaning towards a documentary. That's a picture of me on bass and Walker on drums back in the day, and the Pan Am jet that was attacked.

The project could be taking shape. My brother is a former international video journalist and now works on video projects in Minnesota. He would be great on something like this. We could go interview Walker's old friends, and family. it would be powerful and the right thing to do. I hired a grant writer, but if it doesn't work, at least I'll get it out with this blog.

My brother's wife sent this link which was important because it has some details I never heard before. That's one of the things you see a lot with military families, etc...If something like this happens you want to know every detail. It's weird. Even if the details are horrific. I know they made the initial identification from Walker's shoes and I always thought that was pretty grim. My guess is the details help make it seem real. You can't imagine it being true so the details sort of pull you back into reality, where I suppose you eventually need to be. Oh well.

Pan Am Flight 110 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of things that you might not be aware of: The flight was Pan Am 101, not 110 as stated in Wickapedia. Walker was seated in the middle of the plane when the hijackers entered through the front doors. This was before the ramps were enclosed and they were simply stairs leading up to the door. They had not yet been removed when the hijackers rushed the plane. Walker saw them coming, and being completely confident that Arabs would not harm them, and remembering the 3 planes that were settled in the desert the summer before, grabbed his camera, announced to the girl sitting next to him, "I am going to get a picture of this!" and went to meet them. The girl was badly burned but survived, and told me this story.
The family requested that the body be sent to Saudi for burial, and the American consulate contacted the Saude consulate for permission. No body had ever been transported into Saudi Arabia, and permission had to be given by the King. This was accomplished before the end of the day.

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your best friend.

I don't like to contradict Ms. Lowery, whom I'm guessing is a close relative (sister?) of your dear friend, but the flight number of the Pan Am was indeed 110. Several contemporary news sources confirm it and the same flight number was in use the next year on the same Rome-Beirut route when very sadly the captain and first officer on Pan Am 110 in 1974 were interviewed by the NTSB after witnessing the in-flight destruction of TWA Flight 841.

I found your blog while looking for information to improve the Wikipedia entry.

During that search I found two freely available refs you might find of interest since you said you would like information.

TIME mag article published two weeks after the attack
Flight 110

The following is very detailed but I would take it with a grain of salt. There is no way to verify that it was actually written by the flight engineer from the Pan Am jet, and additionally it does get some of the history wrong particularly in the postscript (who died, which countries were involved, date of later hijackings, a few other things).

I can also offer you a couple pdf scans taken from the NY Times archives from 1973. The articles are from immediately during and after the attack so the details in them are not going to be as accurate and set in stone perhaps as later reports, but there are a few descriptions from the survivors of what was happening in the cabin.

Since this is an old post I don't know if you'll ever get or see this comment so if you would like the pdf scan files leave a note on the discussion/talk page for the Wikipedia article and I'll find some way to get them to you.


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