The families of the victims of the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am 103 flight reacted to the news of Muammar Gaddafi’s reported capture with a mixture of relief and joy.
Brian Flynn, who lost his brother J.P. Flynn on the December 21, 1988 flight said, “For 20 plus years we’ve been saying that Gaddafi is going to continue to haunt the world and needs to be brought to justice. If it is true that Gaddafi is dead or captured we are thrilled for the Libyan people and we have a feeling that the long trail to justice is coming to an end.”
Mary Kay Stratis, who lost her husband Elia in the flight, said she was relieved to hear the news of Gadhafi’s capture or death. “My eyes were opened as a widow of a victim of his terrorism,” she said. “He terrorized his people and many others around the world, and it is a relief to know that he is out of power.”
Frank Duggan, the president of the group, Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, said, “It has not been confirmed, but I hope he is dead.”
He added, “May he rest in pieces. It’s not just the Pan Am families who are celebrating, it’s people all over the world who are glad this monster is gone.” Duggan served as the liaison to the families of the victims from the Presidential Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism created in 1989.
Each family of the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing in 2009 received $10 million from the Libyan government in compensation for the act of terrorism. The payments were a condition of Gaddafi deal to normalize relations with the United States, after the Libyan dictator disclosed to U.S. and British intelligence his nuclear weapon program. When Libya finally did make the payments, Gaddafi bragged that the money he was giving the families he had made back from western oil companies ready to explore his country’s vast petroleum reserves.