EXCLUSIVE by Joanne Knox, Banbridge Chronicle
Wednesday 30th November 2011
Saturday 3rd december 2011 will mark 16 years since the mysterious disappearance of Banbridge man Desmond Boomer. Dessie was one of six passengers supposed to be onboard flight 9H-ABU from Djerba airport in Tunisia to Luqa Airport, Malta. However, the plane never reached its destination. As they approach another agonising anniversary and Christmas without their dad, the Boomer children have set up an online petition calling for the truth about what really happened on the night of December 3, 1995. The family were told that the plane had been lost over the sea as a result of echanical failure. However, as wreckage of the plane has never been recovered, the family believe there is some other explanation behind Dessie’s disappearance, they fear he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
They believe the passengers may have become victims of the war between Islamic fundamentalists and the Israeli secret service, Mossad. However, unless someone comes forward with the truth, the Boomer family will be left without closure. Patricia, Paul, Erin, Sarah and Daniel, who ranged in age from eight to 16 at the time, remain hopeful that their dad could still “walk through the door". Speaking openly to the Chronicle, Erin and Sarah said, "We haven’t been given the chance to grieve. lf his body had come home we would have had closure. We would love to see him again, but we wouldn’t want him to have been on his own, or hurt." Erin added, "The petition was something we felt we wanted to do. We do feel like we are getting nowhere, but it’s our dad. I am so annoyed that there are people out there who saw him last. We should have been the last people to see him. It’s so frustrating, why doesn’t someone give information anonymously?" Dessie’s younger brother Mark set up the website http://www.9habu.com and encouraged his nieces and nephews to get involved. So, they decided an online petition should be the next step. To date, 322 people have taken the time to sign and show their support for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Dessie`s disappearance. Paul, the second eldest of the Boomer children, added, "I thank all my friends and family who have supported, and continue to support is, in this cause”
SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
The children of Banbridge man Desmond Boomer, whose plane it is thought it is thought vanished during a flight between Tunisia and Malta, have started a petition in search of the truth. The father of five disappeared 16 years ago this weekend (December 3) while making his journey home for Christmas. He was one of six passengers who, it’s feared, may have become unwitting victims of the war between Islamic fundamentalism and Mossad, lsrael’s intelligence network. An official report, however, claimed the plane crashed as a result of mechanical failure and pilot error. Dessie, as he was known, was just 39 at the time, and working as an engineer in the Libyan oil fields. His wife Mandy and children had been looking forward to his return for the holidays when they were dealt the devastating blow that the Piper Lance 32 he was, supposedly, onboard had been lost over the sea. To this day, that is the only explanation the Boomer family have been given for Dessie’s disappearance. However, with no wreckage ever recovered, they believe this to be a cover-up and feel they have yet to be told the truth. Patricia, Paul, Erin, Sarah and Daniel started up a petition calling for answers around four months ago with the help of their uncle Mark. So far, there have been 322 signatures added to it.
Although the Gaddafi and Ben Ali regimes recently fell, the timing of the petition was coincidental. Paul, who has lived in Canada for the past 10 years, revealed his hope that, with proper lines of communication, both Tunisia and Libya will be "more open" and "willing to clarify" the information that the family have already been given, and also share any new, or previously withheld, information. "It has been very difficult over the years to cope with the loss of our dad without access to accurate information. It leaves you in a constant state of limbo as to what may have happened - it is very hard to move forward." Paul, who was 14 when his dad disappeared, said the thought and hope that he is alive remains. "The thought is bitter sweet," he added, "as it opens the possibility that we may, yet, see him again. However, I do not wish to think of him suffering. I choose to think that if he is, indeed, alive, that he is alive and well, with the possibility that he has amnesia or something to that effect. Also, there are the thoughts of what may have happened.If the plane did crash, I hope he died quickly and painlessly. "If we ever have access to the truth, as difficult as some of the scenarios may be to face, at least then we can all move forward without questions constantly being on our minds.” The run-up to Christmas makes the anniversary of Dessie’s disappearance all the more hard to bear. But, the children have fond memories of their beloved father at Christmas times and recalled how much he loved the festivities. Also speaking to the Chronicle, Daniel, the youngest in the family, said there has been, and always will he, a feeling that someone is missing from the home. "It is a difficult time for us all, mainly my mother, although we try and remember the happy times and, as with any time of the year, he is always in our thoughts and in our hearts. We talk and think about him every day. He is sorely missed as much today as when we first got the news, and always will he."
WEBSITE AND ONLINE PETITION
Dessie Boomers father sadly passed away in 2008, not knowing the truth about what really happened to his son. He was fundamental in the quest for answers and his fighting spirit lives on in his son Mark. "While I believe that he had accepted that he would never see his son again, I know he would have died a happier man if he had known for certain what had happened in Derjba on the night of December 3 1995". Mark said. Dessies younger brother set up a website http://www.9habu.com with the ultimate goal of finding out what happened to the men who should have boarded flight 9HABU from Djerba airport to Luqa airport Malta. The homepage reads, "Should this site serve no purpose other than to remember the men who are missing and document and recognise the efforts of their families in trying to find them, then it will all be worth the effort." If you wish to add your support, please visit www.9habu.com anwhere you will find the online petition.
WE WANT TO DO IT FOR OUR DAD
Erin and Sarah Boomer have spoken of their family’s need for closure 16 years on. They explained that the online petition was something that they, along with their aiblings, could do for their dad. And, they feel that the time is right for them to push for answers as they are older and more settled in their own lives, meaning they can really devote themselves to it. The girls also share their brothers belief that the anniversary is all the more significant as Christmas is just around the corner, "Dad was always into Christmas, he really loved it and he was always home for it. It was always a big occasion. The run-up to Christmas is hard.” Erin and Sarah can still remember the moment their world was turned upside down. Sarah was told that her dad’s plane hadn’t landed where it was supposed to, while Erin recalls her uncle breaking the news to her that the plane had gone down. Looking back, the girls memories are not of a wake, but of people calling at their home, day after day. "It kept going and going until, here we are, 16 years later. We don’t know where the time has gone."
Although the family have never been able to ‘grieve’ their loss, they did get the opportunity to hold a service, seven years later. At that stage, they were provided with a certificate, as Dessie had not been found. They decided to erect a headstone in St. Patrick’s cemetery so they would have somewhere to visit. The girls revealed that the only explanation ever offered was that the plane was lost over the sea. However, as a wreckage was never found, they started to gradually become aware of the other possibilities. "We are so annoyed that there are people out there who were the last to see him. We should have been the last people to see him. It‘s frustrating. Why doesn’t someone give information anonymously? We haven’t been given the chance to grieve, It would have been so different if his body had come home. We would have had closure. But, it’s very different for us - we still believe he could walk through the door. We would love to see him again, but we don’t want him to be alone or hurt." The five siblings are all very different in personality and have all experienced different emotions and feelings in the aftermath of their dad’s disappearance. For Erin, the theory that she believes “makes most sense" is that her dad, and the others, were in the wrong place at the wrong time, "It is hard to pinpoint one thing, but that’s what is most believable. We don’t want to think that he’s being hurt, or has been hurt, so we just have to accept that he is not here".