Desmond Boomer

Desmond Boomer

A 38 year old Belfast born engineer working in the Libyan oil fields

Michael Williams

Michael Williams

A 49 year old English born engineer

Matthew Aquilina

Matthew Aquilina

A 22 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Tadeus Gorny

Tadues Gorny

A 48 year Polish national working in the Libyan oil fields

Phillip Farrugia

Philip Farrugia

A 43 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Carmel Bartolo

CArmelo Bartolo

The pilot, a 47 year Maltese national

Filter
  • Letter From Jim Nicholson MEP

    EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
    JIM NICHOLSON
    Member Of The European Parliament

    Our Ref. JC/JM

    15 February 2001

    Mr C Boomer
    36 Riverdale Park North
    Belfast
    BT11 9DL

    Dear Mr Boomer,

    Thank you for your letter of 17 January regarding your long search to establish the truth surrounding the disappearance of your son.

    I can but express some understanding of the heartbreak that your family and the Williams family must have suffered throughout this period.

    I will of course support your attempt to establish an International Independent Enquiry in Malta but self-evidently you have no illusions regarding the difficulty of achieving such.

    I feel that the respective Foreign Offices are the appropriate vehicles through which direct pressure should be applied to the Maltese authorities.

    It would be appreciated if you could keep me informed of any developments.

    Yours sincerely

     

    Jim Nicholson MEP

  • Letter From Gerry Adams MP

    Gerry Adams MP
    Sinn Féin President

    14th February 2001

    Cormac J Boomer
    36 Riverdale Park North
    Andersontown
    Belfast
    BT11 9DL

    Cormac a Chara

    Thank you for your letter of 25th January 2001, conceming your son’s disappearance in December 1995.

    I have asked Joan O’Connor of our International Department to make enquiries on your behalf and I will contact you again when I receive a reply.

    Is mise le meas

    Gerry Adams MP

  • Letter from Cecilia Aqualine to Cormac Boomer re: article in Kullhadd

    Letter from Cecilia to Cormac Boomer

    29 November 1998

    Dear Cormac and Alice

    I am sending you a translation ot a newspaper cutting Kullhadd article which was in an old newspaper in 1995 prior to the incident. I managed to get this newspaper and have made a literal translation. It is not in very good English but l did not bother to polish it. I translated literally.

    As you can see someone was warning the authorities that these flights should not be taking place. Apparently the Transport Dept ignored those warnings.

    I presume that it we sue the Govt and Civil Aviation for large sums we might get a reaction of some sort.

    I think we have to sue the individuals at Civil Aviation such as Sultana who has incidentially now been appointed Director as Fenech has retired. Believe it or not Sultana who has been appearing in Court together with Fenech and Sultana is the guy who was on duty and it took him ages to get out the searches and to get to the airport on that fatal day. This guy is now Director of Civil Aviation.

    Please give me your views ??'?

    I am not interested In the money I am interested in nailing a few people to tell us the truth and if we sue individuals it is even better as they will panic and will let the cat out of the bag.

    What do you think???

    [Note: the newspaper article also contained an article on Shqaqi]

  • Notes compiled by Cormac Boomer

    Some Notes compiled by Cormac Boomer (1998)

    Year 1998

    January 13 Received fax from Teresa Gornay and forwarded reports and information documents.

    January 20 Fax from Cecilia, Tunisian government are now requesting the Malta govemment to make another request for the release of the ATC tapes via an International procedure called " A Commission Rogatoire ". We write to the Dept. Foreign Affairs Dublin requesting an explanation of this procedure and what it entails.

    January 25 Letter from Cecilia containing copies of extracts from Malta Peoples Newspaper included a FrontPage article about Mathew.

    February 13 Letter and file from Ms Ruth Shurman BBC Producer, letter apologises for being unable to have programme commissioned on Desmond and the incident, this was much as I had expected not with standing her obvious enthusiasm for the project when we met prior to Christmas.

    March 9 Letter from Declan Bree TD with report of answer given in the Dial by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

    March 13 Letter to Mr L Maguire in Dublin Hon. Consulate of Tunisia in Ireland and enclose copies of seven documents for infomation and records.

    We hear that Mandy has been speaking to GHQ at Cheltinm Farnborough re the Tunisian ATC tapes sent there by the Board of Enquiry on behalf of the Government of Malta, the recordings to be investigated. We hear from Cecilia the Bartolo family received a anonymous threatening letter

    March 14 Received fax from Cecilia with copy of Malta Times Newspaper story Mandy and her solicitor in Malta their statement is quoted.

    March 20 We hear from Cecilia that she had received another anonymous/upsetting phone call.

  • Newspaper article "I know who killed Shqaqi"

    14th October 1997

    Dear Cormac & Alice,

    l am enclosing three newspaper cuttings relating to a recent case in Malta for your info. One of the newspapers is in our language so l am going to try and give you a translation in short of its contents;

    TRANSLATlON:

    Newspaper Article from ill-hadd

    l KNOW WHO KILLED FATHI SHQAQI

    Peter Jones, who on Thursday evening was found dead with a slit throat, had told the police that he knew who had killed Shqaqi. Jones was of the opinion that the police was not interested to find out the killer of Shqaqi. Jones has said that the killer of Sqaqi was a young Libyan who had for some time lived in his apartment in Siliema. (Jones apparently used to rent out his apartments to some Libyan nationals). After the killing of Shqaqi the young youth who according to Jones had killed Shadi had disappeared from Jones' apartment but Jones had seen this youth somewhere in Malta weeks after the killing of Shqaqi.

    Shqaqi had been killed in Malta in October of nearly two years ago. ln the newspaper of Nov. 1995 this newspaper had reported that one of these killers was living in an apartment in Siliema. Jones used to say that in the past few months he had tried many times to tell the Commissioner of Police about the identity of Shqaqi's killer. ln the weeks following the killing of Shqaqi, Jones had also spoken to one of the ex ministers during the Nationalist administration and told him of the information that he possessed but as far as he (Jones) knew knowing was done.

    Jones 58 years was found in his apartment in Amery Street, Siliema, on Thursday evening at about 10:30 pm. His body was in state of decomposition. The body was found lying on the sofa and he had a deep wound under his chin.

    ln fact no force of entry into Jones' flat was found and apparently the killer of Jones had apparently no problem getting into his flat. There was nothing stolen and apparently who ever entered the flat had no intention to steal. The probability is that Jones himself had invited his own killer to go to his apartment The killer seems to have used this to kill Jones without any  problems.

    lt is understood that Jones in the last few weeks had told someone that he was very much afraid that he would be eliminated.  Jones hardly ever mentioned the Shqaqi case but he had mentioned that people  involved in the business of illegal carring of people to other countries has
    apparently threatened him that they would kill him. These were Arab nationals and lived in his appartments.

    WHO WANTED TO KILL JONES

    In his appartment also lived another Arab national who was killed in Malta in Tigne in August 1996 and another arab was investigated by police for the killing of the arab killed in Tigne.

    Jones had previously said that someone had tried to kill him in January 1997 a Syrian youth was accused ofthe attempted killing of Jones.

    This Syrian was found guilty and deported from Malta. Jones used to say that a Tunisian wanted to eleminate him and the police was not able to trace this Tunisian who was to be witness in another case of another Arab or Tunisian who was to appear in court for the atte ted murder of his wife.

    This women told court that she had not seen her husban since 2 years and six months but he sometimes used to go and see their son. This person who had tried to kill his wife had also tried to kill Jones with a wire. But Jones had managed to escape from Driss as the wire had tore. Driss was one of the flrst persons that the police was trying to trace.

    Until going to print this newspaper had not managed to find ou if the police had traced him.

  • National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Report

    The National Transportation Safety Board was notified of this accident in early February, 1997. The Chairman of the Aircraft Investigating Board of Inquiry is Dr. Phillip Sciberas. His address is Luqua Airport, Luqua Cmr 02, Malta. A letter was sent to the Chairman on February 5, 1997.

    The report can be downloaded here

    National Transportation Safety Board Dec 1995 Aviation Accidents

    Additional Comments on www.flightlinemalta.com

  • Letter from J. Brincat re: Mrs. Napolitan

    The Attorney General
    The Palace
    Valletta

    18th January, 1997

    Dear Dr Borg Barthet,

    Re: Board of Enquiry re Piper Aircraft

    I have some reliable information. that Mrs Margaret Napolitan, for Piper Aircraft, of 2926 Piper Drive, Vero Beach, Florida, offered technical assistance to the Malteae authorities regarding the identification of any part of the Piper aircraft. The Tunisian authorities referred Ms Napolitan to the Malta Civil
    Aviation.

    It seems also that there was an appointment for the Board to visit Tunisia on the 15th December, and the Tunisian authorities informed Ms. Napolitan accordingly. On this side, there was no confirmation whatsoever, and the visit did not materialise.

    Unfortunately, the matter seems to have been shelved in a very strange way. It would be appreciated if you kindly take up the matter so that a final solution may at least be within a prospective view.

    Yours sincerely

    J. Brincat

  • Letter From Rodney Wood To Board Of Inquiry

    Mr. R.C. Wood,
    10 Stakesby Road,
    Whitby,
    North Yorkshire.
    YO21 1HS

    Tel: 0947 601704

    Your Ref: DCA/INVI222

    Dear Sir,

    Re: Investigation on the disappearance of Piper Lance Aircraft, registration marks 9H-ABU.

    On the flight fron Malta to Djerba on 2nd December 1995 I sat next to the pilot as I have done before on various occasions. On the ground in Malta the weather seemed okay. The pilot did his normal checks and the G.P.S. did not work. The engine was then started and I noticed a slight screech which disappeared in seconds. The pilot made no comment.

    As we taxied the pilot continuously messed with the G.P.S. and wiring. The wire from the G.P.S. was connected by jack plug right infront of me.

    We took off and after approximately 10 minutes it was obvious what our flight path was - straight into a tremendous storm. At this stage I felt we would definitely turn back.

    We flew straight into the storm, the lightening alone was frightening. For the duration of the flight we were thrown all over with lightening strikes
    all around us. There was very thick cloud and heavy rain which turned to hail storms. The screen was then packed with hail and all iced up.
    we were all very cold and the pilot looked very worried. He handed me a torch plus some paper and asked me to try and find the fault on the G.P.S. wiring. To which I said, 'I am not an aircraft engineer and would not do anything to a plane on the ground, never mind at l0,000 feet in the middle of a storm.

    The pilot was continually rubbing his brow and checking or altering things on and around the dash as I have never noticed before. Approximately 20 minutes from Djerba I could smell burning- rubber for a split second, but still nothing was said. I then noticed the volt meter and amp meters
    had gone off.

    We then landed in Djerba. On disembarking and walking around the front of the aircraft to collect our bags I noticed the alternator drive belt all shreaded. I immediately pointed this out to the pilot. He put his hand in and pulled the belt out with ease, all in bits, infront of everyone.

    At all times the weather was awful.

    We all went in to the airport and withn minutes the Mapel wanted to go. As we left the pilot was sitting with the old belt. I said, "I'll see you next time but what are you going to do about the belt?". He replied 'It will be no problem because we will wait for the storms to go so there is plenty of time'.

    What was meant by this statement was not exactly clear to me.

    It was obvious to me, being a fully skilled Rig mechanic that the plane was in no fit state to return to Malta without repairs.

    The flight from Malta to Djerba is one I will never forget as I have never experienced anything like it and would never want to ever again.

    There was no mention of Hotels and travelling the next day etc. In my opinion the pilot did not act professionally at all. If so, he would never have flown to Djerba, firstly because of the weather and secondly because of the state of the plane.

    I was never issued a ticket on these flights. A Unique Travel representative used to meet me at Malta Airport and tick my name on a manifest. We were then guided through immigration etc. by the pilot.

    This is a true statement made by me Rodney Charles Wood and dated this 24th day of October 1996.

    Rodney Wood Signature

  • Malta Business Weekly - Shqaqi link possiblility to Excelair disappearance

    Malta Business Weekly

    April 11th 1996

    Enough time has now passed for anything substantial to surface in the case of the  small Piper Lance plane that failed to make the voyage from Djerba to Malta last 3rd December. In the meantime nothing has been found in the sea, despite various ships that ply the route and despite continuous searching especially in the first days.

    On the contrary an Italian trawler that sunk around the same time and in the same area has been located and according to Maltese sources an Italian plane or heliopter is continually circling the area where the ships submerged bulk lies. No reason has been given for this. Meanwhile no oil slick has been noticed in the sea area from Malta to Djerba in the  day after the planes disappearance. Usually in the case of a downed plane the fuel comes out of its tanks and forms an oil slick which becomes immediately noticeable.

    Speculation thus becomes rife in these cases. One line of speculation increasingly being held both the missing persons families and by people involved in the whole sector holds there is a direct link between the killing in Malta of Hamas leader Fathi Shqaqi some weeks before the planes disappearance. Shqaqi had been killed by two men were ascribed variously to the Mossad or to Libyan intelligence itself. The two men, who might have had accomplices were never found on the island and speculation has said that they had skipped the island as soon as the killing was done. One local paper had said that they had fled by a private plane piloted by a Maltese national while other reports said the plane had gone to Tunisia. It has been confirmed that the Excelair Piper did not fly in these days but another Excelair plane did fly twice to Tunisia.

    A further twist in the mystery is the fact that there are some reports seemingly originating in France that a may-day call was heard at the same time as the plane disappeared. These reports say that the call originated not over the sea but in an area bordering on Libya.

    One last mystery within a mystery is the fact that it was only in this case that Tunisian authorities phoned the Malta Flight Region Offices that very morning to enquire whether the plane had passed on to the Malta FIR zone. Something like this has never happened, say sources close to the Maltese civil aviation authorities.

    The Maltese on board were Carmel Bartolo, of Zebbug, married with four children. Philip Faruggia, 43, married father of two, 22 year old accountant Matthew Aqualina who lived in Swieqi, Irishman Desmond Boomer and Tadeusz Gorny from Poland.

  • Letter From Irish Consulate regarding Newspaper articles

    AN ROINN GNOTHAI EACHTRACHA

    Department of Foreign Affairs
    BAILE ATHA CLIATH 2
    Dublin 2

    12 January, 1996

    Mr. Cormac Boomer
    36 Riverside Park North
    Belfast
    BT11 9DLL

    Dear Mr. Boomer,

    Further to our telephone conversation earlier today please find attached

    1. An unofficial translation of an article that appeared in the Maltese language paper "In-Nazzjon Taghna"

    2. An English-language article in the "Maltese Times"

    The Embassy will continue to monitor the case and I will update you with any information we receive.

    Yours sincerely,

    Niamh Ryan
    Consular Section

    Translation of Article In Nazzjon Taghha 10th January 1996

    by Kari Stagno-Navarra

    The Enquiry on the private aeroplane that disappeared in the bad weather with six persons on board on a flight between Djerba and Malta in the early hours of Sunday 3rd December 1995 has been adjourned sine die" after the Bartolo Family, owners of the aeroplane. instituted a constitutional case against the Government on alleged conflict of interest of the members of the Board of Enquiry.

    Dr. Philip Sciberras. the Chairman of the Board suspended the Enquiry becasue Dr. Malcolm Pace the Bartolo family lawyer had opened a case last Monday at the First Hall of the Civil Courts to contest the members forming part of the Board of Enquiry as they could directly or indirectly have conflict of interest in deliberatlng the facts as they are all connected with Air Malta. a company in competition with Sun Aviation
    Ltd, or are connected with the Civil Aviation Department, which may also be witness in the proceedings.

    (A description of the passengers follows - not translated).

    When approached by this paper yesterday. Dr. Philip Sciberras said that the Enquiry was suspended for an indefinite period or ‘sine die; until the Courts decided on the constitutionality of the case put to them.

    The case by the Bartolo family is being heard by Judge Franco Depasquale and a date has yet to be fixed. Reliable sources believe that the casa should start to be heard at the beginning ofnext week.

    Confident about the case he has opened, Dr. Malcolm Paco explained to the Nazzjon that every decision given by the 1st Hall of the Civil Courts on the constitutional validity of his argument is subject to appeal by the parties concerned. This means that should he be proved right the Government can appeal about the decision and vice-versa if the argument by the Bartolo Family is not sustained.

    Dr. Malcolm Pace explained to us that the point about conflict of interest of the Board members are "unequivocally clear and confirmed" by Air Malta itself who also recently issued a citation against Exelalr the private airline company for the sum of LM2,000 for ground handling expenses.

    Dr. Pace explained that from this action it was clearly proved that Air Malta was in competition with Sun Aviation Ltd. as well as every other private airline. He added that in the coming days Sun Aviation Ltd. ls expected to make a case against Air Malta for compensation of about L.M30,000 that Sun Aviation Ltd. had paid as extra expenses for ground handling before the just reforms in the rates and liberalisation took place when all ground handling for private aeropluncs passed to Malta International Airport instead of Air Malta.

    Despite the points raised on conflict of interest of the members of the Board of Enquiry the Attorney General Dr. Anthony Borg Barthet said he would do everything in his power to speed up procedures in the interests of all the parties involved. However, what do the families of the missing passengers think'? Dr. Jose Herrera who is appearing on behalf of Philip Farrugias family said he believed that the arguments put forward by Dr. Malcolm Pace regarding conflict of interest are “frivilous and will also delay unnecessarily the procedures of the board of enquiry". Dr. Herrera complained also about the lack of information on which is the insurance company of Sun Aviation Ltd.

    Dr. Joe Brincat appearing on behalf of Matthew Aquilina’s family when approached explained to us that any comment at this stage would be professionally unethical. A Lawyer representing his client should not comment to the Press on a case that is currently in Court. as it is his duty to speak in Court and not to the Press, an opinion we respect.

  • Tunisian Ministry Of Transport Report

    REPUBLIQUE TUNISIENNE
    ***
    MINISTERE DU TRANSPORT
    ****
    DIRECTION GENERALE DE L'AVIATION CIVIL

    RAPPORT D'ENQUETE

    SUITE A LA DISPARITIOn DE L'AVION PA-32 DE LA COMPANGNIE MALTEAISE
    EXCELAIR IMMATRICULE 9H-ABU, SURVENUE LE 03.12.1995 AUX LIMITES
    DES REGIONS D'INFORMATION DE VOL (FIR) TUNIS/MALTE

     


    1. INFORMATION FROM BASE

    1.1 FLIGHT DEPARTURE

    03h 38mn l5s
    Aeroplane 9H-ABU is authorised by the Djerba control tower to commence the flight.

    03h 40mn 50s
    9H-ABU is authorised to drive from its stationary position to service runway 09 via taxiway Bravo.

    03h 42mn 38s
    9H-ABU receives flight path clearance from Air Traffic Control: authorised to Malta via direct flight path 043 from Djerba VHF Omni-Range to climb and maintain flight level 90 (9000 feet)

    03h 44mn 41s
    9H-ABU cleared to take-off runway 09. Windspeed 030 (North/North East/18 knots)

    03h 46mn 33s
    Djerba control tower advises 9H-ABU that departure will be at 03h46mn and asks him to establish communication on radial 043

    03h 47mn 50s
    Tunis Regional Control Centre (CCR) transmits information on the estimated time of reaching the limit of Tunisian and Maltese air space (Regional Flight Information - Tunis/Malta) as 04hl0mn on flight level 90 (message transfer)

    03h 5lmn 10s Aeroplane
    On reaching altitude 4000 feet at a distance of 9 nautical miles Aeroplane 9H-ABU is asked by Djerba control tower to change frequency to l29.3Mhz to establish contact with Tunis Regional Control Centre.

    03h 53mn l0s
    Tunis Regional Control Centre receives Aeroplane 9H-ABU call on frequency 129.3 Mhz to which it replies but the pilot does not receive the Regional Control Centre communications.

    03h 56mn 55s
    Aeroplane 9H-ABU, on leaving 7000 feet level at a distance of 20 nautical miles from Djerba VHF Omni Range/Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME), calls Djerba control tower again on frequency ll8.15Mhz to advise that he has not succeeded in establishing contact with Tunis Regional Control Centre.

    03h 57mn 45s
    Djerba control tower controller asks the pilot the estimated time of passing from the flight information region (FIR).

    03h 58mn 13s
    The pilot replies that the estimated time is 04h l0mn

    04h 08mn 47s
    Djerba control tower controller searches to obtain the plane’s position and has received no response after several calls. Only the frequency channel was audible without a clear message.

    03h 58mn 40s
    Tunis Regional Control Centre again calls 9H-ABU on 129.3 MHz without success,

    04h 8mn 47s
    Djerba controller transfers to the assistance equipment and calls Aeroplane 9H-ABU
    Djerba controller receives Aeroplane 9H-ABU’s position (recorded on flight progression microfiche ‘STRIP’) The controller acknowledges receipt of the pilot’s message and asks him to contact Maltese control. 'Ihe pilot acknowledges receipt of the last message by stating "UNIFORM" which corresponds to the last letter of Aeroplane 9H-ABU’s registration number.

    Tunisian control then closes communication and transfers to Maltese control.


    1.2 PERIOD OF UNCERTAINTY AFTER THE LOSS OF RADIO CONTACT

    Following certain difficulties with the confirmed radio contact with the plane:

    04h 35mn 00s
    Tunis Regional Control Centre next enquires of Malta Regional Control Centre if radio contact with 9H-ABU has been established. Malta Regional Control Centre replies that the plane is not yet in contact.

    04h 44mn 20s
    Malta Regional Control Centre confirms that it has still not got the plane in contact
    Tunis Regional Control Centre replies that the plane has already been transferred to Malta Regional Control Centre. Malta Region Control Centre clarifies that it has called the place on the frequency without response from the pilot.

    04h 49mn 50s
    Malta and Tunis Regional Control Centres both confirm that they do not have radio contact with the plane. In reply to Malta Regional Control Centre’s request Tunis Regional Control Centre confirms that the place took off from Djerba at 03h 46mn

    ()4h 50mn 30s
    Tunis regional Control Centre advises Djerba control tower that aeroplane 9H-ABU has still not contacted Malta and asks for the time of leaving flight information region (FIR) Djerba tower replies that the time of leaving flight information region had taken place at 04h 1lmn

    04h 55mn 40s
    Djerba control tower again asks for news of 9H-ABU

    05h 00mn 30s
    Djerba control tower confirms to Malta Regional Control Centre that the plane had been transferred to the flight information region a 04h 11mn directly from Djerba to Malta.

    05h 08mn l0s
    Malta Regional Control Centre asks Tunis Regional Control Centre if it had had radar contact with the plane. Tunis Regional Control Centre replies that there is no radar cover.

    05h l3mn 40s
    Djerba control tower informs Tunis Regional Control Centre of its unsuccessful calls on the normal radio communications equipment and the transfer to the assistance equipment which had permitted him to re-establish contact with the plane.

    05h 16mn 30s
    In response to Tunis Regional Control Centre’s request for news on the radio contact, Malta Regional Control Centre replies that it has still not had contact.


    1-3 ALERT PHASE

    05h 18mn 00s
    Malta Regional Control Centre transmits an alert message (ALERFA) received simultaneously by Tunis Regional Control Centre and Northern Zone Military Operation Centre (COZ-Nord)

    05h 18mn 20s
    Tunis Regional Control Centre and Djerba control tower exchange information on the weather at Djerba (wind 30 degrees with a force of 30 knots, flight duration 1h50mn and that the aeroplane normally remains 20 minutes for landing).

    05h 38mn 30s
    Djebel Kebir Northern Zone Military Operations Centre along with Military Co-ordination Detachment seek to obtain supplementary information about the ALERFA message which it has received. It is the civilian controller who replies and confirms that the aeroplane 9H-ABU has not yet established contact with Malta.

    05h 40mn 30s
    Following the request from Djerba tower, the Regional Control Centre advises that an
    ALERFA message has been transmitted.

    05h 46mn 30s
    Northern Zone Military Operations Centre requests information from Military Co-ordination Detachment on the plane’s take off from Djerba (03h 49mn), the last contact with Djerba (04h 2lmn) and the duration of the flight (1h 50mn according to the flight plan).

    05h 49mn 00s
    On request from Tunis Regional Control Centre, Djerba tower confirms that the plane had been instructed on frequency ll8.l5Mhz to enter into contact with Malta at 04h 11mn.

    05h 50mn 00s
    In reference to the alert message issued by Malta at 05h l8mn Tunis Regional Control Centre transmits in turn a message to Malta where it specifies the last radio contact at flight information region (FIR) at 04h 11mn flight level 90.

    05h 50mn 40s
    The communication with Djerba (05h 49mn 00s) has been passed on to Malta.

    05h 56mn 30s
    Northern Zone Military Operations Centre confirms to Military Co-ordination Detachment that it has received the message from Regional Control Centre (05h 55mn). As for the request relating to the radar there is no visual contact to the south.


    1.4 DISTRESS PHASE

    06h 01mn
    Maltese Regional Control Centre launches the distress phase by transmission of a DETRESFA message a copy of which is received at Northern Zone Military Operations Centre.

    06h 05mn
    Djerba runway office transmits the information contained in the complementary flight plan to Tunis and Malta Regional Control Centres.

    06h 39mn 50s
    Tunis Regional Control Centre alerts the operations room at the Ministry of the Interior (Tel: 335000) about the disappearance of the plane between Djerba and Malta.

    O6h 55mn 20s
    The Ministry of the Interior operations room confirms the information received at O6h 39mn 50s with Tunis Regional Control Centre

    07h 04mn l0s
    The (sound?) engineer on duty has been advised by Tunis Regional Control Centre about the situation regarding aeroplane 9H-ABU and that the Maltese Regional Control Centre has send a distress message about the matter.

    07h l5mn
    Tunis Regional Control Centre is informed of the distress by messages to the following addressees:

    • Bizerte military base
    • General Management of Civilian Aviation
    • OPAT General Management
    • Aerial Navigation OPAT Management

    07h 57mn
    Djerba runway office for its part advises the following addressees of the distress:
    DGAC, DCEFC (OPAT), DNA (OPAT), COZ-NORD


    1.5 SEARCH PHASE `

    08h 50mn
    Malta Regional Control Centre advised by message that the Maltese Centre for Search and Rescue Co-ordination (RCC) is prepared to proceed with the search for the lost plane with the help of two search and rescue (SAR) planes based at Malta in a zone of the Maltese Search and Rescue region (SRR) defined as follows: (see annexed card)

    34 degrees 35°N 11 degrees 30°E
    34 degrees 48°N 11 degrees 53°E
    34 degrees 25°N 12 degrees 15°E
    34 degrees 01°N 11 degrees 30°E
    34 degrees 35°N 11 degrees 30°E

    In the same message Maltese Regional Control Centre asks Tunis Search and Rescue (Tunis Search and Rescue, even though the terms of SAR N 75-155 decree of 7 March 1975 has not yet been made use of in Tunisia to this day) to proceed to search in the zone relevant to the Tunis SRR Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre to the south of the latitude 34 degrees 35N. At the same time it requests authorisation from Tripoli Search and Rescue to permit two Maltese planes to search in the relevant area of the Maltese defined search zone which overlaps with a part of the Libyan search and rescue region.

    10h 33mn
    Tunisian air force planes begin searching in the different zones of Tunis search and rescue region and continue throughout the day.

    15h 46mn
    The Search and Rescue Co-ordinator of the Maltese Centre for Search and Rescue Co-ordination has asked that it be made precisely aware of the zones in which searches have been undertaken by Tunisian and Libyan search and rescue planes and to confirm that these searches have been completed. As for Malta Centre for Search and Rescue Co-ordination, nothing has been turned up and the searches in the Maltese flight information region will continue right up to sunset and will re-commence the following morning (4.12.95). In the same message, the Maltese express their
    wish to receive a precise reply about the search zones covered by the Tunisians.

    17h 43mn
    The Search and Rescue Co-ordinator of the Maltese Centre for Search and Rescue Co-ordination gives an account of the suspension of the searches for the day (3.12.95) and of the resumption of operations the following day (4.12.95) at first light and asks Tunis and Tripoli Search and rescue Centres if they wish to pursue the searches. At 7h 30mn on 4.12.95 the Northern Zone Military Operations Centre, in the absence of a
    Tunisian Search and Rescue operative and an agreement on co-operation in the Search and Rescue domain with Malta on which the search and rescue region borders, refers to two messages sent the previous evening a l7h 43mn by the Maltese Search and Rescue to initiate and advising that the searches have begun in the zone propose by Malta. This constituted the beginning of direct co-ordination between the Northern Zone Military Operations Centre, Tunis and Malta Regional Control Centres and unites the co-ordination duties normally devolved to a single regional control centre.

    Tunisian Air force searches in the zones co-ordinated with Malta Regional Control Centre are pursued right up to 7.12.95. The searches of the Maltese coast are pursued right up to today (18.12.95) with some days of interruption. The TUNISAVIA company participated equally in the searches by providing two helicopter flights on 3.12.95. Then the Tunisians, Maltese with the participation of the US and Libyan navy proceeded to search in their respective regions with some flexibility in using their respective air spaces. All the searches have been unsuccessful to date.


    1.6 INTERCEPTION OF A DISTRESS SIGNAL BY A BOAT SAILING TOWARDS SFAX

    On 4.12.95 around 08h 00mn SFAX control tower was informed by the "British Gas company" at Sfax of the following:

    The boat "Supply Asperay" announces having received a distress call on 3/12/95 at 04h 44mn originating from a location at 6 nautical miles north east of Miskar 34 degrees 22°N 11 degrees 52°E on the emergency frequency 121.5 Mhz.

    Taking account of the time at which the distress signal was received by the aforementioned ship (O4h 41mn) and the time of the missing plane's last radio contact with Djerba (04h 11mn) and of the estimated place of locating the distress signal, this allows a presumption that the signal received originated from the missing plane 9H-ABU. It is stressed that this information had been transmitted as soon as it had been received by the services controlling air traffic at the Northern Zone Military Operations Centre (COZ-Nord Djebel Kebir) and the Maltese Search and Rescue Centre.

    After verification from the world centre for location distress signals by satellite at Toulouse (COSPAS/SARSAT) it is proven that during the day of 3.12.95 Tunisian territory was not covered by satellite during the hours of 3h 30mn and 4h 52mn.

    This would explain that the distress signal detected by the "Supp1y Asperay" at 04h 41mn and which would not have lasted throughout the relevant time, could not have been detected at the same time by the satellite.


    1.7 INFORMATION ON THE PERSONNEL

    The Pilot

    Carmelo Bartolo : born 1.3.48, Maltese
    Licence: Profession American pilots licence (FAA) No.2442642 issued on 10.4.95
    Last medical examination - 13.5.95
    Licence last updated - 19.5.95.

    Qualifications:

    • Flights on multi and single engine aircraft
    • Multi engine aircraft with professional pilot privileges
    • Single engine aircraft with private pilots privileges
    • Pilot instructor

    The pilot was not in possession of a certificate of validation for his licence, issued by the Maltese civil aviation authorities. Such a document did not exist for practising as a private pilot (as required by the Maltese Civil Aviation Department).

    Passengers

    Matthew Aquilina 28.6.73 Maltese
    Philip Farrugia 26.4.53 Maltese
    Desmond Boomer 17.11.56 Irish
    Tadeusz Gomy 5.1.47  Polish
    Michael Williams 14.6.46 British


    1.8 INFORMATION ON THE PLANE

    Constructor: Piper Aircraft
    Type: PA-32 R 300
    Serial number: 7780410
    Registration Number: 9H-ABU
    Seats: 6
    Owner: Sun Aviation Ltd., Malta
    User: Excelair Services Ltd., Malta
    Maltese certificate of navigatability, passenger transport category, carrying no. 66/1 issued by the Maltese Department of Civil Aviation on 15.1.92 at valid up to 15.1.96,
    Maximum weight on take off: 1600kg
    Type of fuel: AVGGAZ 100LL


    1.9 METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

    According to the file provided by the National Meteorological Institute, the morning of 3.12.95 was marked by an unstable depressed weather system with a passing atmospheric disturbance on the Tunisian and Maltese flight information regions which had led to the development of thunderstorms.

    The TEMSI card (low altitude) of the flight file, put at the pilots disposal by the Djerba Office of Protection indicates at 03h the presence on the Tunisan/Maltese and the central Mediterranean basin a layer of cloud of 5 to 7 cumulus octas which the base is a 3000 feet and the summit at 9000 feet surmounted by another layer of medium and elevated clouds whose base is at 1100 feet and the summit between 20000 and 32000 feet with the presence of cumulonimbus submerged in these layers the base of which is at 2000 feet and the summit at 30000 feet.

    Observation from 04h 00mn to 06h 00mn:

    Djerba Airport:

    Weather overcast with the presence of low clouds of which the base is at 1600 feet and cumulonimbus of between 1 to 4 octas of which the base is at 2000 feet.

    Visibility is between 4000 and 5000 metres
    North-north east wind at 14 to 17 knots

    Malta Airport

    At 04h 00mn

    Sky overcast with the present of cumulonimbus clouds between 5 to 7 octas of which the base is at 1200 feet.
    Visibility 4000 metres
    North-north east wind at 13 knots
    Thunderstorm is with rain


    1.10 NAVIGATION AIDS

    Djerba airport is equipped with aerial navigation aids (ILS, VOR, DME, LOCATOR) which were functioning on the day on which the plane in question disappeared.

    The Djerba to Lampedusa main route on which the plane lost radio contact with the Maltese air traffic control is situated above sea level on a radial 043 from the Djerba VHF Omni Range.


    1.11 TELECOMMUNICATIONS
    Taking account of the low altitude of the place, it has been agreed between Tunis Regional Control Centre and Djerba control tower that this was the last bearing radio contact had with the plane was on its leaving Tunisian flight information region and its transfer to Maltese control. In the course of that evening, a momentary interruption in direct contact had been recorded and had been overcome by recourse to the assistance equipment at Djerba. The pilot had not indicated any anomalies during his flight in Tunisian airspace.


    1.12 INFORMATION ON THE AIRPORT

    Djerba International Airport is equipped with a runway 09/27 3100 metres long and lit with beacons.


    1.13 INFORMATION ON THE WRECKAGE AND THE CRASH

    The searches undertaken have not yet uncovered anything up to the present day.


    II - ANALYSIS:

    As a result of the absence of information on the wreckage and the persons it is difficult to proceed to analyse in any depth the circumstances of this disappearance.
    However certain indications allow a supposition that the plane would have sent a distress message (the message picked up by the ship ‘Supply Asperay’ while sailing towards Sfax at at 6 nautical miles from the ‘Miskar‘ oil rig platform.

    The questions is posed in respect of the non-detection of this message by the COSPAS world localisation satellite system. .

    After verification by the COSPAS reception centre at Toulouse, it has been proven that during the day of 3.12.95 Tunisian territory was not under satellite cover between 03h 30mn and 04h 52mn. This would explain why the distress signal detected by the ‘Supp1y Asperay’ ship at 04h 4lmn which would not have lasted throughout this time could not have been detected by the satellite at the same time.

    Furthermore, it is emphasised that the weather conditions prevailing on the day of the planes disappearance in the region covering the Djerba/Malta route were unfavourable with the presence of cumulouimbus clouds (unstable and frosty). all the more so that the flight took place at night by instruments only.


    III - PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATIONS

    The preliminary examination of the debris and the documents has uncovered the following:

    III-1 Documents

    - An American pilots licence bearing the number 2442642 from 4.10.95
    - A Maltese professional card bearing the number 4031 valid up to October 1997
    - A Maltese identity card bearing the number 2977480 from 24.1 1.94
    - Three bank credit cards
    - Personal visits cards
    - Bank notes (US dollars and Maltese lira)

    The documents and bank notes which belonged to the pilot Carmel Bartolo were arranged in a wallet with some keys and were in a legible enough state to be deciphered.

    III-2 Debris

    The Debris which was for the most buckled appeared as thus:

    - the lower part of the cockpit with the engine controls, the direction ‘palonniers’ the control lever of the window, the timoneries and cabling from the flight control.

    - a fragment of the lower part of the fuselage with some cabling and electrical components

    - four seat belts among which two belonging to the front seats were closed and torn from their holdings.

    fragments of flooring and a structure in the form of zi ladder which could be a floorboard.

    • bits of the plane’s upper and lower upholstery.

    First indications on this part of the wreckage have not revealed any trace of fire. Also, the front seat belts which were closed and torn out of their holdings at the state of the
    retrieved debris would show that the plane had undergone a violent impact with the surface of water (a strong acceleration at the moment of impact).

    It is worth noting that the positions of the engine controls and the flight control levers could give some idea of the flight speed and the plane’s relative position before impact. These positions could be determined after a minute examination in an aeronautical workshop.

  • Letter From Irish Consulate to Cormac Boomer

    AN ROINN GNOTHAI EACHTRACHA

    Department of Foreign Affairs
    BAILE ATHA CLIATH 2
    Dublin 2

    14 December 1995

    Mr. Cormac Boomer
    36 Riverdale Park North
    Belfast
    BT11 9DLL

    Dear Mr. Boomer,

    I would like to pass on my condolences to your family at this difficult time.

    Please find attached copies of correspodence received from the Irish Honorary Cosul to Malta and a transript of my telephone conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Vassallo as requested.

    I have asked the Embassy of Ireland in London to contact the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for details on the British national on board the flight, Mr. Michael Williams.

    I will keep you updated with any information we receive. If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

     

    Niamh Ryan
    Consular Services

    Note for File

    I spoke to Lieutenant Colonel Vassallo, co-ordinator of the search at the Operations Centre of the Maltese Armed Forces. The official search was called off on Friday evening after no trace had been found. According to the Lieutenant Colonel they left no stone unturned during the search which included personnel and equipment from Malta, United States, Italy, Libya and Tunisia. The accident happened on the border of Tunisian and Maltese airspace and the searchers were given permission to check inside Libyan and Tunisian waters. The family of the pilot own a small aviation company and they continued the search with two aircraft on Sunday. The Maltese operation centre co- ordinated this search and lent military observers to the family.

    If the plane went down near the coast it would be easier to find although there are many ship wrecks in that area. The Lieutenant Colonel believes that the plane may have gone down just inside Tunisian airspace. The last message received from the aircraft was 10 minutes before it was due to enter Maltese air space but it never appeared on Maltese radar. Therefore if the aircraft is within Tunisian waters the search should be taken up the Tunisian authorities.

    Niamh Ryan
    12 December 1995

     

  • Belfast Telegraph - initial report of the disppearance

    Dessie Boomer - Pictured in Belfast Telegraph articleEx-Councillors Son Is Feared Dead On Lost Flight

    Single-engine plane vanishes in Med storm

    By Tanya Acheson : December 5th 1995

    The son of a former SDLP councillor is one of six people missing and feared in a Mediterranean plane crash. Dessie Boomer 39, a diesel mechanic, was on board the single engined plane on a 75 minute flight from Tunisia to Malta when it vanished during a violent storm. Flight Path Map published in the Belfast TelegraphA huge rescue operation was launched after the Piper 32 vanished in the early hours of Sunday 200 miles south west of the holiday island but no trace has been found.

    Father of five, Mr Boomer, from Banbridge is the son of fomer Belfast City councillor Cormac Boomer. Today he said: "l do not hold out any hope. The search people are saying that they haven't given up hope but all we can nope for is that they find the bodies"

    His son. whose children are aged between eight and 15 was working for a Darlington based company employed by the Tunisian govemment on oilfield work. He was due to retum home to Northern Ireland, for Christmas. He was onboard the flight from the Tunisian island of Djerba along with another Briton, a pole and three Maltese including {the pilot). It left at 4.46am and was due at the intemational airport on the George Cross island at 6.30am.

    Last contact with the Piper 32 was at 5.11am when it was 200 miles south west of Malta. The alarm was raised at 6:18am and ships from the US 6th fleet joined with Tunisian and Maltese aircraft in a search operation. The weather was described as "stormy".

    Mr. Boomer Snr, a well-known figure in local politics, said at his home in Riverdale, West Belfast, "he had made the trip before and he told me it had been a hair-raising experience. The plane was being bounced around like a rubber ball."

    He said his son had been working in Tunisia for four months and had previously worked in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. "We are devastated to think that he came through 25 years living in Andcrsonstown and then for this to happen" added Mr Boomer.

    A close friend of the family, who live at Larchwood Court. Banbridge said: "His wife Mandy and children are totally devastated. He was a very loving and devoted father and he worked so hard for his family."

    Parish priest Fr Matthew O'Hare said the community was stunned to leam of Mr. Boomer's disappearance.

    A Maltese government spokesman said military aircraft from the US base in Sigonella, Sicily, had joined the search south of Malta but no trace had been found of survivors or wreckage.

  • Tehran Times Article on Shaqaqi

    Special Ceremonies to Mark Martyrdom of Shaqaqi Today

    11/01/95
    TEHRAN TIMES
    CATEGORY: POLITICS
    WORD COUNT: 410

    TEHRAN Special ceremonies will be held here at Felestine Square Wednesday afternoon to commemorate the martyrdom of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement's Secretary General Fathi Shaqaqi.  The Leader's representative at the Haj pilgrimage, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, is expected to address the ceremony.

    Peoples from different walks of life and various organs have thus far announced their readiness to attend the ceremony to proclaim their consolidation with the Palestinian nation and express hatred toward the Zionist regime and its crimes. The ceremony is arranged by the Coordinating Council for Islamic Propagation.

    Other reports indicate that a similar ceremony was held here on behalf of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution at the mosque of the University of Tehran on Monday. Addressing the ceremony, Hojjatoleslam Seyed Abdullah Fatemi—Nia branded the Zionist regime as the major sponsor of state terrorism.

    He further touched on the recent terrorist moves, namely, the abortive terror of Iran's charge d'affaires in  Argentina, the hijacking of the Iranian passenger plane and the assassination of Shaqaqi, blaming the Zionist regime for the crimes. Shaqaqi attained martyrdom when sprayed by bullets on the island of Malta on Thursday.

    Slain Islamic Jihad chief Fathi Shaqaqi will be buried alongside other fallen Palestinian activists at a refugee camp here today, a spokesman for the militant group said yesterday. Shaqaqi, 43, was killed in Malta on Thursday in an assassination which Islamic Jihad blamed on Israeli Mossad agents.

    The widow of slain Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shaqaqi received his body yesterday and accused Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, and Yasser Arafat‘s security agents of working together to assassinate him. Fathia Shaqaqi alleged that elements of the Palestine Liberation Organization's elite force l7, Arafat's special security branch, had facilitated the slaying in Malta last Thursday.

    "They guided and helped Mossad elements in the assassination of my husband," she told reporters at Damascus airport soon after the body of her late husband arrived on a special Tunisian aircraft.

    The 44 year old Islamic activist was shot dead outside a hotel in Valetta, the Maltese capital, by a gunman on motorcycle.

    PLO officials have denied involvement in the Shaqaqi slaying and accused Mossad. The Israelis, as usual, have said nothing. His widow ululated as the coffin, wrapped in a Palestinian flag, was taken off the plane and showered with roses. "This is your promised day, my comrade. This is the day of your trip to paradise," she said, weepinq.

  • Operation Of Aircraft - Annex 6 to convention on international civil aviation

    INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
    AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES

    OPERATION OF AIRCRAFT

    Annex 6
    TO THE CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVAITION

    Part 1
    INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL
    AIR TRANSPORT – AEROPLANES

    Sixth edition of Part 1 July 1995

    Annex 6 – Operation of Aircraft

    Chapter 6

    5 700 kg up to and including 27 000 kg that are of types of which the prototype was certified by the appropriate national authority after 30 September 1969 should be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder, the objective of which is the recording of the aural environment an the flight deck during flight time.

    6.3.8 Cockpit voice recorders — duration

    6.3.8.1 A cockpit voice recorder shall be capable of retaining the information recorded during at least the last 30 minutes of its operation.

    6.3.8.2 Recommendation - A cockpit voice recorder, installed in aeroplanes of a maximum certified takeoff mass of over 5 700 kg for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is first issued on or after 1 January I 990, should be capable of retaining the information recorded during at least the last two hours of its operation.

    6.3.9 Flight recorders — construction and installation

    Flight recorders shall be constructed, located and installed so as to provide maximum practical protection for the recordings in order that the recorded information may be preserved recovered and transcribed.

    6.3.10 Flight recorders — operation

    6.3.10.1 Flight recorders shall not be switched off during flight time.

    6.3.10.2 Recommendation - To preserve flight recorder records, flight recorders should be de-activated upon completion of flight time following an accident or incident, and not re—activated prior to removal of these records.

    6.4 All aeroplanes operated as VFR flights

    6.4.1 All aeroplanes when operated as VFR flights shall be equipped with:

    a) a magnetic compass;
    b) an accurate timepiece indicating the time in hours, minutes and seconds;
    c) a sensitive pressure altimeter;
    d) an airspeed indicator; and
    e) such additional instruments or equipment as may be prescribed by the appropriate authority.

    6.4.2 VFR flights which are operated as controlled flights shall be equipped in accordance with 6.9.

    6.5 All aeroplanes on flights over water

    6.5.1 Seaplanes

    All seaplanes for all flights shall be equipped with:

    a) one life jacket, or equivalent individual floatation device, for each person on board, stowed in a position easily accessible from the seat or berth of the person for whose use it is provided;
    b) equipment for making the sound signals prescribed in the Intemational Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, where applicable; and
    c) one sea anchor (drogue)

    Note- "Seaplanes" includes amphibians operated as seaplanes.

    6.5.2 Landplanes

    6.5.2.1 Landplanes shall carry the equipment prescribed in 6.5.2.2:

    a) when flying over water and at a distance of more than 93 km (50 NM) away from the shore, in the case of landplanes operated in accordance with 5,2.9 or 5.2.10;
    b) when flying en route over water beyond gliding distance from the shore, in the case of all other landplanes; an
    c) when taking off or landing at an aerodrome where, in the opinion of the State of the Operator, the take-off or approach path is so disposed over water that in the even; of a mishap there would be a likelihood of a ditching.

    6.5.2.2 The equipment referred to in 6.5.2.1 shall comprise one life jacket or equivalent individual floatation device for each person on board, stowed in a position easily accessible from the seat or berth of the person for whose use
    it is provided.

    Note.- "Landplanes" includes amphibians operated as landplanes

    6.5.3 All aeroplanes on long range over water flights

    6.5.3.1 in addition to the equipment prescribed in 6.5.1 or 6.5.2 whichever is applicable, the following equipment shall be installed in all aeroplanes when used over routes on which the aeroplane may be over water and at more than a distance corresponding to 120 minutes at cruising speed or 740 km (400 NM), whichever is the lesser, away from land suitable for making an emergency landing in the case of aircraft operated in accordance with 5.2.9 or 5.2.10, and 30 minutes or 185 km (100 NM), whichever is the lesser, for all other aeroplanes:

    a) Lifesaving rafts in sufficient numbers to carry all persons on board, stowed so as to facilitate their ready use in emergency, provided with such lifesaving equipment including means of sustaining life as is appropriate to the flight to be undertaken; and


    b) equipment for making the pyrotechnical distress signals described in Annex 2.

    6.5.3.2 Each life jacket and equivalent individual floatation device, when carried in accordance with 6,5.1 a), 6.5.2.1 and 6.5.2.2, shall be equipped with a means of electric illumination for the purpose of facilitating the location of persons, except where the requirement of 6.5.2.1 c) is met by the provision of individual floatation devices other than life jackets.

    6.6 All aeroplanes on flights over designated land areas

    Aeroplanes, when operated across land areas which have been designated by the State concerned as areas in which search and rescue would be especially difficult, shall be equipped with such signalling devices and life-saving equipment (including means of sustaining life) as may be appropriate to the area overflown.

    6.7 All aeroplanes on high altitude flights

    Note ~ Approximate altitude in the Standard Atmosphere corresponding to the value of absolute pressure used in this text is as follows:

    Absolute pressure Metres Feet
    700 hPa 3 000 10 000
    620 hPa 4 000 13 000
    376 hPa 7 600 25 000

    6.7.1 An aeroplane intended to be operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure is less than 700 hPa in personnel compartments shall be equipped with oxygen storage and dispensing apparatus capable of storing and dispensing the oxygen supplies required in 4.3.8.1.

    6.7.2 An aeroplane intended to be operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure is less than 700 hPa but which is provided with means of maintaining pressures greater than 700 hPa in personnel compartments shall be provided with oxygen storage and dispensing apparatus capable of storing and dispensing the oxygen supplies required in 4.3.8.2.

    6.7.3 Pressurized aeroplanes newly introduced into service on or after l July 1962 and intended to be operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure is less than 376 hPa shall be equipped with a device to provide positive waming to the pilot of any dangerous loss of pressurization.

    6.7.4 Recommendation - Pressurized aeroplanes introduced into service before J July 1962 and intended to be operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure
    is less than 376 hPa should be equipped with a device to provide positive warning to the pilot of any dangerous loss of pressurization.

    6.7.5 An aeroplane intended to be operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure is less than 376 hPa, or which, if operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure is more than 376 hPa. cannot descend safely within four minutes to a flight altitude at which the atmospheric pressure is equal to 620 hPa and for which the individual certificate of airworthiness was issued on or after 9 November l99S, shall be provided with automatically deployable oxygen equipment to satisfy the requirements of

    4.3.8.2. The total number of oxygen dispensing units shall exceed the number of passenger and cabin attendant seats by at least 10 per cent.

    6.7.6 Recommendation - An aeroplane intended to be operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure is less than 376 hPa, or wltich, if operated at flight altitudes at which the atmospheric pressure is more than 376 hPa cannot descend safely within four minutes to a flight altitude at which the atmospheric pressure is equal to 620 hPa, and for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is issued before 9 November /998.should be provided with automatically deployable oxygen equipment to satisfy the requirements of 4.3.8.2. The total number of oxygen dispensing units should exceed the number of passenger and cabin attendant seats by at least l0 per cent.

    6.8 All aeroplanes in icing conditions

    All aeroplanes shall be equipped with suitable anti-icing and/or de-icing devices when operated in circumstances in which icing conditions are reported to exist or are expected to be encountered.

  • Letter from Cecilia Aquilina to Cormac Boomer re: article in Kullhadd

    Letter from Cecilia to Cormac Boomer

    29 November 1998

    Dear Cormac and Alice

    I am sending you a translation ot a newspaper cutting Kullhadd article which was in an old newspaper in 1995 prior to the incident. I managed to get this newspaper and have made a literal translation. It is not in very good English but l did not bother to polish it. I translated literally.

    As you can see someone was warning the authorities that these flights should not be taking place. Apparently the Transport Dept ignored those warnings.

    I presume that it we sue the Govt and Civil Aviation for large sums we might get a reaction of some sort.

    I think we have to sue the individuals at Civil Aviation such as Sultana who has incidentially now been appointed Director as Fenech has retired. Believe it or not Sultana who has been appearing in Court together with Fenech and Sultana is the guy who was on duty and it took him ages to get out the searches and to get to the airport on that fatal day. This guy is now Director of Civil Aviation.

    Please give me your views ??'?

    I am not interested In the money I am interested in nailing a few people to tell us the truth and if we sue individuals it is even better as they will panic and will let the cat out of the bag.

    What do you think???

    [Note: the newspaper article also contained an article on Shqaqi]

  • Gaddafi opponents lived in murder victims house

    Gaddafi opponents lived in murder victims house

    By Franco Aloisio

    Sunday 12th October 1997

    Opponents of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, including Libyan dissident Najib al Harari, who was arrested in Malta Iast year and latter granted political asylum in Sweden, used to live in the Sliema guesthouse owned by Peter Jones, who was found murdered in his penthouse last Friday.

    While under arrest, Al Harari told the police that Malta was considered an ideal working base by Col. Gadaffi's opponents. Sources say that Mr. Jones guesthouse in 51 Borg Olivier Street and another guesthouse in Graham Street, also in Sliema, were habitually used by Libyan nationals, including Harari. Two Libyans and a Maltese national are helping police with their investigations in the Sliema murder. The police would not confirm this information.

    Two weeks ago the Malta Independent revealed that al Harari was a member of the "Anti-Gadaffi Front" to which Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shqaqi, murdered in Sliema in 1995 also belonged.

    Sources close to the police say that the Libyan national Amer Hisham Ali Mohammed, brutally toturted and murdered in Tigne last year, was a close friend of Al Harari and both shared Mr. Jones guesthouse in Sliema. Amer, also a member of the "Anti-Gadaffi Front", was terrified to return to Libya, the sources say.

    It has been learnt that Al Harari entered Malta on five different ocasions in 1996 using a false passport, before being arrested in July that same year. Police sources say that on many occassions Al Harari resided in Mr. Jones guesthouse. In the begginning of 1996, Al Harari left Libya on his way to Malta, claiming his life was in danger as he overtly opposed Col. Gadaffi's brand of Islamic socialism. An Islamic fundamentalist, Al Harari left Malta in February 1996 and went to Morocco, returning to Malta a few weeks later. He went went to Tunisia, returning to Malta soon after. In April 1996 he returned to Morocco, later flying to Sudan.

    His final destination was Malta, where he was arrested in July. Libya had asked maltese authoprities for Al Harari's extradition. he claimed his life would be in danger and was later granted political asylum in Sweden, where he is now staying.

  • Inquiry Inviting Rodney Wood To Contribute

    DCA/INV/222

    7 August 1996
    Mr Rodney Wood
    10 Stake-by-road
    Whitby
    North Yorkshire
    YO21 IHS
    U.K.

    Dear Sir,

    Investigation on the disappearance of Piper Lance
    aircraft, registration marks 9H—ABU

    A Court of Inquiry has been set up under the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations, 1956, to investigate the circumstances leading to the disappearance of the aircraft mentioned in caption on its return flight to Malta from Djerba on 3 December 1995. As you were a passenger on the same aircraft on the flight from Malta to Djerba on 2 December 1995 you may be able to provide some useful information for the Inquiry. Please find hereunder a list of questions which the Court of Inquiry would like you to reply to in order to assist it in its investigations. Your replies should be attested by a Commissioner of Oaths and should be addressed to:

    The Attorney General
    The Palace
    Valletta
    Malta

    1. Did the pilot make any comments on

    a) the weather conditions enroute between Malta and Djerba
    b) the weather in Djerba

    2. Did you notice anything particular about the aircraft state
    3. Did you notice anything abnormal such as engine noise, weather, icing, hail, turbulence
    4. What were the weather conditions on the flight
    5. Did the pilot make any comments about returning to Malta the next morning
    6. Did the pilot comment about returning straight away or say anything about going to a hotel
    7. Did you notice anything particular about the well being of the pilot; did his speech say anything; was he worried about the weather
    8. Is it the first time that you flew with the pilot and aircraft concerned
    9. Would you say that the pilot acted prudently/professionally at all times
    10. Who recommended flying with this company.
    11. Did you have a ticket for the flight
    12. Did you or your company purchase the flight ticket

    May I thank you for your cooperation.

    Yours faithfully

    J. SULTANA
    DIREC R OPERATIONS .
    CIVIL AVIATION

    J Sultana

  • Letter from Consul notifying that Inquiry has been set up

    CONSULATE OF IRELAND
    MAHSOVIN.
    The Winery
    Marsa PLA 01,
    Malta

     

    F A X  C O V E R  S H E E T

    (Not signed, computer transmission)

    DATE: December 12th 1995                   TIME: 3:15 PM

    TO:   Niahm                                PHONE: +353 12851675
    FOREIGN AFFAIRS                      FAX:   +353 1 6686518

    FROM: HON. CONSUL                          Tel:   +356 824918
    Irish Consulate, Malta               FAX:   +356 826548

    Number of pages including cover sheet: One

    Re: Desmond Boomer

    Further to our telephone conversation of this morning this is the latest information the Consulate has received regarding the aircraft which disappeared last week.

    Mr. Anthony Mangion, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport (Tel: 00356 243272) has set up the Public Enquiry, Dr. Philip Scibenas LL.D. has been appointed the Commissioner. He will be assisted by various experts in the field of aeronautics. The Enquiry will have all the powers of a Court of Magistrates. lt is what it says it is a "Public" enquiry and therefore anyone can attend. The Attorney General wlll be presenting the case with the aim of determining what happened. A report will then be submitted to the Minister of Transport (Aviation).

    The family of Mr. Boomer are tree to attend if they so wish. They can also apply to become part of the proceedings. The Court will decide whether or not to accept them as pan of the proceedings. Mr. Mangion confirms that the search has now been called off. An official Press Release is due to appear in the papers to this effect. The date ofthe first hearing of this Public Enquiry will also be published. No date has as
    yet been fixed.

    This Is all the infomation we have so far. We will naturally keep you informed as usual. Please contactus if we can be of help.

    Carol Zammit-Briffa


    Secretary f/ Hon. Consul

  • Letter faxed to Cormac Boomer from Sonia Cassar

    CONSULATE OF IRELAND
    MARSOVIN.
    The Winery
    Marsa PLA O1,
    Malta.

    Fax Cover Sheet

    DATE: December 4, 1995                      TIME: 11:25 AM
    TO [Niahm]                                          PHONE: [003534-2851675]
    [Foreign Affairs]                                    FAX: [00353•1-5686518]

    FROM: [Sonia Cassar]                             PHONE: 0O355~824918]
    [Irish Consulate]                         FAX: [00356-826548]

    Number of pages Including cover sheet: [Type number of pages hers]

    Message

    I am enclosing a typed Press Release which has been published in "The Times of Malta” today.

    THREE MALTESE AMONG SIX MISSING AFTER PLANES DISAPPEARANCE

    Search resumes today.

    Aircraft from Malta, Tunisia and the United States Navy are this morning due to resume a search for a single-engined Piper Lance aircraft which went missing with six people on board while on its way to Malta yesterday.

    The aircraft, flying from Djerba in Tunisia, had been expected at Luqa at 6.30am, but nothing was heard of it after a radio message to Tunisian air traffic control at 5:11am, some 25 minutes after take-off the Department of information said the aircraft, which at the time was some 200 miles south west of Malta , did not report anything wrong, but there was a thunderstorm in the area at the time and the aircraft faced a strong north-easterly headwind The alarm was raised by the Malta control tower when the aircraft did not show up on radar screens and it did not make air traffic control at the expected time.

    An Italian military mission search and rescue helicopter piloted by a joint Italian Maltese crew quickly sent to the scene , and it was joined in mid-morning by two aircraft of Excelair Services, the company which was operating the missing aircraft on lease. As news spread other Maltese private pilots also joined in the search along with aircraft of the Tunisian air force and the United States Navy. Weather conditions were about as bad as when the aircraft is thought to have gone missing.

    At one time a pilot reported seeing what looked like a life jacket but the sighting could not be confirmed. The aircraft owned by Sun Aviation and leased to Excelair was piloted by Carmelo Bartolo, of Zebbug a director of Sun Aviation. On board were five passengers two of whom were Maltese; Philip Farrugia and Matthew Aquilina of Selima. The others were Briton Michael Williams, Desmond Boomer an Irishman and Gorny Yadeuse , a Polish.

    The Department of information said the Piper left Malta at 6.45pm on Saturday with four passengers on board. The flight was uneventful with radar and radio contact maintained throughout the flight. The Malta Air Control Centre early yesterday received the aircrat’t’s flight plan for its flight back to Malta. It was to depart from Djerba at 4.40am, reaching Malta at 6.30am. The aircraft actually took off at 4.46am.

    At about 5.30am Tunis flight control asked Malta flight control whether the aircraft was in contact with Malta. Malta replied that there had been no contact at all. After further exchanges between Mata and Tunisia an alert message was issued by Malta at 6.18am. The message was sent to Tunis, Tripoli and Lampedusa. Tunis replied that its last contact with aircraft was at 5:11am when the aircraft was at the Flight Information Region boundary between Malta and Tunisia. The aircraft was then flying at 9,000 feet, Lampedusa and Tripoli had no information about the flight.

    A distress message was issued by Malta at 7.00am addressed to Tunis, Monastir, Djerba, Tripoli and Lampedusa, launching the search and rescue operation.

    The Italian Military Mission helicopter took off from Malta a short time afterwards followed at around 10.30am by two aircraft belonging to Excelair. The Tunisian air force sent five search and rescue aircraft and the US navy reported deployed PC 3 Orian surveillance aircraft. Djerba is located close to the Libyan border and is a gateway for many people travelling to and From Libya which has no air links with the rest of the world because of UN imposed sanctions in connection with the 1988 Pan Am aircraft bombing over Lockerbie , Scotland.

    Malta Police Headquarters

    Tel: 00356 224001

    Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.

    Yours sincerely,

    Sonia Cassar
    Secretary
    to Mr Tony Cassar

    Hon. Consul for Ireland

  • Article Published in KullHadd

    Translation

    ll Kullhadd

    26 November. 1995

    Danger in the Air

    People close to air travel are very worried about the danger that is being brought now that a lot of people have to fly to Tunisia on small planes because the ship between Malta and Libya is not operating.

    Persons who are taking these planes are not being given tickets to show when they leave on the plane. They are being told to go to the airport and they have to be there at a certain time to take the flight.

    This is being done so that people who want to go to Libya for work in connection with oil are being taken as if to pretend that someone is doing them a favour and are not taking the commercial flight where they have to pay money.

    The planes that take these passengers that pay need pilots with commerical licences to fly them and also neex to have serious insurances. The small planes that are carrying people to Tunisia to go to Libya have no licences to carry passengers more than 30 miles off Malta.

    Amongst the ones flying these planes there are pilots that have only a licences to fly a private plane and that is not enough to be able to fly a commerical plane for passengers.

    The Dept of Aviation is allowing these flights to take place knowing the dangers that could arise. lf a plane of this type had to crash being driven by a
    pilot holding a private licence only and if these companies have no schemes of large insurancesrenought to be able to cover in case of a crash there are going to be big problems.

    The families of the passengers that are hit with such incidents can sue these companies for big amounts. The Maltese passengers can sue the companies that operate these flights for thousands. But the families of Americans and Germans that are using this service can sue for millions. They can sue the companies, the Dept of Civil Aviation and the Govt. of Malta that are allowing these flights to take place in this manner.

  • Letter from Cormac Boomer to Sean O'Higgins, Dept of Foreign Affairs

    36, Riverdale Park North
    Belfast BT11 9DL
    Telephone 616627
    18th December, 1995

    Mr. Sean O'Higgins,
    Head of Department,
    Department of Foreign Affairs,
    Dublin.

    Dear Mr. O'Higgins,

    Further to our telephone discussion at the home of Dr. Joe Hendron, M.P., on Sunday, 17th inst., I set out herewith the sequence of events as they unfolded from the moment we were first notified by a member of R.U.C. that our son Desmond was missing, this occurred on the afternoon of Sunday, 3rd inst., quote: We have been advised by your son's employers, Mapel Electrical Services, Darlington, I (Mr. Bob Laurence, Phone 01325 282848 or 460604 that the plane on which our son was travelling from Djerba to Malta was missing - overdue for four hours and there was cause for concern, this information had been conveyed to my daughter-in-law at her home in Banbridge, Co. Down.

    Upon receipt of this news I queried it's accuracy as my son was not due home on leave until Wednesday, l3th December. I contacted your Consulate office where the duty officer confirmed that it was reported that a light aircraft was reported missing on such a flight and that one of the passengers was an Irish citizen, this information was displayed on R.T.E. Airtel on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of last week.

    I visited my daughter-in-law on Sunday evening and she confirmed that Desmond had contacted her from Djerba airport on Saturday evening around seven o'clock, saying the flight was put off until Sunday morning due to bad weather conditions. This was a brief conversation and the first indication she had that he was on his way home, earlier than expected.

    Friday 8th.
    Miss Ryan reports p.m. the search by military and naval personnel and equipment was scaled down and called off, nothing found, civilian search to continue over the week-end, organised and co-ordinated»by Mr. Carmel Bartolo.

    Monday 11th.
    P.M. report from Miss Ryan. The civilian search continued over the week—end using a large number of private aircraft, some with trained observers on board, nothing found, search called off. Will keep you informed of any developments.

    To-day and in the days that followed I made numerous phone calls to Mr. Bartolo, junior, phone endlessly engaged.

    Thursday 11th.
    No change, nothing to report, unable to make contact with Maltese Government Department, No response from Mapel Electrical Services.

    Friday 15th.

    I was contacted by a Mr. Geoff Williams, phone 0151 476 1790, Mr. Williams is the brother of the missing British man on the plane, Michael Williams. It would appear Michael Williams is a naturalised Maltese citizen, having lived in Malta for nearly twenty years, where he has his business and financial interests. Mr. Williams is divorced with a son who is a serving Royal Navy Officer (Andrew) (here Mr. Geoff Williams requested that his nephew's name and occupation be not referred to for reasons which I hope will become apparent.) Upon receipt of information of his father's disappearance, Andrew who is currently on leave travelled to Malta where, using his rank and family involvement he has been making persistent inquiries in government departments regarding the loss of the plane, nature and extent of the search and general background leading up to the incident. .It would appear that on Tuesday l2th Andrew Williams was taken to a government building and into the office of a Dr. Philip Scibberas whom I have been given to understand was the co-ordinator of the military/navel search operation, when seated in the office Dr. Scibberas instructed his staff to leave the room and closed the door, he then made the following statement:

    "We feel you have a right to know your fathers plane did not come down in the water, it is on land and we know where it is"

    Question: how do you know where it is?
    Answer: Our surveillance systems monitored it's distress beacon for seven hours after its reported disappearance,

    Question: lf it is on land is it in Tunisia?
    Answer: No.

    Question: Then is it in Libya?
    Answer: It is on the ground in Tripoli, now let me make it clear if you repeat this conversation to anyone outside this room I will deny that I ever made such a statement, excuse me, end of meeting.

    Dr. Scibberas has apparently disappeared from the government building and is reported to be in Tunisia investigating the circumstances surrounding the loss of the plane at sea.

    Official Maltese Government position
    In subsequent conversations with his uncle, Mr. Williams requested that his name be not referred to as the source of our Malta contact which I know you will respect. Other factors which have been fed to me over the weekend via Mr. Williams are:

    (a) That the incident of the supposed loss of the plane is related to a political assassination of a Libyan diplomat in Malta some time ago, my son informed me when he was home six weeks ago that there was a general feeling of apprehension and unrest amongst migrant workers in the oil fields, that movement out of Libya would be severely restricted etc. Perhaps this explains my son's decision to leave early. It would appear to have been common currency It Maltese government and stock market circles during the first days of the disappearance that in fact the plane was hijacked to Libya to secure Maltese hostages to force the Maltese government to return documentation and brief case missing from the time of the assassination of the Libyan Diplomat.

    (b) Other comments which have been given to me indicate that Libyan government funds have been, prior to the loss of the plane, steadily withdrawn at a rate referred to as flood proportions.


    (c) That the pilot was under investigation by the Maltese Authorities for reasons which I cannot consign to paper.

    (d) The plane, a Piper 32, did not have the range to make the journey Djerba to Malta.

    (e) That the Maltese government air traffic control when advised by Tunisian air traffic control that the plane was about to take off, requested by fax to hold it's departure, the plane took off five m1nutes after the fax arrived.

    (f) The twenty minute delay, according to Mr. Bartolo, junior, when I spoke to him, the plane would have been only twenty two minutes into it's flight and still some twelve miles inside Tunisian air space and natural water when she was reported to have disappeared from Tunisian Radar monitor, supposedly in a stormy not confirmed by weather reports.

    (g) Why did Tunisian Air Traffic Control wait for twenty minutes to ask Malta if they had observed the disappearance of a plane in Tunisian jurisdiction;

    (h) What is the significance of two reports of sightings of six survivors in life raft sighted in Tunisian water (subsequently denied officially) and a vessel which reportedly gave it’s name and that of it's captain when it advised it had picked up six survivors. Investigations carried out indicate that although the comments were heard on search radio channels no such vessel or captain exists on any register of shipping.

    Items A/H give credence to the comment that the situation is both dangerous and messy, nevertheless I was advised as late as the evening of Sunday 17th inst, they are the subjects of public discussion in Malta at government and street level; Speaking on behalf of all the families of those missing our main concern is to establish that they are safe and well and in no imminent danger.

    Mr. Williams suggests that his brother's American Express Card details should be checked out to see if it has surfaced and is being used, I understand Mr. Williams always used this method of payment when travelling outside of Malta, It is suggested his last payment would have been at the Djerba Hotel on the morning of Sunday 3rd December, 1995.

  • Cormac Boomer Letter To Chairman Of Investigation

    36 Riverdale Park North,
    Belfast BT11 9DL,
    Northern Ireland
    9th July 1999

    Dr, Philip Scibberas, LLD.,
    Chairman of Investigation Enquiry,
    Courts of Justice,
    Valletta,
    Malta.

    Subject: Aviation Incident 3rd December, 1995. The Disappearance of Piper 9H-ABU.

    Chairman and Members of the Court,

    I refer to the recent final Sitting of this Court on 24th July 1999 and take this opportunity to submit my comments and observations on aspects of the evidence which has been presented by way of explaining the disappearance of Piper 9H ABU on which my son Desmond was reported to have been a passenger.

    In setting out to compile my final submissions I find that this is to a large extent unnecessary as all of the comments and requests I had in mind had already been addressed by Ms. Cecelia Pelligrini Petit in her submission of 17th June l999.

    You will no doubt be aware that during the past three years Ms. Pelligrini Petit and I have co-operated very closely compiling and cross referencing the evidence presented in Court while pursuing our own individual lines of enquiry, I am, therefore, in total agreement with her submission of l7th June, 1999, and support her requests for further investigation into these matters which, when taken collectively or individually, bring into sharp focus the failure to date to tie down the time tables of departure and arrival times of the aircraft in question, depending on which document is read there is a discrepancy of up to one hour and fifteen minutes difference in recorded times.

    There has been a similar shortfall when dealing with individuals brought before the Court, here I have in mind Travel Agents, Couriers and such who appear to have free access to Luqa Airport without reference to anyone. Their attitude to the Court was reflected in their failure to furnish documentation requested by the Court.

    Then there is the Government Officials and Civil Servants responsible for overseeing land enforcing flight safety regulations as laid down by International Law, not just for major operators such as Air Malta but especially in relation to fly by night cowboy operators such as Sun Aviation and Excelair, to name but two.

    The Department of Civil Aviation was grossly negligent in this regard and their ham fistedness is reflected in their handling of the matter of their own A.T.C. Tapes, highlighting the degree of their gross incompetence.

    The Wreckage

    The chequered history of these items raises more questions than answers. I have publicly questioned the veracity of these items in Court and in public without response either from the Court or the Department of Civil Aviation, and I wonder why?

    With public sittings now at an end I trust the Court will take the time to thoroughly investigate these matters and those listed by Ms. Pelligrini Petit in her Submission of 17th June 1999.

    Finally, one last item of equal importance, it relates to an item of evidence I sought to convey to the Court three years ago, i.e. the statement made by one Andrew Williams to his uncle in Liverpool on l2th December 1995 land conveyed to me on the l5th December 1995 by Mr. G. H. Williams, the brother of the missing English man.

    For reasons best known to itself the Court has refused to address this issue which I consider to be of vital importance to resolving the mystery of Piper 9H ABU and the disappearance of it's pilot and five passengers.

    My Affidavit has been prepared in line with the format you indicated at the last Sitting of the Court. I trust it will assist you and the Board Members in successfully completing your investigations.

    I take this opportunity on behalf of our family circle to thank you and the other Members of the Board for your efforts on our behalf.

    Yours sincerely,

     

     

    Cormac Boomer

  • Cormac Boomer Affidavit re: conversation with Geoffrey Williams


    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN - AN AFFIDAVIT.

    Reference: Aviation Incident - The reported disappearance of a Piper Lance Aircraft - Reg. N0. 9H-ABU

    When enroute from Djerba Tunisia to Malta on the morning of the 3rd December 1995, my son Desmond was reported to be a passenger on this aircraft.

    At the outset I had no reason to believe that the report of the incident was other than as reported/claimed to be, i.e. a tragic accident in mid-flight. My views and opinions on this incident were irrevocably changed on the afternoon of Friday, 15th December 1995. On that day I was contacted by phone by a Mr. Geoffrey William’s who resides in Liverpool, England.

    During our conversation Mr. Williams explained he was the brother of Michael Williams who was reported to be a passenger on the missing plane. He then proceeded to inform me that his brother had a son Andrew who was at that time a serving officer in HM Royal Navy. On hearing of his father's disappearance he obtained immediate leave of absence and travelled to Malta and was present on the island during the period of the eight day international search for the missing aircraft.

    According to Geoffrey Williams his nephew rang him each evening to brief him on the results of each day's search and up-date him on the progress of his own enquiries. On the evening of l2th December 1995 he rang his uncle and during their conversation he imparted the following information. On that day (12th December 1995) he had been in a government building where he met a Maltese public figure believed to be a Dr. Philip Scibberas who took him into an office where he instructed the staff to leave the office, the door was then closed, and when alone this public figure made the following statement, “We feel you have a right to know your father's plane did not go down in the water, it went down on land and we know where it is.”

    Q. How do you know where it is?
    A. Our surveillance systems monitored it's distress beacon for several hours after it was reported missing.

    Q. If it is on land is it in Tunisia.
    A. No.

    Q. Then is it in Libya.
    A. It is on the ground inTripoli, now let me make it perfectly clear, if you repeat this conversation to anyone outside this room I will deny that I ever made such statements, at which point the public figure excused himself and left the office.

    On Sunday l7th December 1995 I contacted my then M.P. Dr Joe Hendron at his home. He put me in contact with Mr, Sean O'Higgins who at that time was Head of Department in the office of Mr. Dick Spring, T.D. who was the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. Arising from a lengthy discussion with Mr. O'Higgins 1 was instructed to set down in writing all the relevant information I had acquired to date and have it delivered to him ASAP.

    This report was completed on l8th December 1995 and handed to Dr. Hendron who delivered it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Dublin with whom he had a meeting on 19th December 1995.

     

     

  • Murder of Peter Jones in Sliema - Police Investigating three motives

    Murder of Peter Jones in Sliema - Police Investigating three motives

    By Natalino Fenech

    The Times, Malta Monday October 13 1997

    The police were yesterday trying to establish the motive which to the killing of 58 year old Peter Jones, whose body was found in his apartment in Amery Street, Sliema on Thursday night. Police sources said that the post mortem showed that Jones had been dead since Tuesday. The police are believed to be following three motives for the murder.Peter Jones, Murder in Sliema

    Mr. Jones could have been the victim of an emotional relationship, a theory which the police believe is a viable one because of his involvement with several Arab persons. The fact that there were no signs of of a break-in to his apartment and that nothing was disturbed strengthen this possibility.

    The second is that Mr. Jones could have been a victim of one of the persons living in this guesthouse and the killing followed an argument over payment.

    The third possible motive, which the police seem to believe is the most likely, is that Mr. Jones could have been the victim of of an attack by Islamic Fundamentalists. Mr. Jones body was found dead with his throat slit from ear to ear. "Unless someone tried to to make it seem so, this is an indication of an Arab sacrificial killing. It is essentialy the way fundamentalists kill", a police source said.,

    The police fear Mr. Jones public statements that he knew who had killed Amer Hisham Ali Mohammed, the Libyan who was shot in November 1995, could have had to do with his murder. The police strongly believe that Amer Hisham was a member of the Anti-Gadaffi movement. Police sources said that they did not believe that Mr. Jones really knew anything of significance but the fact that he kept insisting he know might have led to his elimination.

    Investigations in to the case are being hindered by various factors. The body was found dead two days after the victim was killed, ample time for the killer or killers to have left the island. The police were still working on finger prints lifted from the scene of the crime. One of the main stumbling blocks is that the police do not have equipment for lifting finger prints from skin and various types of fabric, hence any fingerprints on Mr. Jones body or clothes cannot be traced.

    A number of arrests have been made, but sources said the the arrests were rountine, made each time such a serious crime happens. The police were however looking for a Tunisian national who they believe, could help in the investigations.

    Anyone with any information about Mr. Jones latest movements is asked to contact the police on 221111

  • Letter from Cecilia Aqualina to Cormac Boomer re: next sitting of inquiry

    To: Cormac
    From: Cecilia

    Date : July 25th 1997

    Attached please find fax from Piper in reply to mine attached. Margaret is obviously self-explanatory however I have tried several times to check when the next sitting will be held - to no avail.

    May l suggest that from your end either through Christian or the Consulate you try to put some pressure.

    Also you could use the pretext that from doc. of sitting July 5th the Board of inquiry during Tua‘s testimony had asked him to produce documented evidence which automatically means that another sitting should be in the pipeline.

    I need your help because my lawyer has adopted the stand totally opposite to what his opinion was before the last two sittings i.e. that basically we are at the end of the line and what is even worse he now no longer believes that there are any grounds for instituting a law suit.

    I intend going ahead however somehow feel that we at least should attack on the same front either individually or together. To be honest I also feel that our only hope is between us two, Mandy and possibly Julie as the others seem to be on a different wavelength.

    I obviously as you know am basically interested in suing for criminal or gross negligence but this will have to be defined later but at this point I feel and I repeat I feel your only hope from your side is to push from your legal side in Ireland.

    regards

    Cecilia

    1. Did you follow up the investigator number? Please send a fax to Telegraph insisting that following the article which Alina sent you in original copy asking their help to contact these people since you are not getting a reply and you are worried that they might not be genuine

    2. There was another article in the People on two pages re Bartolo which l will fax to you later or mail it. I get the impression that it is pro Bartolo but give me your views.

    3. Is Christian representing both you and Alice as parents and also Mandy as wife of Desmond or is he only representing Mandy


    Facsimile Cover Sheet
    To: Ms. Margaret Nepolitian
    Fax; 001407 770 0344 (ext: 561)
    From: Cecilia Pellegrini Petit

    Phone: (356)338196
    Fax: (356)443029

    Date: 17th July 1997

    Pages including this page: l

    Dear Margaret.

    Excuse me for not writing before but I have been very hard pressed.

    Thank you for your continued help and I also appreciate the very courteous attention shown to me by Mr. Lehman whilst he was in Malta.

    The one thing that I would like to know for certain because I am not clear about it, I was under the impression however that besides his testimony Mr. Lehman was to present a report after his return to base. To my knowledge this report has not yet been received.

    Could I trouble you once again to let me know the position? It you feel that I should contact Mr. Lehman myself please do not hesitate to let me know however if that is not necessary or you prefer to get back to me yourself that is fine by me. I am just not sure the way to go about it.

    Awaiting your reply and grateful for all the help given to us.

    Regards,

    Cecilia


    To Cecilla Petit
    AT 9011358443029

    From. Margaret Napolitan
    Company, New Piper
    Date: 7/22/97
    Time : 8:42am
    Pages including cover : 1

    Dear Cecilla

    Our report was completed on June 25, 1997. We are currently getting permission from the Maltese to release it to the Public. An soon as we do I will send you a copy. It is strictly a factual document, no analysis. It contains the same information Paul gave you

    Thanks Margaret

  • Flight Manifest for Flight 9H-ABU

    This is a scan of the flight manifest presented to the inquiry.

    Flight Manifest presented to the inquiry for 9H-ABU

  • Israel refuses to allow Shqaqi burial in Gaza.

    Israel refuses to allow shqaqi burial in GazaAssassination of Faithi Shqaqi.

    Israel refuses to allow Shqaqi burial in Gaza.

    The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine complained yesterday that Israel had refused to let it bring back the body of it's assassinated leader, Fathi Shqaqi for burial in his native town of Rafah in self ruled Gaza.

    Palestinian security sources in Gaza informed the movement that Israel is refusing completely to transfer the bodyof Doctor Shqaqi to be buried in Rafah said Ala Al Saftawi, editor of the Islamic Jihad's allasuklal newspaper in Gaza.

    Islamic Jihad had accused Israel's Mossad of assassinating Shqaqi in Malta last Thursday and vowed revenge. Israel did not confirm or deny the charge but welcomed his death. Shqaqi's body was flown to Syria yesterday for burial there. Saftawi said Islamic Jihad believed the US Central Intelligence Agency gave Israel the green light to kill Shqaqi.

    "The estimations in the Islamic Jihad movement say that the American intelligence looked through the Israel plan to kill Fathi Shqaqi, approved it and gave the green light for Israel to work it out" he told Reuters. This was done in the Meeting between the head of the CIA and Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, on Thursday the 19th of October, in Tel Aviv",Saftawi said.

    PLO and Islamic Jihad sources in Amman said yesterday they expected Shqaqis successor to tilt the movement towards more militancy and violence.
    Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, 38, a Gaza born, western educated political science and economics professor, was unanimously elected secretary general of Islamic Jihad two days after the assassination of Shqaqi.

    In his first public appearance after his appointment,Shallah was present at Damascus airport when Shqaqi's body was flown to Syria from Malta.
    Shallah, along with Shqaqi founded the Islamic Jihad Movement in the early 1980s in Gaza. In the end of 198O he moved to Britain to continue his academic career before moving to the United states where he obtained a docorate in political science and economics and taught. He was remembered as a fiery preacher in Gaza's mosques before He left for Britain. He left the United States last year and now resides in either Lebanon or Syria.

    Islamic Jihad officials said that since Shqaqi's death there was a feeling the movement was rapidly tilting towards violence after months of refraining from attacks in an uneasy truce with the Palestanian Authority. "The truce period with the Palestinian Authority is over. After months of quiet, the only thing on the movement's mind is revenge" said an Islamic Jihad official. "I believe we are moving towards armed struggle and militaries."

    PLO officials said they warned Jihad to suspend attacks against Israels to allow the expansion of Palestinian authority to the occupied West Bank
    under a self-rule deal. Shqaqi's killing had torn up this unwritten agreement, they added.

    Likud says killing justifiedIsraeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, commenting on the killing of the Islamic Jihad, Fathi Shqaqi, said on  Monday it was "positive" when a terrorist was eliminated. I think it's a positive when a terrorist killer and murderer is removed from our scene. Netanyahu, leader of the right wing Likud party, told reporters after giving a speech in Washington.

    He said he did not know who was behind the killing in Sliema, "I don't necessarily advocate the removal of terrorists and murderers as a policy, but in these cases where removal of the leader would dismantle the terrorist and murder capacity of the organisation which they lead then it shouldn't be thrown out of hand, then it should be considered" he said. "I'm sure there will be repercussions, but I don't think that should deter those who stand in the face of such terrorism from taking actions against the organisation and their leaders.

  • Letter to Gerry Adams MP

    36 Riverdale Park North
    Andersontown
    Belfast BT11 9DL

    25th January 2001

    Gerry Adams M.P.
    President of Sinn Féin
    c/o Connelly House
    Anderstown Road
    Belfast BT11

    Dear Gerry,

    Th enclosed documentation relates to the five year search for our missing son and our efforts to establish the truth surrounding his disappearance in Djerba on 5th December 1995.

    The search for information has been vigorously pursued by the Aqualina family in Malta, the Williams family in Liverpool and ourselves, at our own expense in time and finance which to date has been considerable. We had been aware for some time that Government in Malta had made an application to join the Eurpoean community, arising from which we, the Williams and Boomer families have agreed to adopt a new strategy in our
    seaqch for the truth surrounding this incident.

    We have decided to request our respective Governments through their Foreign Offices and European Representatives to press the Authorities in Malta to establish an International Independent Enquiry into this incident as provided for under International Civil Aviation regulations, we have suggested to our Governments’that this should be done as part of our Government's support for their application for membership.

    The Government of Malta should be called to account for it's handling of the investigation into the disappearance of European Citizens within (as they claim) their jurisdiction,our frustrating experiences of the past five years have convinced us the Maltese Authorities will continue to ignore the voices of the families of the missing until such time as our own Governments and their European Representatives support our requests for accountability and truth.

    The enclosed documents are for your information and records.

    (A) A brief summary of the information I have gathered during my investigations since December 1995.
    (B) My final submission to the Board of Enquiry.
    (C) My Affidavit to the Enquiry. a similar document was submitted by Geoff Williams confirming the information he conveyed to me on the afternoon of 15th December 1995.
    (D) An article written by Journalist Don Mullan for the Ireland on Sunday.

    ln December I raised this matter with the European Commission through it’s office in Belfast, Jim Dougal, Head of Commission informs me that my documents and correspondence have been forwarded to the Malta Unit in Brussels, I have also forwarded this correspondence to our three MEPs.

    l recognise that at this time you are heavily engaged in matters related to our on-going Peace Process, and I wish you every success in your efforts, however, as my member of Parliament the enclosed information is important in the event that you would at some future date be in a position to make enquiries on our behalf that would, hopefully, unlock the closed doors and breach the official wall of silence that has surrounded this incident from the outset.

    ln conclusion I wish to thank you on behalf of all the relatives of the missing for taking the time to read these documents and trust you will support our quest for accountability and truth.

  • Cormac Boomer Letter To Chairman Of Investigation

    36 Riverdale Park North,
    Belfast BT11 9DL,
    Northern Ireland
    9th July 1999

    Dr, Philip Scibberas, LLD.,
    Chairman of Investigation Enquiry,
    Courts of Justice,
    Valletta,
    Malta.

    Subject: Aviation Incident 3rd December, 1995. The Disappearance of Piper 9H-ABU.

    Chairman and Members of the Court,

    I refer to the recent final Sitting of this Court on 24th July 1999 and take this opportunity to submit my comments and observations on aspects of the evidence which has been presented by way of explaining the disappearance of Piper 9H ABU on which my son Desmond was reported to have been a passenger.

    In setting out to compile my final submissions I find that this is to a large extent unnecessary as all of the comments and requests I had in mind had already been addressed by Ms. Cecelia Pelligrini Petit in her submission of 17th June l999.

    You will no doubt be aware that during the past three years Ms. Pelligrini Petit and I have co-operated very closely compiling and cross referencing the evidence presented in Court while pursuing our own individual lines of enquiry, I am, therefore, in total agreement with her submission of l7th June, 1999, and support her requests for further investigation into these matters which, when taken collectively or individually, bring into sharp focus the failure to date to tie down the time tables of departure and arrival times of the aircraft in question, depending on which document is read there is a discrepancy of up to one hour and fifteen minutes difference in recorded times.

    There has been a similar shortfall when dealing with individuals brought before the Court, here I have in mind Travel Agents, Couriers and such who appear to have free access to Luqa Airport without reference to anyone. Their attitude to the Court was reflected in their failure to furnish documentation requested by the Court.

    Then there is the Government Officials and Civil Servants responsible for overseeing land enforcing flight safety regulations as laid down by International Law, not just for major operators such as Air Malta but especially in relation to fly by night cowboy operators such as Sun Aviation and Excelair, to name but two.

    The Department of Civil Aviation was grossly negligent in this regard and their ham fistedness is reflected in their handling of the matter of their own A.T.C. Tapes, highlighting the degree of their gross incompetence.

    The Wreckage

    The chequered history of these items raises more questions than answers. I have publicly questioned the veracity of these items in Court and in public without response either from the Court or the Department of Civil Aviation, and I wonder why?

    With public sittings now at an end I trust the Court will take the time to thoroughly investigate these matters and those listed by Ms. Pelligrini Petit in her Submission of 17th June 1999.

    Finally, one last item of equal importance, it relates to an item of evidence I sought to convey to the Court three years ago, i.e. the statement made by one Andrew Williams to his uncle in Liverpool on l2th December 1995 land conveyed to me on the l5th December 1995 by Mr. G. H. Williams, the brother of the missing English man.

    For reasons best known to itself the Court has refused to address this issue which I consider to be of vital importance to resolving the mystery of Piper 9H ABU and the disappearance of it's pilot and five passengers.

    My Affidavit has been prepared in line with the format you indicated at the last Sitting of the Court. I trust it will assist you and the Board Members in successfully completing your investigations.

    I take this opportunity on behalf of our family circle to thank you and the other Members of the Board for your efforts on our behalf.

    Yours sincerely,

     

     

    Cormac Boomer

  • Court hears pilots last words on ATC tape

    Court hears Bartolo’s last words on air traffic control tape

    By Sharon Spitteri

    THE TIMES FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 1999

    Piper Lance inquiry

    Three and a half years after the setting up of a commission of inquiry to look into the disappearance of a missing Piper Lance plane with six men on board, the prospect of a conclusion yesterday became a tangible likelihood rather than a remote possibility,

    Inquiry chairman Philip Sciberras told lawyers convening for a hearing after 18 months of silence that he was scheduling only another two sittings before calling for submissions with a view to a conclusion.

    The commission was set up on December 4, 1995, a day after the disappearance of the   registered 9H-ABU on its Way to Malta from Djerba,

    On the plane piloted by Captain Carmel Bartolo, 47, of Zebbug were Philip Farmgia, 43; Matthew Aquilina, 22; Briton Michael Williams; Irishman Desmond Boomer and Pole Gorny Tadeuz.

    The commission, with members Captain Franz Sturmeier and Engineer Louis Giordmaina met for the first time on January 3, 1996. Before yesterday, the inquiry had last convened in August 1997. The chairman yesterday exhibited a lot of correspondence received since the last sitting. One of the exhibits was a report by a British unit investigating air accidents after an analysis of the Tunisian air traffic control tape.

    The conclusions of the report were not made available to the press on the pretext that the families should be given a chance to see the report before its conclusions hit news stands.
    Meanwhile the inquiry yesterday heard the tape in open court. The tape allegedly records Captain Bartolo's last words to Tunisian air traffic control.

    But the Bartolo family through their solicitor said they had not recognised Captain Bartolo's voice and arrangements were yesterday being made to give the families the opportunity to hear the tape again. The Bartolo family also requested that the inquiry keep on trying to obtain the original tape and not just a copy.

    The inquiry then heard Joe Sultana, the chief inspector at the department of aviation, who exhibited the original tapes of Malta air traffic control for both the inbound and outbound flights. He had so far produced the transcripts but not the tapes themselves, the inquiry heard.

    Omar Klebb then took the witness stand, He explained that he had been on the Piper Lance plane on the outbound flight, that is, he had left Malta on the plane and arrived in Tunisia on December 2nd at about 11 pm. Klebb said the first surprise came when the pilot calmly got into the cockpit started the engine and took off.

    There were no preparations, no time between the instant the pilot took his seat until the plane took off.  "I was surprised at how quickly it happened", Klebb said.

    The weather was very bad. Klebb said in fact that the plane hit a thunderstorm and while describing himself as a seasoned traveller, said "it was the worst flight he had ever been on". The instrument panel went blank some 30 minutes into the flight. Someone gave the pilot a lighter to see with because all those little lights went off.

    "I’ve never been so scared in my life. I took all my papers and put them in my chest pocket so that if something happened to me, someone somewhere would be able to identify my body," said Klebb, “We really thought we were going down. In fact, one of the other passengers told me when we landed ‘I think God has given us another  life".

    Klebb said he saw the plane’s alternator belt completely torn on landing and he questioned the pilot about it. He said Bartolo told him he was going to repair it as best he could.

    "I was sitting right at the back of the plane and I couldn't see the cockpit very clearly although it was immediately evident to me when the instrument panel went black", Klebb said.

    He told how he met Mike Williams at the airport waiting to board the next flight. "I lost one off my technicians on that flight. He was there about 11pm when we arrived. I didn't tell him about bad our flight was because I did not want to scare him", said Klebb.

    The inquiry also heard Pierre Galea, who handled the flight and assisted the passengers. Galea said Captain Bartolo gave him a document for the passengers to sign and he returned it to him. Galea claimed he was not aware that the document was in fact a declaration that the flight out of Malta was free of charge.

    He later said he was told that both flights, that is Malta-Djerba and Djerba-Malta, would be free. Then he explained that he assumed the flights were both free because he saw two copies of the same document.

    On a question by the attorney general Galea said he was aware that insurance fraud was a serious offence then said that Captain Bartolo himself told him that the flight back from Tunisia was free of charge.

    Mr Fenech from NCA Maintenance' Services gave technical details on the plane's upkeep. He said the alternator belt had been changed at the last inspection but could not tell the inquiry the exact date because his papers had been confiscated.

    Relative told ‘plane did not go down in water’

    Desmond Boomers father Cormac was then called to the witness stand to explain allegations he made in a letter he wrote to Transport Minister Censu Galea last January.

    Boomer, an Irishman, claimed his government, "knows that the plane did not go down in the water". He also claimed that two people, a soldier and a civilian pilot, had both confirmed that they also believed the plane was not in the water.

    But when asked to reveal the identity of his sources, Boomer said he had been given to understand that the two people had spoken to him confidentially and felt that he was not in a position to divulge them to the inquiry.

    Boomer remained adamant when pressed by the inquiry chairman. Attorney General Dr Anthony Borg Barthet then addressed the inquiry and said Boomer should be made reveal the names because the information he held was not privileged. "If he cannot prove his statements he should not make them". Dr. Borg Barthet said, "this is where the truth should be found, not on talk shows and in the newspapers."

    Boomer then said he was quite prepared to reveal the identity of his sources to the commission privately and at Dr. Borg Barthet’s insistence, under oath. Boomer then told the commission that he already knew that he would not agree with the commission's findings. “But I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. I have made my views publicly known but this does not mean I do not appreciate the work you have done," Boomer said.

    Mr.s Bartolo was then called to the witness stand to corroborate part of Boomers testimony. Boomer had said he met Mrs. Bartolo one time and she had told him she had been warned not to go to Tunisia because she would be shot.

    But what Mrs Bartolo told the commission yesterday was that she had confided to Boomer that a friend of the family had told her she had better not go to Tunisia because if something happened to her, her children would have lost both parents. “I remember saying something along those lines to him. I was referring to a conversation I had had with a trusted family friend, not a person in authority but just someone whose opinion I respect."

    "I never mentioned being shot and I didn’t take my friend’s warning as an indication that he was aware of some threat to my life". Mrs Bartolo also denied she told Boomer she had decided against going to Tunisia because, "if they don’t get me, they will take it out on the prisoners” as Boomer wrote in the letter to the transport minister.

    Mrs Bartolo said she did not understand the reference to prisoners. Asked whether she thought her husband was still alive, she said, “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t”. But whatever her private feelings, Mrs Bartolo said she did not think her husband was being held captive.

    Her daughter Roseanne then told the court how an Egyptian man going by the name of Youssef had threatened to make sure her father, "did not return from his next flight" if he failed to run his (the Egyptian's) flights.

    She explained that Youssef sometimes contracted her father to fly planes to Tunisia. She explained, on a query by the chairman, that she had not reported the threat to the inquiry because a few days after her fathers disappearance she had filed a report at the Zebbug police station.

    Bartolo explained that she took the call from Youssef herself and then called her father in America to report the warning.

    The inquiry continues.

  • Malta Independant Article

    Piper Lance had severe technical problems the day before

    A man who flew aboard the ill-fated Piper Lance aircraft from, Malta to Djerba a day before the plane disappeared, yesterday described the flight as the worst experience of his life.

    Omar Klebb was giving evidence to the board of inquiry set up to investigate the tragedy in which six people are believed to have lost their lives. The Piper Lance left Djerba in Tunisia at around 5am on 3rd December, 1995, with five passengers and the pilot aboard, but never arrived at its destination of Malta Intemational Airport.

    Parts of the wreckage and some belongings of those on board have since been found washed up at sea.

    Although the board of inquiry was set up soon after the plane disappeared. The last time it met was in August of 1997. In yesterdays sitting, Klebb said he was one of three passengers on the light aircraft, which was piloted by Carmelo Bartolo, the day before the incident.

    The flight, Klebb said, had departed late and the weather was not good However, what was more worrying he said was the state of aircraft. At one point during the flight, the aircraft’s control panel went off and the alternator belt developed problems. Klebb said they had continued the flight in the dark, "I had never felt so scared in my whole life." he said. Captain Bartolo, he said, told him that the plane would not be able to make its retum flight to Malta if some repairs were not carried out.

    When they arrived at the airport in Djerba he and Mike Williams, who took the iii-fated return flight to Malta. Klebb said the two had talked about work, but he never discussed the terrible joumey from Malta to Djerba.

    The recording of the conversation between the Tunisian Air traffic Control tower and Captain Bartolo was played yesterday for the first time and showed that contact was lost with the aircraft half an hour after its departure. '

    The Board of inquiry is being led by Dr. Philip Sciberras.

    [This article is incomplete]

  • Letter from Malta Consular Office to Geoff Williams

    FACSIMILE DOCUMENT LEADER

    Consular Division

    FORIEGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

    FAX NUMBER : 071-2704 1134

    Page 1 of 1 Date: 15 Apr 1996

    FROM: Jem Convery TELEPHONE NO: 071 270 4125

    TO : Mr. Geoff Williams
    CC : Mr. Frank Dobson, Heron & Dobson Solicitors

    Dear Mr. Williams

    Further to our earlier conversation, I attach a copy of a news article from the Malta Business weekly as requested.

    Miss Heather Drysdale, our Vlce-Consul, contacted your lawyer, Dr Christian Farrugia for his opinion. Dr Farraugia commented that there was no indication that a link existed between the aircraft's disappearance and the assassination of Fathi Shqaqi. He believed that the disappearance or the aircraft following the assassination was coincidental.

    The Maltese Attorney General told Miss Drysdale that the result of the appeal made by the pilot's family, about the composition of the Public Inquiry Board, should be known by 12 April. We have heard nothing to date. Miss Drysdale will check with the Attorney General’s office again to see lf there are any developments.

    I will, call you when we hear this result. Please contact me on the above number if I can help further. Also note my new address and telephone number at the top of this page.

    Yours Sincerely

    Jem Convery
    Desk Officier
    for Malta

     

     

  • Distress Signal Received From Tripoli

    On 3rd December, 1995, a distress signal coming from a disused airfield east of Tripoli was picked up by satellite compas. signal VHF-2121-5 via Toulouse, whether this signal was launched from the Piper Lance has never been verified.

    A similar related ltem was covered in the Malta Independant Newspaper in December, 1995, translation follows

    Distress Call, whlch was picked up by an aircraft, which was taking part in the search, is the only hope that the family has that they are still alive. That's why they are asking for more information where the call came from.

    The emergency message was picked up by a particular aircraft, 29 hours after the aircraft disappeared, and this hampered the search. From investigation by this newspaper it was confirmed that the distress call was made somewhere close to Tripoli and after the transmission lt stopped transmitting. The Bartolo family are saying that from information they have that the Libyans took 3 hours to find out the "Call" and afterwards they said "Someone hit a swltch" because they have no confirmation that the aircraft crashed, the Bartolo family are connecting the "Distress Call" with their brother, Carmelo's aircraft.

    Distress Signal Received by ComPass Satelitte

  • Protest outside Malta's Embassy in Tripoli

    Protest outside Malta's Embassy in Tripoli

    The Times, Malta

    Wednesday 01 November 1995

    Ramadan Abdatlah Shallah, the man chosen as leader of the anti-Israel group, Islamic Jihad, helped run a controversal US think tank on Islamic affairs, an expert on radical groups. Steven Emerson, the producer of the PBS documentary "Jahad in America" said Shallah was administration director of the World and Islamic studies Enterprise (WISE) that was once associated with the University of South Florida in Tampa. Emerson, who is completing a book on radical Islamic networks, said that WISE was a front for the views of radical Islamic groups and sponsored conferences in which radical fundamental Moslem leaders from Tunisia and the Sudan were featured.

    A spokesman for WISE could not be reached for comment. Noreen Segrest, general counsel for University of South Florida, said that WISE had an agreement with the university starting in March 1992 that was suspended in September 1995 after a newspaper series reported that WISE was posssibly funnelling money to terrorist entities.

    Although the reports were not substantiated by law enforcement they led the university to reassess it's relations with off-campus organisations.
    As a result of that, we don't have a current relationship with WISE, nor do we anticipate entering into another one, Segrest said.

    WISE had previously denied that it was anything more than a think tank on Islamic affairs. Emerson said the group had made presentations at seminars sponsored by the US military. Sources in Islamic Jihad said in Gaza that Shallah 49, was chosen to succeed Fathi Shqaqi as secretary general of the radical group. Shqaqi was assassinated last Thursday in Malta and Islamic Jihad blamed Israel's Mossad secret service for the killing. (Reuter).

    Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin said yesterday he hoped for a reconciliation between the PLO and it's main Moslem militant rival, which he hoped would end "terrorism."

    Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, secretary general of PLO head Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority running Gaza and Jerico, said this month that Hamas had agreed to talks with the PLO at Egypt's invitation, but had not yet set a date. "I very much hope that the Palestinian Authority will reach an agreement with Hamas because for me it is not important how terrorism will be stopped" Rabin told reporters.

    "If it can be stopped as the result of an agreement,the result the result of stopping terrorism is what is important to me", he said. Hamas, which remains implacably opposed to Israel, has killed scores of Israerlis in suicide bomb attacks. But recently it and the PLO have been making noises about reconcilation and the PLO has stepped up contacts with Hamas.

    Hamas is the leading Moslem militent group qmong Palestinians followed by Islamic Jihad, whose Leader Fathi Shqaqi was was killed in Malta last week in an assassination that Islamic Jihad blamed on Israel. Hamas leaders at home and abroad have appeared at odds over how to deal with with the Palestinian Authority as Israel hands over Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank to the PLO.(Reuters).

  • Malta Independent Article - Steve Chetcuti

    Victims families may soon get some answers

    by Steve Chetcuti, January 16th 2000

    Mystery still shrouds the disappearance of the ill-fated Piper Lance which disappeared on 3 December 1995. But the many questions raised by the families of the six men, including pilot Carmel Bartolo, may soon be answered.

    Dr Malcolm Pace, who is representing Captain Bartolo's family, told The Malta Independent on Sunday that the report on the disappearance of the plane prepared by the board of inquiry is expected to be published in the coming days. The board was set up on 4 December 1995, the day after the incident. The commission is chaired by Dr Philip Sciberras and includes Captain Franz Sturmeier and engineer Louis Giordmaina. Meanwhile, the families of the six people who went missing are still waiting for answers.

    Captain Bartolo, 47, from Zebbug, was piloting the aircraft. The passengers were 43 -year-old Philip Farmgia, Matthew Aquilina 22, British national Michael Williams, Tadeus Gorny, a Polish national, and Irishman Desmond Boomer.

    While presenting submissions on behalf of the Bartolo family during a board of inquiry sitting held earlier this week, Dr Pace raised a number of questions on the events which led to the disappearance. He said six distinct possibilities existed to explain the incident, namely

    • the plane never took off
    • was intercepted or hijacked and forced to land elsewhere
    • was sabotaged and exploded in mid-air
    • crashed into the sea after developing an engine fault
    • was hit by lightning in a heavy storm
    • crashed after the pilot was taken ill

    Explaining the possibilities in sequence, Dr Pace told the board of inquiry that no eyewitnesses ever confirmed that the flight had taken off from Djerba. In addition, the battery was not charged enough to start the engine because, it was alleged, the alternator belt had torn on the Malta to Djerba flight.

    The lawyer said there was no evidence that the battery had been put on charge or any requests for maintenance had been made. Claims that the alternator belt could have been changed by the pilot were also improbable as the replacement required special tools as testified by experts, Dr Pace said. Dr Pace said the pilot, or two other passengers, did not call Malta before they left as they had usually done on other occasions. No debris or oil slick was found floating in the sea after the alleged crash, he continued. He said the Malta control centre (CCR) did not contact the Piper and no evidence was produced to suggest any radar contact, civil or military. The voice on a tape-recording of a conversation between the Djerba control centre and the Piper was not even identifed by the family of the captain, Dr Pace said.

    However, Dr Pace said the plane could have been hijacked and the passengers taken hostage in connection with the Fatqi Shqaqi murder which took place in Malta a few months earlier or the Lockerbie Pan Am flight disaster for some future exchange. He said the Piper Lance could have been sabotaged as wreckage found was compatible with that of a mid-air explosion. The damage was also compatible with the plane being hit by lightning as confirmed by Piper experts, he continued. However, it was not typical of Capt. Bartolo, who had 2,200 flight hours under his belt, to fly in precarious weather conditions, the lawyer said.

    Dr Pace said a mechanical or technical fault was also listed as a possibility but the failure to trace the engine did not allow checks to be made. He said the pilot could have been taken ill during the flight but medical certificates were still valid.

    The mystery of the disappeared Piper was not even solved by Paul Lehman, an expert in the field who had identified wreckage as that of the missing plane. In his conclusions, he said the cause of the crash was "indeterminable".

    3 December 1995 04.11 Hrs Last contact with Piper Lance 9H-ABU

    According to Tunisian authorities, the plane reached Malta’s Flight Information Region (FIR) boundary at around 4. l11 am on the ill-fated day, Dr Pace told the board. The authorities insisted that the plane left their territory and disappeared in international waters and the matter was no longer their responsibility which had been transferred to Malta as the country of registration. However, no radio contact was made with the Maltese CCR according to procedure when the plane allegedly entered Maltese FIR, Dr Pace said quoting from testimonies given during the procedures before the board.

    Another curious point, the lawyer said, was that Tunisian authorities had alerted their Maltese counterparts about the incident and not the other way round. The Tunisians had also asked the Maltese if radio contact had been established with the Piper, he continued.

    Considerable delays in SAR

    Dr Pace complained that both local and Tunisian authorities took far too long to start search and rescue operations. In fact, over six hours had elapsed before the SAR operation begun even though the alarm was raised 30 minutes after the approximate time ofthe incident. Concrete steps to implement a SAR operation also took far too long and undoubtedly had far reaching consequences, Dr Pace said. Certain strategic areas could not even be included in the search as the Libyan authorities did not give permission. No Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat, helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft was used during the initial stages and some vital stages ofthe operation.

    Wreckage found by fishermen

    Tunisian fishermen had allegedly found wreckage of the Piper Lance on 20 September 1996 but the Tunisian authorities informed the local authorities and the board only a month after, Dr Pace said. Board members were only allowed to inspect the wreckage a staggering six months later, he continued. The lawyer said the fishermen who found the wreckage had never been identified or brought before the board to testify. Questions were also raised about the veracity of the version given by the Tunisian authorities that the wreckage had just been found.

    Dr Pace said the coins and keys found in a wallet which had allegedly belonged to the captain did not have a great deal of rust on them and another strange point was that the keys were in the wallet although Capt. Bartolo normally kept them separate.

    Tape conversation more delays

    The alleged conversation between the captain and the Tunisian control tower were only handed over to the board after 16 months, Dr Pace said. And this was not the original tape but a copy, he added. The written transcript of the tapes suggested a duration of around 33 minutes but the tape recording lasted only 15 minutes 10 seconds, he said.

    Conclusions

    Dr Pace said the conclusions of the board, from the evidence presented before it, could only be 'inconclusive'. He said various issues pertaining to the case were not convincing and many questions remained unanswered.

  • Letter to Rodney Wood from Cormac Boomer

    36 Riverdale Park North,
    Belfast BT11 9DL

    3rd May, 1999

    Mr. R. C. Wood,
    10 Stakesby Road,
    Whitby North Yorkshire,
    YO21 1HG,
    England.

    Dear Mr. Wood,

    I write to you regarding the disappearance of Piper 9H-ABU you may recall we met at a Sitting of the Board of Enquiry in August 1997.

    The Board has not had a Sitting since then until 22nd April 1999, and I enclose copies of the Malta Times and Independent reports of the proceedings which will give you a flavour of what was discussed, we were very interested in Mr. Klebb's evidence, the content of which confirmed your own experiences on the flight.

    My purpose in writing to you is to seek further details of the flight and it's passengers.

    (a) At what time did the plane leave Luqa Airport
    (b) At what time did the plane arrive in Djerba Airport
    (c) Did you observe any passengers for the return flight in the precincts of the Airport Buildings
    (d) Did the pilot make any comment to you regarding the duration of the repairs required to make the plane mechanically sound for the return trip
    (e) How many passengers were on the flight from Malta to Djerba
    (f) Were you aware or was it conveyed to you that this flight was free gratis. Did you sign any papers to this effect.

    As you will have guessed from the foregoing I am still trying to establish what exactly happened to the plane after it arrived at Djerba, the evidence of the debris does not gell with it having been in the sea for nine months, neither does it's general condition conform with it's having been ripped apart in a 9000ft dive into water.

  • AIr Accidents Investigation Branch Report on ATC Tape

    Dept. of the Environment, Transport and the Reg
    Air Accidents Investigation Branch
    DERA Farnborough
    Hants GU 14 6TD
    Telephone +44 1252 510300

     

    FACSIMILE COVER LETTER
    TO FAX NUMBER:. 00 356 249280
    For the Attention of: Louis Giordimaina. Chief Engineer Air Malta
    FROM: Peter Shepperd DATE: 8 March 1999

    Accident To Piper Archer 9H-ABU

    Please find attached our summary report of the examination of the Djerba ATC copy tape from the above accident. I apologise for it having taken so long. Could you let me know if you want the tape retumecl to you, or if you would l like to come over to discuss the analysis.

    A Mrs. Boomer, who is the widow of one of the passengers and who I understand you know, has contacted me. She was asking if we could let her know in writing that AAIB were examining the copy tape. I indicated that I would have to refer to you in this matter. Could you let me know if there are any objections to this. I suspect that you would prefer to contact her yourself

    Regards

    Peter Sheppard
    Assistant Principal Inspector Of Air Accidents
    Head of Flight Recorder Section

     

    ACCIDENT TO PIPER LANCE 9H-ABU. EN-ROUTE FROM DJERBA TO MALTA ON 3 DECEMBER 1995

    EXAMINATION OF ATC TAPE COPY

    Summary Report on AAIB Assistance to the Maltese Official Investigation

    Prepared By

    Peter F. Sheppard
    Assistant Principal Inspector of Air Accidents
    Head Of Flight Recorded Section

    1. INTRODUCTION
    On 3 December 1995 a Piper Lance was on a flight fiom Dierba to Malta with 5 passengers and 1 crew on board when it disappeared whilst over the Mediterranean sea. There were severe undersiorms in the area at the time. It wasn’t until 2 months later that that some wreckage from the aircraft was brought to the surface by a fishing vessel.

    In December 1998 the Maltese investigating authority requested AAIB to examine a copy ofthe Djerba Air Traffic Control (ATC) recordings of frequency 118.15MHz.

    2. ATC COPY RECORDING
    The ATC copy recording was contained on a standard C60 audio cassette with no time injection recordings. A copy of a the transcript produced by the Djerba authorities containing timing informatio was also handed over as a reference. There were some indications on the copy recording may it may have been produced by means of a microphone positioned in front of a replay loudspeaker, which is not an ideal way to produce a re-recording. However, if this was the case there appeared to be little interference from background noise.

    2.1 Timing
    The transcript implied that the time period covered by the copy recording was approximately 33 minutes. However, the duration of recording on the cassette was only 15min 10sec. This and the fact that there was an unusual transient signal at the start of some of the recorded transmissions, would indicate that the original recording process was voice activated in some way.

    2.2 Audio Examination
    Each transmission from 9H-ABU was examined to determine if there were any unusual sounds or detectable frequencies associated with engine speed. There were no unusual noises on the transmissions apart from the transient signal at the start of some transmissions which appeared to be associated with some form of voice activation of the recording process.

    The only frequencies which could be easily defined were multiples of 27Hz and a frequency of 180Hz, which were also present during the "quiet” periods between transmissions. They therefore cannot be associated with the aircraft. No frequencies which could be related to engine power were detectable.

    The last transmissions from 9H-ABU were very broken with sometimes just the carrier wave being received. This could be an indication that the radio was at the limit of its range, operating under reduced power.or shielded in some way. The second to last broken and unintelligible transmission was acknowledged by the controller with the words "Bravo uniform Roger you change with Malt". This gives the impression that he heard something that was not recorded. This can happen. as often ATC facilities are equipped with duplicated aeriels and receivers, and sometimes the recording is obtained from a different system to that in use by the controller. ln marginal conditions this can lead to one aerial not picking up something heard by the other.

    When a microphone is keyed or unkeyed a unique transient "signature" can be generated on recordings. Such a signature was present at the end of the transmissions from 9H-ABU. Examination of the broken signals at the end ofthe recording also contained transients similar to this. It is therefore almost certain that these broken transmissions were frorn the accident aircraft.

    ln the period from the transmission indicating that the aircraft was at 4000ft the tone of the pilots voice appeared to change slightly and the conversation from him appeared somewhat clipped. The frequency content of the voice was examined and over this period it appears to contain more high frequencies. This could be an indication of some degree of stress or anxiety.

  • Letter from Cormac Boomer to Interpol

    N.C.I.S. Interpol London,
    P.O. Box 8000 Spring Gardens,
    Tinworth Street,
    London SE11 5EN.

    13th September, 1997.


    For attention of : Mr. J. W. Lloyd,

    Your Ref :  D-AG-4C-1362B-96

    Dear Mr. Lloyd,

    Further to my last correspondence of 23rd February, 1997, my on-going search for my missing son Desmond or at least some factual information regarding the nature of the tragedy which befell him and his fellow passengers on 2nd/3rd of December, 1995, has not abated, neither has the fear and apprehension we and the other families endure arising from the indifference of a stop-go lack lustre enquiry in Malta and the deafening silence from the many sources, diplomatic, security, religious, civilian and media, through whose offices we have sought assistance without response or acknowledgement.

    The purpose of this correspondence is to bring to to-date with my own activities during the last nine month and to supply you with documentation and photographs which I trust will be of interest and assistance to your organisation.

    Document A

    This document relates to my visit to Malta on the 14th/15th May, 1997, when I viewed and photographed the debris. My thoughts and opinions are clearly stated.

    Document B

    This is a copy of the (translated) Tunisian Board of Enquiry Report. You will note this report starts with the plane on the runway preparing to take off. There is no comment on what time passengers (if any) checked in, time of boarding etc., no names of officials on duty in the departure area or in the control tower.


    Document C

    An explanation of the photograph evidence.

    Note the volume of debris recovered is very small and specific given the overall size of the plane.

    1. This shows the remains of the instrument panel. The steering column with the right arm missing. The rudder pedals and the control handles for engine, Ailerons and flaps, also depicted is one of the two seat belts recovered.

    2. A close-up of the bottom of the steering column, the accumulation of rust on steel suggest this item was out of the water a very long time, also shown are rudder pedals with name Piper and the control handles.

    3. The control cable and linkage from around the steering column, note, on end of stainless steel cable frayed and bent, the investigator stated this condition occurs when cable is stretched beyond breaking point. The other end suggests a twisted wrung off break. (No explanation why the two ends should differ.)

    4. The landing gear lever/handle, the handle is in one first notch suggesting the landing gear was partially lowered, also depicted are the two seat belts.

    5. Another close-up of rudder pedal and bottom of steering column.

    6. One of the two sets of seat belts and securing fixtures which were ripped from the Floor securing bolts were bent. The belts were stretched, (elongated) beyond belief, you will note the release lever is compressed into and on top of the retaining mechanism. You will also note the name and number plate of the manufacturer together with the control lever previously mentioned.

    7. Aileron Servo Motors, again note the aluminium name plate which shows no sign of salt pigment or corrosion notwithstanding we are asked to believe it was eight months in the brine of the Mediterranean Sea.

    8. Auto Pilot Motor, again note the very good condition of the name plate.

    9. This is part of the main spar with floor carpet in place, this spar is the main section across the body of the plane to which the wings are attached it is positioned directly behind the pilot and co-pilot seats.

    10. The spar with the floor carpet.

    11. Pulled back to reveal No. 80412. This number is the manufacturer's registration for this plane and is inscribed using indelible marker on this component on each plane during the manufacture.

    12. These depict the frames upon which the pilots seats are secured. You will note the retaining brackets are ripped off.

    14. These are the two pieces of fuselage skin from which Mr. Lehman calculated the possible angle of entry of the plane into the sea. It is important to record that these items are totally different to the parts of fuselage depicted in the photographic evidence submitted to the Court in November, 1996.

    15. The item depicted here is the only surviving item from the pilot's instrument panel, it is an indicator light " approximately 2 cm x l cm and it is in perfect working order. (I checked it with instrument and magnifying glass.) Mr. Lehman explained this light indicates that the right side wing tip navigation light is on or off. He explained that had the right hand wing tip light been on when the plane hit the water, this would have caused an electrical short in the light circuit which would have blown the filament in 3D2 bulb. The fact that the filament in the bulb is intact suggests the
    plane was flying without any navigation lights in the on position. 4

    16. These depict the sections to the rear floor area
    17. of the co-pilot's seat.

    18. Another close-up view of 16 and 17. Note the cable
    19. ends, these appear to be snipped or snapped off, generally at the same point. Note there is no sign of stretch which one would expect to find in a ripping apart format.

    20. Is the piece of cloth found amongst the wires in this area.


    Document D

    The most recent sitting of the Court of Enquiry was held on 21st August and I was in attendance. I should be noted that apart from the two day sitting on 14th/15th May these sittings have an average time scale of one and a quarter hours, therefore the number and content of business being dealt with is very limited, end apart from the legal representatives of Carmel Bartolo (the pilot) others representing the various interests seldom ask questions or question the evidence being presented.

    The last occasion there was any debate in the Chamber was in February when I had a head to head with the Chairman and his colleagues about the contradictory nature of the evidence being presented and withdrawn and about their lack of pro-active approach to the investigations of the aviation incident. The Chairman took umbrage at my having requested your organization's assistance and threatened to resign.

    The sitting of 2lst August was attended by a Rodney wood and David Silts who were passengers on the plane 9H-ABU on it's outward flight to Djerba. Mr. Wood repeated his written comments that the plane was in poor condition, he smelt burning rubber, the weather was bad, he was afraid and felt the flight should have been aborted. He saw the pilot pull off the alternator belt which was in a frayed condition.

    Mr. Silts confirmed the condition of the belt and the fact the pilot had it in his hand on the ground in Djerba. He was not as forthcoming about the condition of the plane but  then he is Manager of Maple Libya, the company for whom Desmond and Tad Gorney worked.

    It has also been established this outward flight was free, gratis, (see newspaper report June 1997) but Wood or Silts were not asked to sign any papers to this effect, nor were they told it was a free flight. I later spoke privately to Wood and Silts, Silts confirmed that on arrival as Djerba he met and spoke to Desmond and Tad Gorny in the airport cafe, he informed them the plane required repairs and with bad weather heading towards Djerba their flight would probably be delayed until Sunday, this is the last recorded sighting of Desmond or Tad Gorny.

    Another witness who gave evidence was a Mr. Fenech, Manager of a private company specializing in plane maintenance, his company had serviced 9H-ABU and he expressed surprise at the comments made by Mr. Wood. After the sitting I was in a general discussion with the lawyers representing the pilot’s company, Sun Aviation/Excelair. We were viewing and commenting upon the photographic evidence of the debris, i.e. the photographs I took on l5th May, 1997, (here refer to Nos. 6 - 7 - 8 - 19) Nos. 7 — 8 depict items to which are attached manufacturer‘s name and number plates. These plates are of fine paper thin aluminium shim and I was arguing with the legal representatives that experience indicated to me that these name plates could not have survived 9 months in sea water and still be in a legible condition. The galvanic action induced by salt water on aluminium would corrode these plates to the extent they would no longer exist, neither is there any sign of galvanizing  action on the rudder pedals (No. 2.)


    At this point Mr. Fenech joined the discussions and after studying the photographs he said, "Mr. Boomer you are absolutely correct, those name plates could not have survived in that condition in the sea for 9 months." He informed us that prior to taking up his present post he had been a crash investigator with British Airways, he mentioned a number of air accidents he had been involved in. I took the opportunity to ascertain his views on No. 6, where the seat belt release lever is compressed into the clip mechanism. He said this condition could only have been caused by an explosion, it could not have been caused by the force of water generated by a crash, even from 9000 ft. His opinion of No. l9, the cable ends, he concurred with my opinion that these cable ends appear to have been cut off rather than having been ripped apart in a crash. The ripping apart would be indicated by stretch and pull back of the insulation cover of the cables and the cable ends would be frayed and of different lengths. This is clearly not the case in No. 19. The views expressed by Mr. Fenech while giving some measure of satisfaction, brings us no nearer an explanation or answer to the mystery we face.

    The gentleman from the forensic department who had been requested to examine the pilot’s wallet and contents confirmed the wallet and contents had been in salt water, in my private discussion with him after the sitting he said he found it strange that a business man leaving Tunisia did not carry any Tunisian currency in his wallet, also he was puzzled as to the nature of the pressure that was exerted on the wallet that caused the serial numbers of the American and Italian bank note to be imprinted on each other.

    The most unsettling aspects of our on-going family tragedy are the rumours which surface from time to time from what appears to be respectable reliable sources. These sources (whom I have never met) are in the main business people traveling to and from Libya and North Africa via Malta who obviously keep a discreet ear to the ground.


    One of these contacts whose information was fed to us via the Aqualina family was to the effect the passengers were being held by an anti-government organisation in Libya, the word used was Mafia, who had considered a ransom demand but had decided against for fear of exposure. Sometime later the same source said the missing were being held in an area south west of Bengazi called Zillah. Enquiries indicate there is such a place, that there is an oil company of that name and that BP have a refinery/storage facility in that area, but from the enclosed map you will note there are other places with a similar sounding name. Names of persons who were presumably associated with the kidnapping were Sassan or Bashir and Anmia Caliph and Luftia.

    One of the latest rumours to surface in March 1997 was to the effect that two planes, not one, were involved in whatever operation went down on 3rd December, 1995. This caused me more concern for a while until the penny dropped, that this rumour could possibly be related to Andrew Williams' statement, quote: "We feel you have a right to know your father's plane did not go down in the water, it went down on land and we know where it is."

    The enclosed newspaper cuttings in Italian relate to a group of Sicilian fishermen and their vessel which went missing presumed sunk and drowned early in 1996. They were missing for months before being found by a British Consulate Official from home who was in Libya on official business. The men were "discovered" in a jail in Bengazi and were released without charge. When their story broke in Malta the Aqualina family flew to Sicily to interview them and show them photographs of the missing passengers. They told of being in four different prisons during their captivity and each jail housed around 1200 prisoners, they did not recognise anyone from the photographs but said they had seen a number of light coloured people in the jails they were held in.

    The interesting tailpiece to this story is that these men were discovered by accident by a British Diplomat attached to the British Embassy in Rome. The Diplomat's name is Mr. Kevin McKole and we understand he heads the British Diplomatic Mission to Libya. The Aqualina family have spoken with Mr. McKole and he indicated he would be willing to help but he would need instructions through official channels.

    To this end the families of the missing have lodged an official request through our respective government departments that Mr. McKole's assistance be sought in this matter but to date we have not had any feedback.


    In June of this year I was informed that the missing pilot's wife had been warned to stay out of Tunisia or if she went there she would be shot, my source said this information came to him from the pilot's wife herself. During my informal discussions on 2lst August in Malta with the pilot's family lawyer who is claiming the plane 9H-ABU was sabotaged, i.e. damaged alternator belt and control panel wiring, I made the point of drawing the pilot's wife into our discussions, she stated me to that in an unspecified period prior to 2nd December 1995 her husband Carmelo had received threatening phone calls on his life, she said she did not know why he should have been threatened but that like her legal representative she believes her husband's plane had been sabotaged prior to the outward flight. She then proceeded to tell me that her own life had been threatened, it had been conveyed to her by a source she obviously trusts, that she was "to stay out of Tunisia," if she went there she would be shot. Quote: "It’s a risk I cannot take because if they don’t get me they will take it out on the prisoners”

    This last comment shook me for a number of reasons, first Djerba is the last place any of the passengers were seen, second there is no record of Desmond, Farrugia or Williams having stayed in any of the 80 hotels in Djerba. Matthew Aqualina would normally have stayed in the Djerba Plaza, one of the better class hotels and it is only recently the Tunisian Authorities have in their report produced a document which shows Gorny and Aquilina stayed in the Hadji Hotel with Bartolo, the pilot, but the dates on Bartolo's document are different from the others.

    There is also the question why Desmond and Tad Gorny should separate given they worked for the same company and would have much in common to while away their time, Matthew Aqualina would have been a stranger to Gorny and in any event his pattern of stop over had been well established including his phone calls home.

    On the evening of 2nd December 1995, he phoned home on 5 occasions. The last call at 9.30 p.m. Malta time. Desmond's phone call home was at a similar time, thereafter there is no verbal or written evidence of them having been seen.

    I asked Mrs. Bartolo if she believed the passengers were being held in Tunis rather than Libya, she answered with a positive yes, strangely her response conforms with my own long held suspicions on this case and for that reason I was less surprised that I otherwise should have been.  I endeavoured to ascertain from her what course of action she was considering in the light of the warning and why she believed the missing were prisoners in Tunisia, she became hesitant and a little wary before our discussions were interrupted by her lawyer.

    So from the foregoing you will I trust readily understand our state of mind and the fluctuations of hope and despair we now experience in our daily lives. This is the state of play at time of writing, my impression of the Court of Enquiry is that it appears to be marking time, for what reason I do not know nor could I hazard a guess.

    I enclose a copy of a feature article which appeared in the Malta Independant on 28th August 1997, having read it's contents I am of the opinion that where Middle East and N.A.T.O. politics collide all incidents are possible and believable.

    I trust the enclosed documentation, observations and comments will be of assistance to you and your organisation. We would appreciate any light or information you could impart which would assist us in our quest. It is important you be assured that any information conveyed to me including the source would be treated in strictest confidence as befits a former Civil Servant to whom the Official Secrets Act still applies.

    Many thanks.

    Yours sincerely,

     

     

    Cormac Boomer

  • Shqaqi's assaasins may have left Malta on private plane

    Shqaqi's assaasins may have left Malta on private plane

    by : Sharon Spiteri

    The Times, Malta : November 9th 1995

    Shqaqis assassins left malta on private planeThe police have received information from Interpol detailing how the assassins of`an Islamic Jihad leader killed in Malta last month left the island, Police sources told The Times the information was sent on Monday night but would not reveal the contents of the message For security reasons.

    But other sources said the police were working on the theory that the men left; the `island on board a private plane hired from a local company and flown by 1 Maltese pilot.

    Fathi Shqaqi. 43. was shot in the head tive times at close range just after 1:00pm last October 26th. The police know of two killers, who rode up to their victim on a blue Yamaha found in Manwel Dimech Street, Sliema five minutes away from the scene of the crime in Tower Road.

    What is still very unclear and what police have so far refused to say is whether they have established how the killers got from Manwel Dimech Street to the airport.The smartly dressed Islamic Jihad leader was at first identified as a Libyan passport holder bearing the name Ibrahim Ali A. Shawesh.

    Meanwhile, sources at the Palace Tower said they were still not expecting a ferry from Libya after the daily crossing was suspended on October 31,

  • Translation of article in Il-Gens

    TRANSLATION OF ARTICLE IN IL-GENS

    4th DECEMBER 1998

    QUESTIONS ON THE PIPER LANCE

    BY CARMEL ATTARD

    Headline from il-gens newspaperThree years ago yesterday five men that had boarded a small plane with one engine went missing together with the pilot during a flight from Djerba to Malta. On the plane Piper PA32 Lance registered in Malta at the company Sun Aviation.

    There was the Pilot Carmel Bartolo, Desmond boomer and Michael Williams. At the time of the flight there was a big storm. For some reason probably because the alternator belt got torn off the engine the plane went down in the sea with the people and all. Small remains of the aircraft were found by some Tunisian fisherman and were examined by an expert from the Piper Inc. who confirmed that they were of the piper lance. The pilot and the passengers were not found.

    The disappearance of the plane brought up various theories as to what could have happened on that day. During witnessing in the court hearing by the board of inquiry it was stated that that days flight was a free one. The managing director of Unique Travel had witness that because of Excelair Service Ltd to which was leased the piper lance of sun aviation was not doing well at all. The pilot Carmel Bartolo offered a free flight. Bartolo was also the owner of Sun Aviation and also of Excelair.

    Excelair had a license for fee paying passengers, sun aviation did not from statistics published every year by malta international airport Ltd. Sun Aviation was increasing its flights and also the number of passengers that it carried. In 1994 Sun Aviation worked 189 flights and carried 502 passengers on the piper lance with one engine. Up to what  is know the board of inquiry did not inquire if these flights had also been given free as was stated by the managing director of unique travel.

    In the MIA statistics from 1995 Sun Aviation is not listed although it was still operating. A spokesman from MIA had told me that the flights of Sun Aviation were included with those of Excelair that had done 1231 flights and had carried 4135 passengers. It would be interesting if the board of inquiry how many of these flight has been done by the name of Excelair. Sun aviation was to do private flights and use its registration name as a call sign. Excelair because it had a license to work air taxi servcies it use to use the anme of the company and the number of the flight as is done by normal airlines.

    The civil aviation authority of united kingdom does not let airplanes with one engine fly on a long flight over the sea with passengers that pay for this flight The CAA makes it very clear that a small aircraft with one engine has to fly on the flight that has an alternative airport where it can glide if the engines stops functioning.

    It would be interesting to hear the version of the department of aviation regarding those of flights that took place from the airport of Malta. It would also be interesting to find out what type of surveillance is done that regulations both international and local are checked and observed.

  • Letter From Irish Consulate to Cormac Boomer

    AN ROINN GNOTHAI EACHTRACHA

    Department of Foreign Affairs
    BAILE ATHA CLIATH 2
    Dublin 2

    14 December 1995

    Mr. Cormac Boomer
    36 Riverdale Park North
    Belfast
    BT11 9DLL

    Dear Mr. Boomer,

    I would like to pass on my condolences to your family at this difficult time.

    Please find attached copies of correspodence received from the Irish Honorary Cosul to Malta and a transript of my telephone conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Vassallo as requested.

    I have asked the Embassy of Ireland in London to contact the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for details on the British national on board the flight, Mr. Michael Williams.

    I will keep you updated with any information we receive. If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

     

    Niamh Ryan
    Consular Services

    Note for File

    I spoke to Lieutenant Colonel Vassallo, co-ordinator of the search at the Operations Centre of the Maltese Armed Forces. The official search was called off on Friday evening after no trace had been found. According to the Lieutenant Colonel they left no stone unturned during the search which included personnel and equipment from Malta, United States, Italy, Libya and Tunisia. The accident happened on the border of Tunisian and Maltese airspace and the searchers were given permission to check inside Libyan and Tunisian waters. The family of the pilot own a small aviation company and they continued the search with two aircraft on Sunday. The Maltese operation centre co- ordinated this search and lent military observers to the family.

    If the plane went down near the coast it would be easier to find although there are many ship wrecks in that area. The Lieutenant Colonel believes that the plane may have gone down just inside Tunisian airspace. The last message received from the aircraft was 10 minutes before it was due to enter Maltese air space but it never appeared on Maltese radar. Therefore if the aircraft is within Tunisian waters the search should be taken up the Tunisian authorities.

    Niamh Ryan
    12 December 1995

     

     

  • Shqaqi's Body Flown To Damascus

    Shqaqis body flown to damascusShqaqi's Body Flown To Damascus

    Issam Hamza

    November 01 1995

    The body of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shqaqi, was flown to Damascus yesterday and was met by the new head of the radical Palestinian group.

    Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, making his first appearance after his appointment to replace Shqaqi, was at Damascus airport with other militant Palestinian leaders to pay respects, Shqaqi’s coffin, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, was taken from the chartered Tunisian aircraft to a Damascus hospital where it will stay until the funeral today.

    The bearded Shallah has made no statement since Sunday, when he was declared new leader of Islamic Jihad, which is bent on destroying Israel and torpedoing Israel-PLO peace moves. Islamic Jihad has carried out a series of suicide bombings in which scores of Israelis have been killed. Shqaqi was gunned down in Malta while he was on his way to Damascus from Libya, where he sought to persuade Libyan leader Muammar Gaddaii to withdraw his decision to expel thousands of Palestinians.

    Israel. restricted the movements of nearly two million Palestinians in the self-ruled Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank on Monday, fearing attacks by Islamic Jihad to avenge the killing of its leader. The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine accused lsrael’s Mossad secret service of gunning down Shqaqi, 43.

    Israel declined to say whether it carried out the shooting but called Shqaqi a murderer. At Damascus airport yesterday were Ahmed Jibril, chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), Colonel Abu Musa, leader ofthe Fatah Uprising who was with Shqaqi in Libya, and Talal Nagi, deputy PFLP-GC chief who was also in Libya.

    Shqaqi‘s wife, Fathiya, and other relatives were at the airport. Fathiya Shqaqi, dressed in a long mauve robe, and other Palestinian women, shouted "Death to Israel", "Death to America", and "Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)" as the cofiin was taken to the hospital.

  • Letter from Cormac Boomer to Don Mullan

    36 Riverdale Park North
    Belfast BT11 9DL,
    Northern Ireland.
    16th July, 1999.

    Mr. Don Mullan,
    Dublin 12.

    Dear Don,

    At the outset I wish to record my pleasure that a Journalist and author of your status has taken an interest in our family tragedy.

    From your discussions with Cecelia you will be aware that from the outset we have come up against an Official and Diplomatic wall of silence, in fact it has been stated to me by a source I can trust, quote: "The diplomatic wall of silence surroundingthis incident is built so high it is almost as if the incident never occurred."

    In putting together background information I have taken the following from my files, they are numbered in sequence with comments and explanations.

    1. Report from Times Malta, 26th June l999.

    2. My final submission to the Court of Enquiry.

    3. My Affidavit duly authorised. This information was first presented to the Chairman of the Enquiry privately in August 1996. It is no exaggeration to state that he very angrily threw it back in my face, he has steadfastly refused to accept or address it, hence the Affidavit.

    4. Is my first official contact/report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin.

    5. Communications received from Foreign Affairs during the period of the search.

    6. This is a copy of a Manifest by fax supplied by Tunisia Djerba in response to request by Malta Department of Civil Aviation for details of passengers supposed to be on board the missing plane, not very official or professional by Tunisian standards.

    7. Details from local papers. Ref: Shaqaqi's assassination and subsequent information from Internet, March l996.

    8. An extract from Malta paper highlighting the failure of Malta Department of Civil Aviation to enforce international safety regulations, it is no accident that the international body (Regulator) lists Malta on the same level as African countries.

    9. From the Malta Times - The content confirmed our growing suspicions of an official cover-up.

    10. From the Malta Independent, this information has never been addressed by the Court.

    11. Again this matter has never been addressed by the Court of Enquiry.

    12. Letter from Rodney Wood re experiences on outbound flight on Saturday 2nd December 1995. I was present in Court when he repeated the content of the letter. I later spoke to him and Mr. Silts, another passenger, they confirmed the incident of the alternator belt, Silts informed me that he spoke to Desmond and Tad Gorny in the airport coffee shop, the last time they were seen.

    13. The Preface of this document was written two hours prior to the Sitting of the Court.

    14. This document relates to Page 1 of Document 13, no questions or comment was ever made by the Chairman or Legal Representatives regarding it's content.

    15. From this document you will note that to effect repairs, i.e. replace the altinator belt the propeller has to be removed (not a two minute job.)

    16. This section contains a transcript (translated) of the Tunisian Investigation which was completed on 18th December 1995, you will note the conflict of take off times stated (note Malta and Tunisia are in the same time zone.)

    17. This ia a compilation of theories and questions put together by Daniel and I in December 1998 and a detailed sequence of events up to May 1999.

    18. The Bartolo letter. Ref: EuroJet Ltd.

    19. The reporter picked this up wrong, this statement relates to a statement made to me by a Warrant Officer of the Malta Armed Forces who stated he was on duty the morning of the incident. I have his name and address which conformed to my satisfaction, similarly the Civilian Flyer I would like to discuss the details with you.

    20. These are extracts from Religious Publications printed in Malta.

  • The Times Malta - Pilot had offered Free Flights

    Piper Lance inquiry

    Pilot had offered free flight - witness

    Sharon Spiteri : June 6th 1996

    The pilot on board the light plane which went missing on its way here from Djerba decided to fly passengers to and from Tunisia for free a few hours before he left Malta, the inquiry heard yesterday.

    The revelation came as the managing director of Unique Travel took the witness stand to explain how he and Carmel Bartolo had an arrangement to fly Libyan oil rig workers to and from Malta. Richard Tua claimed the agreement was verbal and had nothing in writing to show for it except billing invoices. He gave details before the inquiry chaired by Dr. Philip Sciberras with Captain Franz Sturmeir and engineer Luis Giordmaina yesterday afternoon.

    The inquiry is examining the evidence in a bid to get to the facts surrounding the disappearance of the single engined Piper Lance plane piloted by Carmel Bartolo and carrying passengers Philip Farrugia, Matthew Aqualina, Michael Williams, Desmond Boomer and Tadeuz Gorny on December 3rd 1995. Tua said his company's services were sought by other companies employing people on Libyan oil rigs to make their transport arrangements since Libya’s air space was affected by sanctions. He said he had been chartering Bartolo’s plane for about 20 months before the incident. On December 2nd at about 4:30pm he turned up at his office and told him he wished to make the round trip to Djerba for free.

    Tua said he was not really surprised at the request because had been going through a bad patch and "the rumour was that he was going to lose everything". "When I asked him the reason for the free flight, he told me he wanted to reintroduce the service because he had not been flying for a couple of weeks", Tua said. Bartolo had also prepared papers declaring that the flight was to be complimentary and asked Tua to hand it to the passengers to sign, the witness said.

    The witness was rapped by board members who remarked at the way he managed his affairs. "I find it very unethical that you knew this company was going through problems and yet you let these go on", engineer Louis Gordmaina told Tua. "Are you a responsible operator?" Did Maple (the company who contracted Unique Travel for travel arrangements) know Excelair had problems", Tua was asked. The managing director replied that Maple knew of the problems and had told him that if they were not solved he would have to seen some other service. He admitted his clients complained at times. "Did you know he was going to use the Piper Lance?", Tua was asked. "Yes I was aware of it," he replied. "Then you both knew what you were doing"

    "So you chartered the plane? If Bartolo met someone in Djerba, say, could he just take him up on the plane or was he meant to tell you?" "Technically he had to ask us to carry passengers" Tua said. "But you had four passengers on your list. And five were on the plane", it was pointed to him. The fifth passenger was Philip Farrugia. "The fifth passenger was not meant to travel on that flight. He was not on the manifest", Tua admitted.

    Raymond Micallef, who sometimes helped out Bartolo, told how he volunteered his services out of enthusiasm for free. He said private pilot license but was hoping to get his commercial. Micallef said he had suggested to the use of the Excelair to his employers, MedServe, sometime in 1992 or 1993. Excelair had offered him a job but he never piloted the Piper Lance. Captain Richard Day, who was Excelair’s chief pilot for a time, said he thought Bartolo's flight skills were of a reasonable standard for the level of flying he was doing. Day's employee was terminated early in October 1995 but he was able to give a few details about Excelairs flying practices.

    Patrick Cessar from the Foreign Affiars Ministry said a second formal request for the a copy of the tape recording the conversation between Bartolo and Tunisian Air Traffic Control was made on May 8. He said no progress had been registered so far on Malta's request for Tunisia to hand over a copy of the tape and to allow the original tape to be sent for analysis at a scientific laboratory.

    Joseph Aqualina, Matthews father, recognised his sons signature on a Tunisian hotel check-in slip.

    The inquiry continues.

  • Geoff Williams Affidavit Sent to Board of Enquiry

    17, Whitehart Close,
    Liverpool, L4 6UT
    England.
    15th July 1999.

    The Board of Enquiry,
    Courts of Justice,
    Valleta,
    Malta

    Reference; Aviation Incident - The Reported Loss - Disappearance of a Piper Lance Aircraft Reg. No. 9H ABU. enroute from Djerba Tunisia to Malta on the morning of 3rd December 1995.


    Dear Sirs,

    My Affidavit has been prepared and l trust it will assist the members ofthe Board of Enquiry. My brother Michael Williams, was reported to have been a passenger on that aircraft.

    Andrew Williams, my nephew,was at that time a serving officer in HM Royal Navy, on hearing of the incident and his father’s disappearance he obtained leave to travel to Malta, with his sister and was there during the period of the search for the missing aircraft and it’s passengers. On the 12th December 1995 he rang me and during our conversation he imparted the following information.

    On that day he had been in a Govermnent building where he met a Maltese public figure believed to be a Dr. Philip Scibberas who took him into an office. He told a number of staff to leave the room, and when alone in the office, this public figure made the following statement, "We feel you have the right to know your father’s plane did not go down in the water, it went down on land and we know where it is."

    Andrew then asked the following questions.

    Q. How do you know where it is .
    A. Our surveillance systems monitored its distress signal for several hours after it was reported missing.
    Q. If it is on land is it inTunisia.
    A. No.
    Q. Then is it in Libya.
    A. It is on the ground in Tripoli, now let me make it clear if you repeat this conversation to anyone outside this room, I will deny that I ever made such a Statement.

    Further to this, I know Andrews sister Julie was present with him in the government building and that she was there when Andrew was taken into the office. Julie was not allowed into the office but has confirmed that a number of staff did leave the office, and that Andrew was alone with the gentleman. I also know that Julie has confirmed this with Mr. Cormac Boomer.

    On the 15th December 1995, I contacted the Boomer family in Belfast, during our conversationl conveyed the above information to Mr. Cormac Boomer.

    I find it also very hard to accept that my statement seems, from my point of view, to have been ignored by the Board of Enquiry, in the past. When you consider it was the subject of a press campaign in Malta in September 1996, and also given to Scotland Yard Investigators in 1997.

    Over the past three and a half years I have been in contact with Mr. Cormac Boomer and Ms. Pelligrini Petit, and I would fully endorse their statements.  I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the members of the Board of Enquiry.

    Yours sincerely,

    Geoff Williams Signed Affidavit

  • The Times Malta - Piper Lance inquiry inconclusive

    THE TIMES, THURSDAY NOVEMBER 28, 1996

    Piper Lance inquiry inconclusive

    By Carmel Attard

    The inquiry into the disappearance of a Maltese-registered light plane with six persons on board on a flight from Tunisia stands adjourned sine die, leaving a number of unanswered questions on what had actually happened.

    The chairman of the board of inquiry, Dr Philip Sciberras, was clear in the first sitting when he stated that a lack of hard evidence such as wreckage would make it difficult for the inquiry to establish what caused the disappearance of the aircraft on December 3 of last year.

    Last October the Ministry of Transport was informed that three weeks earlier a Tunisian fisherman had brought up some debris from the aircraft and a wallet belonging to the pilot, Carmel Bartolo.

    Searches by the AFM proved negative. During the inquiry several shortcomings were brought to light, not only in the way the Tunisian authorities handled the whole affair but also in the manner with which the accident was tackled by the Maltese Department of Civil Aviation.

    The least one can now expect is a list of recommendations to ensure that the Civil Aviation Department in Malta will see to it that loopholes identified in the process would be remedied. There seem to be grey areas in the checking of private aircraft operations; the way a red alert is called and coordinated and the certification of pilots.

    The inquiry has also indicated that there are too many responsibilities placed on a single person, the Director of Operations, That is neither fair on the person concerned nor on the safety of air operations. The DCA has a duty to inform the general public of the lessons learnt from this unfortunate accident and the remedies being made.


    Hand written Letter from Denis CaruanaThis newspaper article was sent to Cormac Boomer by AFM Warrant Officer Denis Caruana.

    Denis also sent a copy of the anniversary notice for Matthew Aqualina that the Aqualina family had published, it read,

    "A year has gone by and we constantly pray that you and fellow passengers and crew on the Piper Lance are safe
    following its tragic and mysterious disappearance.

    You are always in our thoughts and prayers and we hope we have yet to embrace you dearest Matthew"

    Denis Caruana included a touching hand written letter to Cormac Boomer promising to forward any mention of the disappearance in teh Maltese newspapers.

  • Court hears pilots last words on ATC tape

    Court hears Bartolo’s last words on air traffic control tape

    By Sharon Spitteri

    THE TIMES FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 1999

    Piper Lance inquiry

    Three and a half years after the setting up of a commission of inquiry to look into the disappearance of a missing Piper Lance plane with six men on board, the prospect of a conclusion yesterday became a tangible likelihood rather than a remote possibility,

    Inquiry chairman Philip Sciberras told lawyers convening for a hearing after 18 months of silence that he was scheduling only another two sittings before calling for submissions with a view to a conclusion.

    The commission was set up on December 4, 1995, a day after the disappearance of the   registered 9H-ABU on its Way to Malta from Djerba,

    On the plane piloted by Captain Carmel Bartolo, 47, of Zebbug were Philip Farmgia, 43; Matthew Aquilina, 22; Briton Michael Williams; Irishman Desmond Boomer and Pole Gorny Tadeuz.

    The commission, with members Captain Franz Sturmeier and Engineer Louis Giordmaina met for the first time on January 3, 1996. Before yesterday, the inquiry had last convened in August 1997. The chairman yesterday exhibited a lot of correspondence received since the last sitting. One of the exhibits was a report by a British unit investigating air accidents after an analysis of the Tunisian air traffic control tape.

    The conclusions of the report were not made available to the press on the pretext that the families should be given a chance to see the report before its conclusions hit news stands.
    Meanwhile the inquiry yesterday heard the tape in open court. The tape allegedly records Captain Bartolo's last words to Tunisian air traffic control.

    But the Bartolo family through their solicitor said they had not recognised Captain Bartolo's voice and arrangements were yesterday being made to give the families the opportunity to hear the tape again. The Bartolo family also requested that the inquiry keep on trying to obtain the original tape and not just a copy.

    The inquiry then heard Joe Sultana, the chief inspector at the department of aviation, who exhibited the original tapes of Malta air traffic control for both the inbound and outbound flights. He had so far produced the transcripts but not the tapes themselves, the inquiry heard.

    Omar Klebb then took the witness stand, He explained that he had been on the Piper Lance plane on the outbound flight, that is, he had left Malta on the plane and arrived in Tunisia on December 2nd at about 11 pm. Klebb said the first surprise came when the pilot calmly got into the cockpit started the engine and took off.

    There were no preparations, no time between the instant the pilot took his seat until the plane took off.  "I was surprised at how quickly it happened", Klebb said.

    The weather was very bad. Klebb said in fact that the plane hit a thunderstorm and while describing himself as a seasoned traveller, said "it was the worst flight he had ever been on". The instrument panel went blank some 30 minutes into the flight. Someone gave the pilot a lighter to see with because all those little lights went off.

    "I’ve never been so scared in my life. I took all my papers and put them in my chest pocket so that if something happened to me, someone somewhere would be able to identify my body," said Klebb, “We really thought we were going down. In fact, one of the other passengers told me when we landed ‘I think God has given us another  life".

    Klebb said he saw the plane’s alternator belt completely torn on landing and he questioned the pilot about it. He said Bartolo told him he was going to repair it as best he could.

    "I was sitting right at the back of the plane and I couldn't see the cockpit very clearly although it was immediately evident to me when the instrument panel went black", Klebb said.

    He told how he met Mike Williams at the airport waiting to board the next flight. "I lost one off my technicians on that flight. He was there about 11pm when we arrived. I didn't tell him about bad our flight was because I did not want to scare him", said Klebb.

    The inquiry also heard Pierre Galea, who handled the flight and assisted the passengers. Galea said Captain Bartolo gave him a document for the passengers to sign and he returned it to him. Galea claimed he was not aware that the document was in fact a declaration that the flight out of Malta was free of charge.

    He later said he was told that both flights, that is Malta-Djerba and Djerba-Malta, would be free. Then he explained that he assumed the flights were both free because he saw two copies of the same document.

    On a question by the attorney general Galea said he was aware that insurance fraud was a serious offence then said that Captain Bartolo himself told him that the flight back from Tunisia was free of charge.

    Mr Fenech from NCA Maintenance' Services gave technical details on the plane's upkeep. He said the alternator belt had been changed at the last inspection but could not tell the inquiry the exact date because his papers had been confiscated.

    Relative told ‘plane did not go down in water’

    Desmond Boomers father Cormac was then called to the witness stand to explain allegations he made in a letter he wrote to Transport Minister Censu Galea last January.

    Boomer, an Irishman, claimed his government, "knows that the plane did not go down in the water". He also claimed that two people, a soldier and a civilian pilot, had both confirmed that they also believed the plane was not in the water.

    But when asked to reveal the identity of his sources, Boomer said he had been given to understand that the two people had spoken to him confidentially and felt that he was not in a position to divulge them to the inquiry.

    Boomer remained adamant when pressed by the inquiry chairman. Attorney General Dr Anthony Borg Barthet then addressed the inquiry and said Boomer should be made reveal the names because the information he held was not privileged. "If he cannot prove his statements he should not make them". Dr. Borg Barthet said, "this is where the truth should be found, not on talk shows and in the newspapers."

    Boomer then said he was quite prepared to reveal the identity of his sources to the commission privately and at Dr. Borg Barthet’s insistence, under oath. Boomer then told the commission that he already knew that he would not agree with the commission's findings. “But I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. I have made my views publicly known but this does not mean I do not appreciate the work you have done," Boomer said.

    Mr.s Bartolo was then called to the witness stand to corroborate part of Boomers testimony. Boomer had said he met Mrs. Bartolo one time and she had told him she had been warned not to go to Tunisia because she would be shot.

    But what Mrs Bartolo told the commission yesterday was that she had confided to Boomer that a friend of the family had told her she had better not go to Tunisia because if something happened to her, her children would have lost both parents. “I remember saying something along those lines to him. I was referring to a conversation I had had with a trusted family friend, not a person in authority but just someone whose opinion I respect."

    "I never mentioned being shot and I didn’t take my friend’s warning as an indication that he was aware of some threat to my life". Mrs Bartolo also denied she told Boomer she had decided against going to Tunisia because, "if they don’t get me, they will take it out on the prisoners” as Boomer wrote in the letter to the transport minister.

    Mrs Bartolo said she did not understand the reference to prisoners. Asked whether she thought her husband was still alive, she said, “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t”. But whatever her private feelings, Mrs Bartolo said she did not think her husband was being held captive.

    Her daughter Roseanne then told the court how an Egyptian man going by the name of Youssef had threatened to make sure her father, "did not return from his next flight" if he failed to run his (the Egyptian's) flights.

    She explained that Youssef sometimes contracted her father to fly planes to Tunisia. She explained, on a query by the chairman, that she had not reported the threat to the inquiry because a few days after her fathers disappearance she had filed a report at the Zebbug police station.

    Bartolo explained that she took the call from Youssef herself and then called her father in America to report the warning.

    The inquiry continues.

  • Letter to Director General Of Civil Aviation, Tunisia

    DIPARTIMENT TA L-AVJAZZJONI CIVILI
    AJRUPORT TA'HAL-LUQA
    MALTA

    CIVIL AVIATION DEPARTMENT
    LUQA AIRPORT
    MALTA
    Our Ref.  DCA/TNV/222
    Your Ref.
    Tel: 249170
    Tlx: 1654 CAMLT MW
    FAx: 356 239278

     

     

     

     

    6 June 1996

    Mr M Taieb
    Director General
    Civil Aviation
    Tunisia

    Dear Sir

    INCIDENT INVOLVING PA32, 9H-ABU ON 3 DECEMBER 1995

    1. I would like to inform you that a public inquiry has begun in Malta to investigate the circumstances leading to the disappearance of the above mentioned aircraft.

    2 The Board of Inquiry has been presented with the copy of the transcript of the communications between the aircraft and Djerba ATC which you kindly transmitted to me by fax on 8 December 1996. The Board has instructed me to make enquiries with you as to:

    (a) whether the tape recordings of the communication between the aircraft at Djerba ATC are still available;
    (b) and whether a copy of these tape recordings could be made available to the Board.

    3 The Board has furthermore instructed me to seek through you a testimony under oath and confirmed by a Commissioner for Oaths from the aerodrome controller who was on duty when the said aircraft departed from Djerba. In particular the testimony should confirm that the controller had witnessed the departure of the aircraft 9H-ABU from Djerba Airport on 3 December 1995. It would also be appreciated if the statements under oath are obtained from other persons who could have witnessed the departure of the said aircraft from Djerba.

    4 I would also request you to transmit to me a copy of the report of investigations which the Tunisian Authorities have carried out on the incident, if such a report is available.

    Whilst I take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance and cooperation, I would appreciate to have an early reply.

    Yours faithfully

    S.V. FENECH
    DIRECTOR GENERAL
    CIVIL AVIATION

  • Translation of article in Lehen Is-Sewwa

    TRANSLATION OF ARTICLE IN LEHEN IS-SEWWA

    The Shadow Of Djerba

    Saturday 22nd August 1998

    There is a very heavy shadow on something that happened between Djerba and Malta. It would be beneficial to all that the quicker we find out the truth the better.

    Because of the sanctions of the United Nations on Libya. The flights between Malta and Libya stopped. These flights stopped also from all countries in the United Nations and that want to obey the punishment that was agreed between the United Nations until Libya speaks up about the allegations against her about the dropping of the American plane over Lockerbie on its way to America from Frankfurt Germany. There were rumours that a bomb left Malta on an air Malta pane but till today nobody was to prove this.

    Libya is therefore deprived from any flight servcies provided by air companies. There is only a service by vessel between Malta and Libya. When the Libyans provide this for their needs. Things like this leave a wave of headaches and problems.

    Whoever wants to arrive in Libya or leave Libya has to take the road to Egypt or to Tunisia but first making a journey by car and after takes a plane. In Libya there are a lot of people woking, some in oil companies and some in other. If you are in a camp in the desert you will be very anxious to leave when you are free. To provide air servcies some Maltese know how to fly small aircraft started operating from the airport of the island of Djerba. Tunisia and taking passengers that wanted to reach Malta quickly or leave Malta to go to Libya.

    Everything was functioning well until something very sad happened. The plane that is said to have left Djerba, was lost on its way to Malta. There were various rumours of how and why this plane was lost. Some came out with a story that the alternator belt of the engine was torn apart when the plane was on its way to Djerba from Malta. Some say that there could be something that happened in the air between Djerba and Malta. Some say that the Tunisians pertend to be deaf in order to leave the maltese commission listen to the words of the Tunisian officials and the Maltese pilot on his way to Malta. Some say that during the flight from Djerba airport to Malta there was not enough agreement and also in order to be able to keep an eye on what was going on until it arrived in Malta and therefore we found out to late.

    From info that arrived to the Maltese public it shows that the Tunisian authorities are playing deaf or have helped half heartedly. Strange that a serious Maltese pilot and of great integrity and who would want to cotinue doing these private fight would forget to check his alternator belt before leaving to return to Malta. It says the Tunisians to give all the help.

    This is like the case of Milena Bianchi the Italian girl who disappeared after leaving the house where she was living in Tunisia. At first the Tunisian authorities could not give any help on info about her disappearance and gave the impression that maybe the girl wanted to get away from here parents and was hiding from them or also maybe returned to Italy without wanting anyone to find her. But the parents were very upset about all this and went to Tunisia. They searched and put pressure on the Italian ambassador and the Italian television kept mentioning Milena Bianchi. When rumours started going aroud that it was not advisable for Tourists to go to Tunisia the Tunisian authorities understood that this would affect them. The Tunisian police suddenly found her killer. So after all it was possible to find her. Tunisia should also keep watch on her shores about Tunisians carrying people to Lampedusa, Pantelleria and the rest of Siciliy and these to find better living in Italy or any other country in Euope.

    Malta also sends a lot of tourists to Tunisia and Maltese are spending money in Tunisia. It woul also pay Tunisia to help as she would benefit also from the oil exploration. These things do not do much good to anyone when things like this happen

  • Article By Sharon Spiteri on Assassination of Fathi Shqaqi

    Assassination of ShqaqiAssassination of Fathi Shqaqi

    Security measures not enough to protect him

    By : Sharon Spiteri

    November 01 1995

    Libya has been accused of trying to distance itself from last Thursdays murder of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shqaqi and blamed for not providing enough security to protect him.

    Reuters quote a senior Palestinian official saying,"We do not wish to hold the Libyans responsible for brother Shqaqis assassination but the security measures they made were not enough to protect him.”

    “It looks as though the Libyans are now looking for a way to distance themselves from the incident especially that they gave a Libyan passport to Shqaqi."

    "I think it was a big mistake to let Shqaqi go to Malta taking into consideration Israel’s big presence on the island" another official said. The Libyan ambassador has been asked by The Times for a reaction to the statement but no reply has been given yet.

    Shqaqi, 43, was gunned down in front of a Silema hotel last Thursday just two hours after arriving in Malta from a meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The founder leader of the Islamic Jihad went with the leader of the Fatah Uprising group, Colonel Abu Musa and the deputy leader ofthe Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), Talal Nagi to plead with Col. Gaddafi to rescind his decision to expel Palestinians.

    Islamic Jihad activists chant and call for revenge against Israel in the Gaza Strip during a protest rally to condemn the killing of Fathi ShqaqiThe other two leaders returned to Damascus via a different route. The Islamic Jihad is the second largest Moslem militant movement among Palestinians after Hamas. the Islamic Resistance Movement. Both launched several bloody suicide attacks in which scores of Israelis were killed alter the signing of a PLO peace deal with Israel in 1993. Islamic Jihad accuses Israel of killing Shqaqi and has vowed to revenge itself with more suicide bombers, Israel officials have refused to confirm or deny Israel carried out the killing but welcomed his death.

    Yossi Melman said in an Israeli newspaper that the Mossad had leaked the news after realising that the world had kept quiet for two days, Israeli security analysts have confirmed that the method used to kill Shqaqi bore all the hallmarks of a Mossad contract killing. The bullets used to kill Shqaqi were 9mm short and the security analysts have confirmed that one of the hallmarks of a Mossad killing is the use of the same calibre bullets in a short loaded Berretta.

    Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner has declined to answer questions sent to him by The Times. The police public relations officer said that the commissioner could not answer the questions in the interest of the investigation. He was asked,

    • Have the police asked any foreign countries for help in solving the murder
    • Who do the police believe is behind the murder
    • Have the police asked Israel For Shqaqis fingerprints
    • Have the police asked Israel for anyone else’s fingerprints
    • Do the police believe the perpetrators of last Thursday’s murder are still on the island
    • Were any weapons found on the victim’s body, in his luggage or in the room at the hotel he was staying at
    • Who identified the body
    • Were any relatives of the victim on the island
    • Have the police spoken to any off the victims relatives
    • Are the police inquiring as to how the victim carried a Libyan passport
    • Are the police inquiring how he entered Malta without anyone being aware of his presence
    • Have any members of the police been sent to make enquiries abroad
    • Does the police suspect that the Israeli Mossad secret service have agents operating from here

    Information released by police so far reports eyewitnesses as having seen a man run up to the victim as he arrived from a shopping trip and shoot him at least east three times in quick succession.

    The murderer escaped on a motorbike driven by an accomplice. The two had been waiting for Shqaqi at first identified as Ibrahim Ali Shawesh, for at least two hours before the murder. Two salesgirls at the Bernardi store on the Slierna strand told police they remembered serving Shqaqi minutes before he died on Thursday. The two girls were the last people to see the Palestinian leader alive, after he went into the store alone to buy clothes just before closing time at 1pm.

    Shqaqi had also been to the Marks and Spencer store a block away where he bought a shirt. The girl who served him there did not recognise the man when she was showed his passport photo by police. Sources at the Palace Tower said the ferry trip from Malta to Libya was cancelled yesterday but they could not say why. They said another trip was scheduled for this morning,

You are here: Home