With the 30th anniversary of the Air India Flight 182 tragedy marked earlier this week, PAX is looking back on the incident with members of the travel trade.
Anil Oraw, director of India Tourism Toronto, was living in Calcutta when the aircraft was destroyed on June 23, 1985, killing 329 people off the BC coast.
“It was a very tragic day, of course,” Oraw recalled. “It shocked the entire country - 329 people were gone.”
While he hadn’t yet joined the travel industry at the time of the tragedy, Harish Shroff of Indus Travels was a university student living in India as the news broke.
“It was such a sad thing,” he said, adding that he became more aware of the incident after moving to Canada in 2005. “It was a time when people were wondering why it would happen and what would happen next.”
The investigation continues to the present. In 2000, two BC residents were charged in connection with the incident and acquitted in 2005, while a third suspect pleaded guilty to manslaughter for helping to assemble the bomb.
Oraw said that in his role with India Tourism, he has met families of the victims living in Canada and while the day remains one of the darkest for both India and Canada, he is hopeful for a future where such incidents are never repeated.
“We share their grief, especially those who lost entire families,” he said. “Since then, there have been a lot of developments in the aviation sector between India and Canada and I hope to never see anything like this happen to anyone from any country."
What are your memories of the Air India tragedy? Share them in the comments box below.