Cubana DC-8 Airliner Bombed – All Died After Barbados Take-off
Some excerpts from Wikipedia (link here)…
On October 6, 1976, Flight CU-455 (Douglas DC8-43 Cuba Registered as CU-T1201) was scheduled to fly the following route: Guyana to Trinidad, Trinidad to Barbados, Barbados to Kingston, Jamaica, and finally Kingston to Havana, Cuba.
At 17:24, nine minutes after takeoff from Barbados’s Seawell airport and at an altitude of 18,000 feet, a bomb located in the aircraft’s rear lavatories exploded. The captain, Wilfredo Pérez Pérez, radioed to the control tower: “We have an explosion aboard, we are descending immediately! … We have fire on board! We are requesting immediate landing! We have a total emergency!”
The plane went into a rapid descent, while the pilots unsuccessfully tried to return the plane to Seawell Airport. A second bomb exploded during the following minutes, causing the plane to crash. Realizing a successful landing was no longer possible, it appears that the pilot turned the craft away from the beach and towards the Atlantic Ocean, saving the lives of many tourists. This occurred about eight kilometres short of the airport.
All 48 passengers and 25 crew aboard the plane died: 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, and five North Koreans. Among the dead were all 24 members of the 1975 national Cuban Fencing team that had just won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship; many were teenagers…
Who Did It & Where Are They Now?
…Four were charged with aggravated homicide and treason before a civilian court.
On August 8, 1985, Venezuelan judge Alberto Perez Marcano of the 11th Penal Court convicted Lugo and Ricardo, sentencing them each to 20 years in prison. The judge reduced the penalty to its lowest limit “due to the extenuating circumstance of no prior criminal records.” Orlando Bosch was acquitted, because the evidence gathered by the Barbados authorities during the investigation could not be used in the Venezuela trial, as it was presented too late and had not been translated into Spanish.
Posada fled from the San Juan de los Morros penitentiary on the eve of the pronouncement of his sentence. He had been confined in this prison following two previous failed escape attempts. Allegations were made that Venezuelan authorities were bribed to help him escape. No verdict was entered against Posada because, according to the Venezuelan Penal Code, judicial proceedings cannot continue without the presence of the accused. The court issued an arrest warrant against him which is still pending as of November, 2005.
A different judge then ordered the case reviewed by a higher court. The Venezuelan government declined to appeal the case any further, and in November 1987 Bosch was freed. He had spent 11 years in jail despite having been acquitted twice.
Lugo and Lozano were released in 1993 and continue to reside in Venezuela.
Posada fled to Panama, then to the United States. In April of 2005, a new warrant for Posada’s arrest in connection with the bombing was issued by Venezuela by the government of Hugo Chávez. In September of 2005, a US immigration judge ruled that Posada should not be deported to either Cuba or Venezuela because he could be subject to torture.