Man convicted of passenger plane bombing off Cork coast is released from prison

The Air India attack remains one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in global history

Man convicted of passenger plane bombing off Cork coast is released from prison

The first body recovered from the Air Inia crash site arrives in Cork Image: PA Images

The man convicted of bombing a passenger jet off the coat of Cork, killing 329 people, has been released from jail.

Inderjit Singh Reyat was convicted of bombing Air India flight 182 on June 23, 1985 and has spent much of the past two decades behind bars in Canada.

Reyat, a Sikh immigrant to Canada, planted bombs in two suitcases, with the first was sent aboard the flight from Vancouver to Heathrow, and another on a flight to Japan.

The first bomb was aboard the Air India flight and exploded with the plane above the North Atlantic Ocean, inside Irish airspace, while the second exploded at Narita airport in Japan as it was being transferred between flights – and before it got to the targeted Air India flight. Two baggage handlers were killed in the explosion.

The Irish navy worked alongside the RAF - with support from fishing and merchant vessels - in recovering a total of 131 bodies from the shark-infested waters.

The victims’ bodies were brought to the then Cork Regional Hospital, where relatives of victims came from around the world.

Reyat remains the only person ever convicted for the crime. He was today released after completing two thirds of a nine-year sentence. He had previously served 15 years for the attack.

The Air India bombing remains one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in global history.

The attack was carried out as part of Sikh campaign against India, and specifically in retaliation for an attack by Indian forces on a Sikh temple.

There is an annual remembrance ceremony at Ahakista in West Cork – the closet point on land to the sport where the plane went down.