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Centroamerican Air Flight 105 bombing (Alternity)

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The bombing of Centroamerican Air Flight 105 was a terrorist attack which occurred on July 20, 1972, over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-200, carrying 112 passengers and crew, departed from Managua International Airport at 8:00 a.m. (U.S. Central Time) and settled at a cruising altitude of 32,000 ft. by 8:05 a.m., bound for Havana International in Cuba. At exactly 9:32 a.m., the aircraft disappeared from civil and military radar roughly forty miles to the west-southwest of Isla County, Cuba.

Within thirty minutes, search and rescue aircraft were dispatched by both the US Navy and Coast Guard, along with the destroyers USS John King and Sellers out of Naval Station Cortes. After two days of searching, the crew of Sellers had recovered ten to fifteen bodies, while the John King had joined the search for the aircraft’s wreckage, in conjunction with a special task force from the Central American Navy. What remained of the primary fuselage was discovered in 2500 feet of water at 21°36' N 83°48' W on July 25. The black box was recovered via aid of submersible three days later. Analysis of the flight recorder data concluded that a deliberate explosion from within had downed the aircraft, likely originating in the main cabin near the engines. Recovery of the primary wreckage two months later by US and British Royal Navy divers and submersibles confirmed this.

Responsibility for the incident was claimed by the Comunistas rebels in Guatemala, who were then-engaged in an uprising against the Central American federal government. This would prove to be the high-water mark of the insurgency, as retaliatory strikes by the Central American military over the next five to six months killed many high-ranking rebel officers, including their leader, Lázaro Menendez. Many of the remaining Comunistas laid down their arms and surrendered in March 1973, finally bringing an end to one of the bloodiest chapters in Central American history.

Of the 112 passengers and crew aboard CAF 105, none survived, and to this day, many of their remains are still unaccounted for.

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