Canada Air India

29 Years Ago, I Searched for Air India Survivors

Brian J. Stephens | Posted 08.23.2014 | Canada
Brian J. Stephens

It was 29 years ago this week. I was a member of the U.S. Air Force's 67th ARRS Pararescue team. I was trained to find survivors anywhere on Earth and bring them back alive. Sometimes that wasn't possible. Instead you came back with the only thing you could -- closure for the victims' families. You brought home the bodies. That was the case for Air India Flight 182 that Sunday in June 1985. I learned that injury patterns determined that the plane had broken up at altitude, tossing bodies into the sky at 31,000 feet while moving at 580 miles per hour. None of the 131 bodies recovered was wearing a life jacket. The victims had no time to prepare.