Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018
ROME

Napolitano urges greater effort to explain 1980 plane crash

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 27 - Investigators around the world must
continue working to figure out what led to a mysterious 1980
airline crash near an island off Sicily and the deaths of 81
people, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Thursday.
"The memory of that tragic night and the innocent victims
of the disaster underline the duty of all institutions to
support ongoing investigations to ascertain responsibility -
national and international - that remained covered by disturbing
shadows and opacity," Napolitano said on the 33rd anniversary of
the unexplained crash off the Italian island of Ustica.
The president also sent his condolences to the victims'
families and praised the "constant dedication" with which they
work to uncover the truth about the crash, which some suggested
was caused by a rogue missile.
Over the years, Italy has sought information from the
United States, France, Belgium and Germany.
In 2008 prosecutors reopened investigations after former
Italian president Francesco Cossiga suggested that a French
missile had shot down the plane by mistake.
Cossiga did not explain at the time why he had waited so
long before giving his views.
Dossiers, books, and even a film called The Rubber Wall
have been produced over the years about the mystery-shrouded
night of June 27, 1980 when a domestic airliner, belonging to
the now-defunct Itavia line, crashed into the sea on its way
from Bologna to Palermo.
Two international panels examined the wreckage.
One concluded the plane had been hit by a missile, while
another thought a bomb had been planted aboard the craft in a
terrorist act similar to that carried out with even greater loss
of life at Bologna train station later that summer.
But investigating magistrate Rosario Priore and the
prosecutors who have succeeded him insisted they had found clear
evidence of flight tracks being tampered with and radar scans
cleaned up to remove all trace of other planes in the vicinity
of the Itavia jet.
Magistrates and victims' relatives think the plane may have
become caught in a dogfight between NATO planes and a Libyan jet
whose wreckage was found in the southern Italian highlands some
months after the Ustica crash.
Italy has repeatedly asked NATO, and in particular the US
and France, for full cooperation in clearing up the incident.
According to reconstructions of the event contained in
fictitious accounts, the Libyan jet hid under the Itavia jet and
a NATO missile hit the wrong target.
The truth may only come out when NATO records are
declassified in years to come, many of the theorists say.

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