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Thu, Dec 09, 2004

Investigative Commission: 1980 Portugal Crash Was Sabotage

Lawmakers Say Prime Minister's Cessna Was Blown Out Of The Sky By A Bomb

The 1980 crash of a Cessna 421A in which Portugal's prime minister died was no accident.

"It seems sufficiently clear to me that the Cessna-421A crashed at Camarate (outside Lisbon) during the night of December 4, 1980 [was] due to sabotage. We have evidence of an explosive device placed under the floor of the pilot's cabin, which had sufficient strength to damage control cables and injure the pilots," said Portuguese member of parliament Nuno Melo as a legislative commission on the crash presented its report.

Francisco Sa Carneiro (pictured above, right) was killed when his 421 (file photo of type, below) went down shortly after take-off 14 years ago. It was one of the most traumatic moment ever on Portugal's political scene. If you don't believe that, witness the number of times Parliament has looked into the crash. There have been eight so far, but this is the only one to have suggested Sa Carneiro was murdered.

Even so, it was by no means a unanimous verdict. Of the 12 experts on the panel studying the crash, only seven concurred with the commission's final ruling. The majority cited chemical evidence found among the wreckage.

No outside experts were brought in during the investigation, according to AFP.

FMI: www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/po.html

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