Gander Different Crash, Same Questions

Officials blamed the 1985 tragedy on icy wings. Was it really sabotage aimed at some of the plane's passengers?

FLYING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS IN 1985, three years before the Pan Am bombing, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members died when their chartered DC-8 jet plunged to earth just after taking off from a refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland. It was the worst U.S. military air disaster ever. Icing of the wings was immediately suggested as the cause, although Islamic Jihad terrorists just as quickly boasted of blowing up the jet.

It wasn't until 1989 that an Iran-contra connection to the tragedy was revealed. Arrow Air, the charter company, turned out to be one of Lieut. Colonel Oliver North's regular...