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Lockerbie mourns U.S. disaster

LOCKERBIE, Scotland -- Relatives of those who perished in the Lockerbie bombing spoke of their shock at the events in New York and Washington.

The small Scottish town, near the border with England, has become synonymous with horror after the fateful night in December 1988 when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded above its sleeping residents.

In addition to the 259 who perished on the New York-bound airliner, a further 11 people died when the plane crashed to the ground.

"When we in Lockerbie see those pictures, it does bring it all back," Marjorie McQueen, a local councilor, told Reuters on Tuesday. "But the scale of New York is just unbelievable."

Her son and daughter are in the U.S. city on holiday, staying in the Staten Island district of New York city and had been due to visit the World Trade Center on Tuesday, before flying back to Britain.

She said: "I was in a meeting in the town when we heard the news, and to say we were all subdued would be an understatement.

"Even when I'd found out the kids were safe, I still couldn't stop shaking."

Pamela Dix, whose brother Peter was killed in the 1988 atrocity, told how she endured a three-hour wait today before learning that her 38-year-old brother and his family, who live in Manhattan, were safe.

Speaking from her home in Woking, Surrey, Dix, 43, told the UK's Press Association news agency: "I am speechless at the moment. This is something on a scale that none of us has experienced.

"At the time Lockerbie was so mammoth, but today's events are so enormous it is staggering.

"It brings back memories of Lockerbie and what it is like to know that someone is not coming home.

"Each of the victims is a personal tragedy that may get forgotten because this is a tragedy of such a great dimension. It is so massive."

Dix, who works for Disaster Action, a support group for relatives who have lost loved ones in disasters, said she has spoken to some of the other Lockerbie families.

She added: "It is times like this that those of us who have experienced something similar are drawn together.

"Many other people have called to offer moral support and understanding."

The Reverend John Mosey, who lost his 19-year-old daughter Helga in the Lockerbie bombing, described the terror attacks in the U.S. as "wicked and evil."

Speaking from his home in Herefordshire, the 61-year-old said he could identify with those who do not know if their loved ones are dead or alive.

He told PA: "We identify with the grieving people who have been affected by these wicked and evil acts.

"I am sick to the pit of my stomach and I have some idea how these people are feeling.

"It is clear that both them (the casualties in the U.S.) and my daughter are victims of international political warfare.

"And it seems clear that the world has got to find a better way to settle its differences."

In Lockerbie -- at the memorial to the Pan Am victims -- Henk Vreekamp, a theologian from Epe in the Netherlands, said: "We were always going to be coming to Lockerbie, but then we heard the news and it became absolutely essential.

"It was so beautiful and now it's gone. It was so high we could see the planes beneath us. I'll never forget it."


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