The first reporter to arrive at the scene of the Lockerbie bombing has died, 25 years after the terrorist attack which rocked the small town.
Frank Ryan, described by his former colleagues as “one of the nicest men in the business”, died aged 82 at his home in Dumfries after being hospitalised with pneumonia.
He had worked for the Daily Record in Scotland for almost 40 years before going freelance. Five months later, he happened to be in the right place at the right time as the tragedy unfolded and his work was published around the world.
BBC journalist and author Giancarlo Rinaldi paid tribute to the grandfather-of-two.
“Frank was the first man to a lot of stories. You’d turn up and Frank would already be there having spoken to everybody and have the story,” he said.
Frank’s wife Avril, who wrote the TV column for the Daily Record, said Frank had received a tip-off about the bombing, giving him a headstart on the story.
“We’d been in Lockerbie on the night and I remember Frank saying to a local, ‘Anything happening?’” she said.
“The lad replied, ‘Nothing ever happens in Lockerbie’. We’d just got home when Frank got a tip-off. He was the first journalist on the scene and his work went all over the world.”
Eleven residents of Lockerbie and 259 people on-board the Pan Am transatlantic flight were killed when the plane crashed after a bomb exploded on board in a terrorist attack in December 1988.
An obituary in the Daily Record reports that, speaking last year, Frank remembered the tragedy, telling his former paper: “I gazed in disbelief at blazing houses, streets littered with debris and chunks of aircraft.
“I watched the townsfolk, many of whom I knew, wandering around. They asked ‘What on earth has happened?’’’
He leaves behind his wife, two children and two grandchildren.