DUMFRIES, Scotland -- The mystery of the extra crew member on doomed Pan Am flight 103 remained unsolved Friday as the disaster inquiry adjourned until the New Year.
The hearing at Dumfries was told there should have been 12 cabin attendants on the New York-bound jumbo 'Maid of the Seas.'
But after the jetliner was blasted out of the sky by a terrorist bomb over Lockerbie on Dec. 21, killing 270 people on the plane and on the ground, investigators found there was a 13th member.
The discovery was made when the purser's list was examined, Michael Sullivan, Pan Am's director of flight services at Heathrow, told the inquiry.
Questioned by Marina de Larracoechea, 43, whose stewardess sister Nieves, 39, was among the victims, he revealed that the normal cabin crew for a Boeing 747 was 13.
But because of the passenger load on Flight 103, the correct number should have been 12.
Asked why there had been 13 he replied: 'I cannot definitely say the reason. When we looked at the list afterwards we found there was a 13th. '
'The only persons who would have known (the reason for the extra member) were the crew,' Sullivan said.
Asked if he was saying an extra flight person 'could just walk in,' he answered: 'It is the responsibility of the purser, who has the crew list, to advise us of any crew difference.'
Larracoechea then asked him if it was possible that an extra person could appear at the airport and after an exchange of words, without anyone else knowing, join the flight crew.
'It should not happen,' Sullivan replied, 'but it appears to have happened in this case.'
'I didn't know who to talk to. The only person who would have known would have been the purser who wrote the 13th name on the assignment sheet which the 13th person had signed,' Sullivan said.
Asked by reporters after the hearing if he could name the 13th cabin crew member, Sullivan said: 'I am not going to talk about that.'
'I think I know who it was but I am not certain. I do not want to give any name at this stage,' Larracoechea said.
The inquiry, which has run for 10 weeks and heard a total of 46 days evidencefrom about 150 witnesses, will resume on January 22. The estimated cost of staging it is three million pounds, or about $5.8 million.