First act of sabotage on commercial airline

by NPHM | June 25th, 2012

June 25, 2012

According to the Southeastern Missourian, more than 100 people gathered in Unionville, Missouri, for the 50th anniversary observance of the bombing of Continental Airlines Flight 11—the first ever act of sabotage by a passenger.

On May 22, 1962, the plane departed from Chicago bound for Los Angeles. It crashed in Unionville, killing 48 people. An FBI investigation determined that a passenger was responsible for the explosion.

The culprit, a Kansas City salesman, detonated six sticks of dynamite as part of a botched plan for his family to collect on a life insurance policy.

Now, because of efforts by a local historian, families who carry memories of the crash and local residents who remember that night are talking about it again. An updated memorial that describes the crash was unveiled on the downtown courthouse square, with the names of the flight’s 11 crew members and 37 passengers.

“Folks here put it aside, more or less,” Ronnie Cook said. “It was something that happened. Life went on. We just didn’t talk about it.” But the new attention, he said, “was something that should have been done a long time ago.” Cook, a high school junior when the plane crashed, was among the first on the scene.

If you or someone you know had his or her safety compromised in a commercial aviation accident, the aviation accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.