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Who blew United Airlines Flight 23 out of the sky?

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posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 11:29 PM

In the evening hours of October 10, 1933, United Airlines Flt 23(or Trip 23, as it was called then), a Boeing 247 registered as NC-13304, had 35 minutes left on the Cleveland to Chicago leg of a cross-country flight, when a bomb planted in the toilet closet at the rear of the aircraft blew the tail off the plane, sending it into a death spiral to the ground five miles south of Chesterton, Indiana. Three crew and four passengers died. It was the very first confirmed act of sabotage---what we today would call terrorism--aboard a passenger plane, and the crime remains unsolved. In the 80 years since, not a single credible suspect, or even a motive, has ever been put forth.

The subsequent investigation by the Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice(the FBI) was hampered by a lack of solid leads. No parts of the bomb, which was probably made of dynamite or nitroglycerin, were discovered. No detonator, no end caps, no clock, no battery, no wires, and no tape or wrapper. The ground crews saw no suspicious persons near the plane while on the ground at the debarkation point of Newark nor in Cleveland.

edit on 7-9-2013 by starviego because: (no reason given)

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posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 11:41 PM
reply to post by starviego

The fiance of victim Dorothy Dwyer made statements that indicated he had foreknowledge that the cause of the crash was a bomb. He also seemed to have gangster connections. Strangely, there is no evidence that this solid lead was followed up.

Ahem. Well, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that they never solved it if this is how they investigated it. They don't seem to have been very ... motivated, I guess.

Apparently they hadn't yet discovered the usefulness of having a bogeyman waiting in the wings....

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 12:47 AM
Interesting mystery. Too bad there is not enough reliable evidence to know for sure. I would bank on the "gangster" (terrorist) theory, there must have been enough for the officials to suspect this for some reason unapparent or non-included in the report. As far as not finding the bombs fragments or a clock, I would assume it probably happened high off the ground, and those parts were ejected or destroyed and spread out maybe even miles away. But they for some reason had a theory a "gangster" was transporting a bomb and ditched it, causing turbulence (or possibly someone found it and handled it improperly during the flight imo); or maybe he left it there with the intent on doing this. There had to be a first, and look at what is going on in the world, this isn't uncommon these days.

I wonder who blew that airliner up off the coast of New York, that would be an interesting thread. Also the reason why?

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 01:21 AM

Originally posted by Ex_CT2They don't seem to have been very ... motivated, I guess.

To be fair, the Bureau of Investigation was very busy running down the likes of John Dillinger and the Ma Barker gang at the time. In fact, Special Agent M. Carter Baum, heavily involved in the case, was shot to death by Baby Face Nelson right in the middle of the investigation.

And the Bureau probably didn't know what they were dealing with, as this was the first of its type. What I find oddly disturbing is that it was not only the first but is still the most mysterious of all the many subsequent acts of air terrorism. Given what we know now of skullduggery in the air--witness 9/11, TWA 800, KAL 007, etc., etc.--it was a bad omen of the things to come.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 02:02 AM

Originally posted by starviego

Originally posted by Ex_CT2

And the Bureau probably didn't know what they were dealing with, as this was the first of its type.

And then they invented proticals and security. Till this they didn't think it was in need.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 05:15 AM
Wait a minute here - if NO evidence of an explosive device was found how in the world do they "know" that something exploded in the bathroom? Seriously?
This plane could have come down due to maintenance/malfunction/human factors - but we are told something exploded in the latrine and yet no evidence of the device was ever found?

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 05:47 AM
reply to post by LittleBirdSaid

Because of the evidence found in the wreckage. Things that should have been in the back were found in the forward part of the cabin, meaning something pushed them forward, that was not related to the impact. The fuel tanks were found dented in, which wouldn't have happened in the impact, they would have split open, but the damage was consistent with a force hitting them prior to impact. There were also witnesses that saw an explosion in the rear of the fuselage tear the tail off.

The Boeing 247 was produced long before there was anything in the aft fuselage that could have exploded without there being an explosive device on board. Modern aircraft have extra fuel tanks in the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, but back then, there was nothing that could have exploded and caused this aircraft to go down, except a bomb. By process of elimination, and evidence at the crash site, it had to be a bomb.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 11:53 AM

Originally posted by in the world do they "know" that something exploded in the bathroom?

Two eyewitnesses actually saw the explosion and they both thought it was a bomb. Houses nearby shook from the force of the blast(the plane was only at about 1000'). Examination of two passengers thrown free of the wreckage revealed they both had shattered eardrums.

Quote from the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory of Northwestern University, Chicago, "which laboratory inspected the fragments of the wreckage of this plane":

"Examination of the evidence leaves no doubt that prior to the crashing of the plane there was a violent explosion in the rear portion of the plane. This explosion was produced by a 'high explosive' of the type of nitroglycerin, dynamite of high percentage strength, TNT, or some similar substance. The explosion occurred either in the upper rear portion of the lavatory compartment or the fore part of the blanket compartment which is built into the rear of the upper lavatory section. The fact that the explosive was the 'high explosive' type rather than the 'low explosive' type is proven from the numerous holes made in Dural structure by flying particles of Dural and by the type of damage done to blankets, clothing and baggage which apparently was located in the rear baggage compartment. These holes were made by projectiles traveling at very high velocity, such as would be propelled by the shattering force of a high explosive, rather than by the slow push of a low explosive. Gasoline-air moistures are definitely of the low explosive type. ..." (pg71 of 160)


posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 12:01 PM
This is a new one on me...but I have a theory.

There are many documented cases of outhouses blowing up. Maybe the lavatory in the rear of the aircraft was faulty and some one lit up a cigarette and ignited the gases?

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 12:05 PM
I could be wrong but, back then, wouldn't the bomb have to be detonated by an individual?

The sad thing is that, back then, there was no security regarding air travel. Anyone could walk into an airport and up, into the plane, drop a bag off, and leave. It is only in the last 35 or so years that x-rays and metal detectors have been installed to avoid air traffic incidents.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 12:13 PM
My guess is that one of the passengers on the plane knew something that they shouldn't know. Because remote control over-ride for cars wasn't invented then, nor magic bullets, nor planes that could sink skyscrapers into their own footprint, they just kinda decided to use the plain old-fashioned blow it out of the sky routine.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 12:13 PM
reply to post by TDawgRex

Possible, but unlikely. You can tell the difference between that kind of explosion and a bomb, even back then. There wouldn't have been the shockwave damage seen in the wreckage if it had just been a lavatory explosion.

Interestingly a US attorney was known to fly across country at the time. Thinking is he was the target.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 12:44 PM
reply to post by Crakeur

There were timers in use at the time but they weren't the most reliable, so it may have been set off by someone on the plane.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 12:45 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

that's what I'm thinking.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 01:34 PM
reply to post by starviego

Maybe the first attempt at corporate sabotage, the device being planted by a member of the Douglas aircraft corporation to discredit Boeing's 237?

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 01:39 PM

Originally posted by Crakeur
I could be wrong but, back then, wouldn't the bomb have to be detonated by an individual?

Timers, mercury switches, all sorts of clever ways to detonate a bomb back then.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 03:58 PM
reply to post by _Del_

They were available, but even ten years later they weren't the must reliable.

posted on Sep, 8 2013 @ 04:16 PM
Because of the placement of the bodies and the damage to them, investigators leaned away from the theory that someone was in the lavatory when the bomb detonated.


Department of Justice Attorney Joseph Keenan worked on the case. According to one source, he was actually the target of the bomb:

pg47 of 160
dated Oct 14, 1933 (four days later)
"Mr. Gridley of the UP telephoned to state they had received a dispatch from Oklahoma City saying that the United Airline plane crash was arranged to 'get' Mr Joseph B. Keenan, but that he had gone over the route a couple of days before."

The manifest of a flight on this same plane two days before, on Oct 8, 1933, confirmed Keenan had been a passenger.

A possible motive is indicated from a news headline of the day:
Department of Justice asks Joseph B. Keenen, lawyer from Cleveland, to direct crusade on racketeers 1933.

For what it's worth, Adlai E. Stevenson, future Presidential candidate, was on this plane with Keenan, flying from Cleveland to Chicago.

Also, a 'Colonel William Donovan' was the New York lawyer who represented United Airlines in this case. I suspect this was the same William 'Wild Bill' Donovan who headed up the wartime OSS, aka 'the father of central intelligence.' He retired from the army after the first world war with the rank of colonel.

posted on Oct, 10 2013 @ 11:29 AM
Here is a good article on the crash, with some interesting period pics, for this, the day of the 80th anniversary:

edit on 10-10-2013 by starviego because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2013 @ 07:26 PM
Well is wasnt a SAM I can tell you that much.

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