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United Flight 629 Crash: 50 Years Later  
User currently offlineKurt From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 11298 times:

Very interesting article in the (Denver) Rocky Mountain News about United 629 that was bombed Nov. 1, 1955 enoute from Denver to Portland. The DC-6B exploded after 11 minutes in the air, killing 39 passengers and five crew members. The bomber was John G. Graham, who snuck dynamite into his mother's luggage to collect a large insurance settlement. Here's the lead:

The house shuddered.

It was a death rattle, announcing the bodies plunging from the night sky into the fields out beyond the barns and corral.

In the house, with the farm work done for the day, the Hopp family of five boys and two girls had finished supper when the explosion split the country quiet, shaking them to the quick. A ball of flame seared through the sky as if their frame house was its target.

"It went down behind the outbuildings, so I never saw it hit the ground," Conrad Hopp said, recalling the tragic night of Nov. 1, 1955. Hopp, now 68, was an eyewitness when United Airlines Flight 629, en route from Denver to Portland, exploded and crashed onto the sugar beet fields of southwestern Weld County.


The rest of the story is here: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drm...cle/0,1299,DRMN_21_4156866,00.html

Included is an amazing photo of the aircraft tail, sitting upright in a field:



The crash is the subject of an upcoming book, "Mainliner Denver: The Bombing of Flight 629" by Andrew J. Field. Looks fascinating. May the victims continue to rest in peace.

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTom in NO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 11109 times:

Robert Serling did a brief write-up on this incident in one of his long-ago published books on air safety.

As I recall, this crash was one of the first ones that caused a law to be written regarding the invalidating of insurance and prosecution of people who bought insurance on themselves or on other passengers who took flights that had incidents that were traced back to insurance collection-type motivational causes.

Tom at MSY


User currently offlineN501US From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 11109 times:
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Thanks for sharing this tragic, yet very interesting story. Guess I can add a book to my Christmas list!

User currently offlineIsitsafenow From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 11093 times:

..........Denver to Portland with a few stops. The plane was enroute to Cheyenne, Wyoming, its first stop.
safe


User currently offlineRDUDDJI From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 11069 times:

Thanks, that was a good read.

It's also notable that UA currently has a flight 629 (DCA-ORD). Usually the numbers get retired...


User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 11042 times:

The aircraft was ironically known as the Mainliner Denver, a DC-6B line #224, registered N37559. Until Kurt posted the topic, I've never knew the story until today. As said before, may the innocent victims continue to rest in peace.

User currently offlineBHMNONREV From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 11014 times:

Here's some more info on the story...


http://www.crimelibrary.com/notoriou...urders/mass/jack_graham/index.html


User currently offlineTom in NO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 10965 times:

Robert Serling's mention of this crash is found on page 361 of his book "Loud and Clear", published in 1969.

Tom at MSY


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 10925 times:

I remember reading the law enforcement side of this event back in the 1960s in a book on the FBI that my parents got me.

User currently offlineKurt From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 10838 times:

I ordered the book from Amazon - it was only $11.90 and it looks very interesting.

What's amazing to me is that Mr. Graham was able to just calmly set his plot in motion and it actually succeeded. A timer-based bomb has so much potential to go off at the wrong time, right? If it had gone off just a few minutes earlier that aircraft would have crashed in a heavily-populated area and could have caused much more havoc. Or if the flight had been delayed the bomb may not have killed as many. Pure speculation, of course.

The world was a much more innocent place in 1955 but Graham was pretty evil to kill those people so coldly.


User currently offlineHighflier92660 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week ago) and read 10807 times:

We are quickly approaching another sad 50th anniversary. The grand daddy mid-air of the post WW-II era, and one that ultimately led to a badly needed modernization of the air traffic control system in the U.S. and the transformation of the CAA into the FAA. Here's the link to a good web page synopsis of the crash between a United airlines DC-7 and a TWA Lockheed 1049A Constellation on the morning of June 30, 1956.

http://www.doney.net/aroundaz/grandcanyoncrash.htm


A few years ago I flew a Cessna T210 into the canyon near accident site at the confluence of the Colorado with the Little Colorado Rivers. High on the shear canyon walls, one can still see markings and some glint of metal from the United aircraft.


User currently offlineNavairjax From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 10676 times:

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
It's also notable that UA currently has a flight 629 (DCA-ORD). Usually the numbers get retired...

The retired flight number practice didn't begin until the 70s.


User currently offlineTom in NO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 10671 times:

Quoting Kurt (Reply 9):
I ordered the book from Amazon - it was only $11.90 and it looks very interesting.

I did the same a few minutes ago.

Tom at MSY


User currently offlineRichierich From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10575 times:

I guess, judging by one of the articles, that actual crash site remains farmland to this day. I'd almost have expected the suburbs to have expanded beyond the 11-minute radius the DC-6 was capable of flying from Stapleton.

User currently offlineKurt From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 10439 times:

That TWA/United crash over the Grand Canyon from '56 is another one for the history books. I was surprised the DC-7 flew so much faster than the Connie, although the Connie is still so much sleeker to my eye.

User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 10341 times:

Quoting Kurt (Thread starter):
The crash is the subject of an upcoming book

The book isn't "upcoming"...it's available on Amazon.


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