I have a new book coming out in June. It is entitled Sabotage: A Chronicle of the Chesterton Crash. I became fascinated about this case when I was doing research for an entirely different book and decided this one needed its own. What follows is not an excerpt from the book. These series of articles is just to educate people about the crash.
Smith showed up at the airport with a small bag. He asked if he could carry the whole bag into the plane, but was told he could not. He then removed a bottle of liquor from the bag, took a sip, and replaced it in his bag. He was told by the porter he could not board the plane drunk and that he could not drink on the plane. He then removed a small brown-paper-wrapped package from the bag and carried that onto the plane. His bag was then put in the nose-section baggage compartment.
He carried this package with him onto the plane, despite the fact it would be just as safe in baggage storage. When the plane landed in Cleveland he asked if he could stay on the plane. He was told he could not and that he should wait in the airport. He removed his package and carried it with him in the airport. He waited to re-board the plane and did so as soon as the plane was ready, carefully carrying his package.
When the plane exploded and the tail section fell off, he was thrown out of the back of the plane. When he body was found, the eardrums were burst and he had died from impact wounds when he hit the ground.
The FBI investigated Smith, trying to figure out if he had carried explosives in his package, but they were never able to determine. Ultimately, the ruled him out as a suspect and their reports state he was a model citizen. Still, it was strange…