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Passengers were mostly businessmen plus one bomber

May 23, 2010 8:54:07 PM PDT
The Boeing 707 wasn't even a quarter full for the hour-long flight to Kansas City. When Continental flight 11 lifted off from O'Hare Airport on May 22, 1962, there were only 45 people onboard, and eight of them were working in the cockpit and cabin.

All but one of the 37 passengers were men. They had other traits in common: most were military veterans of WWII and Korea who had come home from overseas to become successful businessmen. One had been a prisoner of war in the Philippines. Another had been a recipient of the United States Medal of Freedom. As with most others of their post-war generation, most were married with children.

There were executives of several large American corporations, including top managers of the Chrysler Dodge automobile division, Lenora Lingerie, Vanilla Laboratories, Futursonic Productions and the superintendent and his assistant of the Michigan Wisconsin Pipeline Company. Two certified accountants and a long-time member of the United States Golf Association were aboard the flight

When the plane blew up in mid-air and crashed, 44 of the 45 passengers were dead when rescuers reached the farmfield site. One passenger, 27-year old engineer Takehiko Nakano of Evansville, Indiana, was alive when rescuers found him in the wreckage. According to reports at the time, Nakano died of internal injuries at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Centerville, Iowa, an hour and a half after being rescued.

Other than the four "stewardesses" as flight attendants were known at the time, he only woman on he flight was Geneva Greenwood Fraley, 34, of Kansas City, Kansas. FBI agents determined that Fraley was planning a joint business venture with Thomas G. Doty, also from Kansas City who was responsible for bringing down Flight 11.

According to investigators, the two prospective partners had worked together in a Kansas City cosmetic plant until March 1962, when Doty resigned. She soon quit, and they were said to be planning a party goods and home furnishing shop in the area. To finalize their business arrangement, the two traveled on separate planes to Chicago. Both stayed at the Hotel Sherman.

Doty was married and the father of a 5-year-old daughter. His wife Naomi was also pregnant at the time of the suicide bombing. She died in December, 2008 at the age of 81 having never spoken publicly about the role her husband played in the deadly 1962 attack. Her obituary stated only that her husband "passed away in 1962."


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