Bolivia, NC Airliner Crashes In Woodlands, Jan 1960

Bolivia NC  Plane wreckage 1-6-1960.jpg

Wilmington (AP) -- National Airlines issued this list of passengers aboard the plane which crashed today at Bolilvia:
MR. and MRS. EDWARD A. EDWARDS, of Forest Hills, Queens, N. Y.
R. FRIED, of 70 Riverside Drive, New York.
JULIAN K. FRANK, of Westport, Conn.
MR. and MRS. M. FINKELSTEIN, of 319 Sharpmack St., Philadelphia.
MR. and MRS. VICTOR H. KAY, 26 Bluebird Dr., Roslyn Heights, N. Y.
MR. and MRS. H. KELLAR, 1303 Avenue N., Brooklyn, N. Y.
MR. and MRS. KUNIN, Bridgepart, Conn.
DR. and MRS. A. LAWRENCE, Golden's Bride, N. Y.
MRS. PEARL MERRILL, 799 East 17th St., Brooklyn.
Vice Adm. EDWARD O. McDONELL, USN ret., of Mill Neck, N. Y., and Hobe Sound, Fla.
MR. and MRS. I. RUBINSTEIN, New York.
J. RYAN, 18 Jefferson Ave., Rockville Centre, N. Y.
MR. and MRS. J. SCHINE, Bridgeport, Conn.
MR. and MRS. M. SILVER, Connecticut.
FRED Y. SWEETING, 18, of Port Washington, N. Y.
The crew:
Co pilot R. L. HANTZELL.
Stewardess VALERY STUART, 40 Ranch Lane, Levittown, N. Y.
Stewardess MARILU ODELL, 212 South Orange Ave., South Orange, N. J.

Daily Times News Burlington North Carolina 1960-01-06


National Airlines Flight 2511 was a domestic passenger flight from New York City, New York to Miami, Florida that exploded in midair on January 6, 1960. The National Airlines Douglas DC-6 was carrying five crew members and 29 passengers, all of whom perished. The Civil Aeronautics Board investigation concluded that the plane was brought down by a dynamite bomb. No criminal charges were ever filed, nor was the blame for the bombing ever determined, though a suicide bombing is suspected. The investigation remains open today.

One of the victims was retired US Navy Vice Admiral Edward Orrick McDonnell, a Medal of Honor recipient and veteran of both World Wars.....

National Airlines' New York-Miami route was usually flown by a Boeing 707[1] as Flight 601.[2] On January 5, 1960, the 707 aircraft scheduled to fly to Miami was grounded due to cracks that were discovered in the cockpit windshield.[1] The windshield replacement procedure would take eight hours to perform, so National Airlines transferred the passengers of Flight 601 to two propliner aircraft it had in reserve.

Passengers were boarded on the two replacement planes on a first-come, first-served basis. 76 passengers boarded a Lockheed L-188 Electra.[1][4][5] This aircraft flew to Miami and arrived safely.

The remaining 29 passengers boarded a Douglas DC-6B, which departed Idlewild Airport for Miami as Flight 2511.[1] They were accompanied by two stewardesses, pilot Dale Southard, copilot R.L. Hentzel, and flight engineer R.R. Halleckson.[7] The plane departed New York at 11:52 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Miami at 4:36 a.m. on January 6.....

The Civil Aeronautics Board concluded that Flight 2511 was brought down by a dynamite explosion in the passenger cabin. The explosive charge was located "beneath the extreme right seat of seat row No. 7." The report also pointed out that Julian Frank was close to the explosion, though it assigned no blame to him.

The explosion occurred at approximately 2:33 a.m., significantly damaging the structural integrity of the aircraft and forcing it into a wide, right-hand turn. As it descended, it suffered an in-flight disintegration and crashed at 2:38 a.m.



National Airlines 1960 Crash

I was an airline stewardess on Flight 601, a Boeing 707 jet when we were waiting in line to take off, the weather was bad, freezing cold and had snowed earlier in the day, the windshield cracked, so we taxied back to our boarding area for our plane to be replaced. They replaced it with 2 planes a Lockheed Electra and a DC-6 B. The crew members got together and flipped coins to see who was going on which plane. I got the DC-6B, but I asked one of the girls who got the Electra if I could take it back because I had a date and she said sure and I got the Electra prop-jet. A few months before in November 16, 1959, I was in the crew room when one of the girls said she was 3 months pregnant and this was her last flight. In those days you could not be married or pregnant. She asked if I would switch flights with her because her husband owned the catering business in Tampa. The flight was taking off from Miami to New Orleans with a stop in Tampa. Her husband was going to meet her at the flight while he was catering the plane, It was a DC-7B and there was also a bomb put in someone's luggage and that crashed over the Gulf on Mexico. I got lucky twice.

Case aspects in need of clarification

Julian Frank certainly had a suspect background - being investigated for financial
fraud by both the NY City District Attorney's Office and the NY attorneys
disciplinary agency. Did the FBI conclusively determine the identity of the remains
as those of Mr. Frank, given the damage to the body in this era before DNA?
Julian Frank was apparently a very smart ruthless and devious man and cer-
tainly it would seem possible that an unknown person could have been duped
to board that flight as Mr. Frank, especially in light of a prior National flight
two months before suspected of being blown up over the Gulf of Mexico with one of the victims

heavily insured and not the person identified on the flight manifest - both
persons had criminal records and had been prison cell mates. Very similiar
situations to a mid seventies suspected faked death in a private jet crash in Mexico of
rogue Argentinian financier David Gravier.


I have been to the site of the crash and have spoken to the owner of the property about that night. He was a child at the time and remembers his parents being very excited that night about the incident. Does anyone else find it funny that they heard all the noise, looked out and saw the fire etc. and then went back to bed????? Strange to say the least. The crash site is about 100 yards off of the southbound lane of HWY 17 by Bolivia, N.C. near Randolph Rd.

National Airlines 1960 Crash


I am so sorry for your loss. I have been researching airline disasters for over 20 years. As an aircrew member of radar reconnaissance aircraft in the U.S. Navy, I have been in a number of close calls myself. In addition to othr material, I had a CD of New York Times pages from 1949-2008 and would do some research from that source. I was very interested in the Bolivia crash, as it was one of the first domestic airline brought down by a bomb.

Once again, please accept my condolences and please feel free to respond.

Greg Eichelberger

National Airlines 1960 Crash

Dear Mr. Eichelberger: I would be very interested in speaking with you. My parents were on that plane and I have done a lot of research on this. I was 5 yrs. old at the time. I did not know it was a bomb until I was over 45 years old! Imagine the shock. Thank you. Linda

Bolivia, North Carolina Crash, 1960

The cause of this disaster was a dynamite explosion which was detonated by means of dry cell batteries. The explosion occurred near the right of seat row 7.
During the recovery, it was discovered that the remains of one passenger, Julian A. Frank, a lawyer from New York City, were missing from the accident site. His body was eventually found sixteen miles away at a place called Snow's Marsh west of the Cape Fear River.
While autopsies of the crew and remaining passengers showed that all had died due to crash forces, Frank's autopsy showed that he had been fatally injured by a dynamite explosion originating either in his lap or (more likely) immediately under his seat.
A number of wires and metal fragments identified as parts of a bomb were found to have embedded themselves in his body, mainly in the arms and legs. Extensive searches of the aircraft fuselage revealed bone and bomb fragments surrounding the seat which had been assigned to Frank on boarding.
Investigators suspected that Frank had taken the bomb aboard the aircraft willingly, and that the bombing was therefore a murder-suicide.