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National Airlines Flight 967

National Airlines Flight 967

 
My brother-in-law was the Flight Engineer on this flight. I have not read cli...
 
Posts  1 - 34  of  34
National Airlines Flight 967 discussion
 
leececilcty1
08/17/09
My brother-in-law was the Flight Engineer on this flight. I have not read clippings for a number of years and just, still, wonder just what really happened to Robert Vernon Spears. I believe he was prosecuted at some point for a number of things. When was this finally a closed case? I don't believe there was any "real" evidence that he, indeed, planted a bomb on the plane - was there?
           
 
cschneid10
09/30/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  My brother-in-law was the Flight Engineer on this flight. I have no...
My mother was on this flight. It has always haunted me that the wreckage was never found thus no definitive answers.

My understanding is that Robert Spears was later arrested in Texas posing as a Doctor and connected with the death of a woman from an illegal abortion he performed. He went to prison and for a two year period Brad Williams, a journalist repeatedly interviewed him about his possible involvement in the disappearance of Flt 967. Spears never conceded anything but Williams put together a convincing trail of evidence suggesting Spears did indeed have a friend carry a bag of dynamite onto the plane.

Spears eventually died in prison.

Williams wrote a book titled "Fight 967" which documents his investigation. It's available at amazon.com.

I hope this is helpful to you.

           
 
cschneid10
09/30/09
replied to: cschneid10
Replied To:  My mother was on this flight. It has always haunted me that the wre...
Correction. I found an obituary for Spears stating that he had been arrested in AZ by the FBI for car theft after the crash. He was in possession of Taylor's car.

He was released and later jailed in CA in relation to an abortion charge.

He was later released, disappeared and died in TX. The obit was dated May 3 1959.
           
 
leececilcty1
10/18/09
replied to: cschneid10
Replied To:  My mother was on this flight. It has always haunted me that the wre...
Thank you so much for your response - I honestly never expected to receive any comment. First, my most heartfelt sorrow for your loss. There are just so many questions, never to be answered. After 50 years it is still difficult for me, as I'm sure it must be for you. Many years ago someone told me of the book. When my family and I returned from Germany (1977) I attemtped to locate it, with no luck. I will definitely try through Amazon.com as you suggested. The person who read it did tell me that the author had interviewed all families of the crew. That was not quite true. He may have attempted, but my sister was never interviewed, primarily because of her health issues and she would never have consented anyway. She passed away at age 50 in 1981. Her only child died at age 51. I lived in Evanston, IL at the time of the crash (my husband is from Chicago) and worked at Northwestern. I did fly down to be with my sister for a few weeks. She was and is one of the strongest people I have ever known. I don't think I could have gotten through all this. It must have been more difficult for you as a child. I know that my nephew was never able to accept what happened. I do remember a story of a couple who never flew together on trips because of their children. My memory is that a husband was waiting at the airport for his wife....I may have this all wrong. Regarding the obit for Spears - May, 1959 couldn't be correct. Again, thank you so much for writing. I do appreciate it.
           
 
cschneid10
10/18/09
replied to: cschneid10
Replied To:  Correction. I found an obituary for Spears stating that he had been...
I had never spoken with anyone else who lost a loved one on that flight and am very appreciative of having this opportunity. Thank you.

The combination of unanswered questions, emotions that came with the tragedy and feeling of isolation certainly made coping a monumental task.

I am very sorry for your loss as well.

I will try and be more careful when I write because I again misstated when I said that the obit was dated May 3, 1959. It was May 3, 1969. During the ten years after Flight 967 Spears spent time in Alcatraz for the federal charge and San Quintin for the abortion charge. He was released, disappeared and died in Dallas Texas. His wife was something like thirty years his junior but she did not have anything to do with him when he was released from prison for the last time. He had two children one of which died young due to an illness. I know his criminal history far predated 1959. He had been incarcerated at Leavenworth, KS several years earlier among several other times he spent in prison.

There were six or seven bodies recovered from the flight. My mother was one of them. The analysis from the remains led to the conclusions that all were seated and the injuries were caused by an explosion.

There were no radio communications from the flight indicating any problems or distress. They simply disappeared from radar. The last believed visual report was made by a military sentry posted about 30 miles from where the flight was believed to have been when it disappeared. He simply reported having seen a hugh flash in the sky and then nothing. This was considered important in that there originally was disagreement as to whether the plane crashed and disintegrated or was blown out of the air.

The original investigation surrounded rumors that it was a mob hit as there was a big time mobster from Chicago on the flight. It wasn't until the irregularities of the insurance payouts surfaced that the investigation shifted toward Spears.

Interestingly, my family also lived in Chicago at the time. My father attended Northwestern as did several other family members. We left Chicago early 1961 to get a fresh start in CA and my father served as a local regent for Northwestern for the next forty years.

My mother was interred at a family plot in a cemetery in Chicago and last year we made a family decision to have her disinterred, cremated and re-interred here in Southern CA where she now rests with her mother and hopefully far in the future her sister.

I have several other commentaries from Federal Aviation investigative agencies, some newspaper articles and what nots. I'd be happy to email them to you if you are interested. Also, I have a copy of Flight 967 and if you have trouble finding it I'd be happy to send it to you. It gave me a great deal of comfort knowing somebody tried to do something. Unfortunately, there was a good deal of conclusions made that were inaccurate such as the belief Spears died in prison.

My recent renewed interest was sparked by an article in the LA Times recently. It was about a man who has a voluntary team dedicated to finding missing downed
military planes. They had just located a woman fighter pilots plane in the bay of Santa Monica. She had disappeared in 1955.

I emailed him and asked if new technology might help in finding flight 967. And if so how might I go about instigating a renewed search. He replied that he works on the west coast but would forward my inquiry to others who might be of assistance.

Again, I hope this is helpful information and I am happy to pass along any other information you'd like to ask about. I don't really have that much, but then no body really does.
           
 
leececilcty1
10/22/09
replied to: cschneid10
Replied To:  I had never spoken with anyone else who lost a loved one on that fl...
Hello, I will make this a short note (but I will, and do want to repond to your latest post.) At your suggestion I went to Amazon.com to inquire about the book. There was one available and I immediately purchased it. Should arrive soon and I am anxious in one way to see and read it, in another way, I'm not sure. I'm sure you understand. I truly appreciate your offer to loan me your book if I was unable to find it. Thank you so very much. I did aquire a copy of the Civil Aeronautics Board findings which is dated 6/11/62. Some day soon I WILL find my box of clippings. Whatever you have that you might want to email me, would be most appreciative. As I said, I should be getting the book soon - hope it is in good condition. Best to you for now.
           
 
wdiana
11/30/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  My brother-in-law was the Flight Engineer on this flight. I have no...
Hi, i like you, lost a relative on flight 967. my uncle was a last minute passenger. i have done extensive research on this subject. i even went as far as contacting Dr. robert ballard (the scientist who discovered the titanic) about the possibility of locating the wreckage of flight 967. he thought it was possible with science's advances. i also contacted the oceanographer of the US Navy who thought with all the sediment deposited in the area, it wouldn't be possible. i would like answers. it now has been 50 years and it seems like a forgotten part of history. spears did get away with murder. he did die a free man in 1969. how ironic - the man without a heart died of a heart attack? to add insult to injury, he is buried in the veterans section of a dallas cemetary. was your brother in law george clarke?
           
 
wdiana
11/30/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Thank you so much for your response - I honestly never expected to ...
If you are still looking for this book, i have several copies. spears died 5/2/1969. i have a copy of his death certificate.
           
 
leececilcty1
12/01/09
replied to: wdiana
Replied To:  Hi, i like you, lost a relative on flight 967. my uncle was a last...
Hello, I'm glad to get your response. And, I am, too, sorry for your loss. And, yes, my brother-in-law was (is) George Clark. Also, he was not supposed to be on that flight. His flight pattern was from Miami to NY, always. He had taken time off to be with my sister in her illness and he was called as a fill in for another FE. He had no choice, he had to take it.

I've had a post from another individual whose mother was on the plane and I never really expected I'd get a response. I really appreciate you both.

Like you, it is still hard to deal with even after 50 years, and it pretty much has been forgotten. I do believe the fact that the Titanic was located, so could this plane. I don't think it will ever happen, BUT I guess there is always a chance, however small.

I did not know Spears was buried as a veteran. Yes, that is adding insult to injury - he should be dug up and disposed of! I absolutely believe he was responsible for this and I am slowly going through the book - thank you for your offer, but I was able to get a copy from Amazon.com. It is still hard to read and try to figure how someone could do this to so many innocent people. As you said - man without a heart.
           
 
wdiana
12/02/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I'm glad to get your response. And, I am, too, sorry for you...
hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of recognition of this injustice. i wrote an article about flight 967 and submitted it to several newspapers . . . from boston to tampa to dallas. unfortunately, it was rejected. i can only surmise that the editors did not consider it newsworthy since it is old. but to me, 42 innocent people were denied justice. i found this site only after googling flight 967 to see if anyone ever took notice that it was the 50th anniversary. glad that i found this place and wish that we could talk in person! thanks for listening.
           
 
wdiana
12/02/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I'm glad to get your response. And, I am, too, sorry for you...
hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of recognition of this injustice. i wrote an article about flight 967 and submitted it to several newspapers etc. from boston to tampa to dallas. unfortunately, it was rejected. i can only surmise that the editors did not consider it newsworthy since it is old. but to me, 42 innocent people were denied justice. i found this site only after googling flight 967 to see if anyone ever took notice that it was the 50th anniversary. glad that i found this place and wish that we could talk in person! thanks for listening.
           
 
wdiana
12/02/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I'm glad to get your response. And, I am, too, sorry for you...
hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of recognition of this injustice. i wrote an article about flight 967 and submitted it to several newspapers etc. from boston to tampa to dallas. unfortunately, it was rejected. i can only surmise that the editors did not consider it newsworthy since it is old. but to me, 42 innocent people were denied justice. i found this site only after googling flight 967 to see if anyone ever took notice that it was the 50th anniversary. glad that i found this place and wish that we could talk in person! thanks for listening.
           
 
wdiana
12/02/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I'm glad to get your response. And, I am, too, sorry for you...
hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of recognition of this injustice. i wrote an article about flight 967 and submitted it to several newspapers etc. from boston to tampa to dallas. unfortunately, it was rejected. i can only surmise that the editors did not consider it newsworthy since it is old. but to me, 42 innocent people were denied justice. i found this site only after googling flight 967 to see if anyone ever took notice that it was the 50th anniversary. glad that i found this place and wish that we could talk in person! thanks for listening.
           
 
wdiana
12/02/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I'm glad to get your response. And, I am, too, sorry for you...
hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of recognition of this injustice. i wrote an article about flight 967 and submitted it to several newspapers etc. from boston to tampa to dallas. unfortunately, it was rejected. i can only surmise that the editors did not consider it newsworthy since it is old. but to me, 42 innocent people were denied justice. i found this site only after googling flight 967 to see if anyone ever took notice that it was the 50th anniversary. glad that i found this place and wish that we could talk in person! thanks for listening.
           
 
wdiana
12/02/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I'm glad to get your response. And, I am, too, sorry for you...
hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of recognition of this injustice. i wrote an article about flight 967 and submitted it to several newspapers etc. from boston to tampa to dallas. unfortunately, it was rejected. i can only surmise that the editors did not consider it newsworthy since it is old. but to me, 42 innocent people were denied justice. i found this site only after googling flight 967 to see if anyone ever took notice that it was the 50th anniversary. glad that i found this place and wish that we could talk in person. thanks for listening.
           
 
a9521b
12/25/09
replied to: wdiana
Replied To:  If you are still looking for this book, i have several copies. spe...
Hi:

I am new here my wife lost two relatives on that flight her grandfather,and a cousin both from Chicago. I can't not find the book! Can you help us obtain a copy.

Thank you
           
 
leececilcty1
12/25/09
replied to: a9521b
Replied To:  Hi: I am new here my wife lost two relatives on that flight h...
Hello,

I'm so pleased to get your response. Thank you. And my deepest sympathy for your wife's loss. It is still so hard to deal with even after all this time.

I was able to purchase a copy of Flight 967 by Brad Williams, through Amazon.com. Have you tried there? This was suggested to me by another respondent. Let me know if you are unable to obtain a copy and I would be glad to try and help you secure one.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
           
 
leececilcty1
12/25/09
replied to: a9521b
Replied To:  Hi: I am new here my wife lost two relatives on that flight h...
Hello, I have just responded to your email and am experiencing some "computer" problems. Would you respond when (if) you get this - I'm not sure I am getting through. I would greatly appreciate it.
           
 
leececilcty1
12/25/09
replied to: wdiana
Replied To:  hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of re...
Hello,

Just a follow-up - I sent a response to your message and (experiencing computer problems) I'm really not sure it actually got forwarded! IF you receive this, when you have time, would you respond to let me know? I would really appreciate it.
           
 
wdiana
12/26/09
replied to: a9521b
Replied To:  Hi: I am new here my wife lost two relatives on that flight h...
Hi, yes, i have an extra copy. send me your email address and we can make arrangements.
           
 
a9521b
12/26/09
replied to: wdiana
Replied To:  Hi, yes, i have an extra copy. send me your email address and we c...
I thank you for your speedy reply. Also thank you for the book a head of time.
My name is Allen Miller my e-mail address is bikerhd@hotmail.com.
           
 
a9521b
12/26/09
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I'm so pleased to get your response. Thank you. And my de...
I first want to thank you for your sympathy and also want to pass ours along to you for your lose also. Yes it is all the unanswered questions, she been searching like you have for years.
I believe another member has a copy of the book for us. My e-mail address is bikerhd@hotmail.com.

God Bless
           
 
leececilcty1
12/26/09
replied to: a9521b
Replied To:   I first want to thank you for your sympathy and also want to pass ...
Great! Glad my message(s) did get through. Also, that you will be able to get a copy of the book. Would love to hear from you at some later date. For all: my email is
leececilcounty1@verizon.net if you would also like to use that.

Best wishes to you.
           
 
leececilcty1
12/26/09
replied to: wdiana
Replied To:  hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of re...
I commend your attempts to get the attention of the "written" media. Unfortunately, as you surmised, it is old news and I'm afraid long forgotten by most. I cannot look at that date on the calendar without feeling pain, as you all do. I have to believe there is technology out there that really could locate the plane, but it will never happen.

Would be great if others discover this site and keep the connection going. I'm glad you still have copies of the book to share.

I also googled Flight 967 back in August and accessed the Civil Aeronatics Board findings dated June 11, 1962 and got to this site. I'm so glad I did and to be able to hear from others.

Blessings to you.

           
 
brucem
04/06/11
replied to: wdiana
Replied To:  hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of re...
Hello all, My name is Bruce Moody. My uncle Frank (Frank Todd) was the pilot of this flight. He died when I was 5 years old. My grandmother, Louise Todd, was his sister. She always had a photo on a table in her den of uncle Frank sitting in the cockpit of a DC-7. I just found a copy of the book everyone is talking about on Amazon.

My condolences to all who lost loved ones on the flight.
           
 
jeffm45
06/19/11
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  My brother-in-law was the Flight Engineer on this flight. I have no...
My grandfather and his nephew were on the plane too. I have the two books about the flight and a typewritten transcript of the report.
           
 
jeffm45
06/19/11
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Thank you so much for your response - I honestly never expected to ...
My grandfather and his nephew were on the flight. We are from Chicago.
           
 
jeffm45
06/19/11
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  Hello, I will make this a short note (but I will, and do want to re...
My grandfather and his nephew were on the flight too.
           
 
leececilcty1
07/04/11
replied to: jeffm45
Replied To:  My grandfather and his nephew were on the plane too. I have the two...
Surprised and so glad to get another response regarding this tragedy. And, my condolences of course for your loss. Do you still live in Chicago? I currently have a brother in Glenview, IL and I now live in Maryland.

Hard to think it has been so many years. You mentioned two books? I did not realize there was another book, other than Flt 967. Info on this 2nd book? And what is the date on your typewritten transcript? How does one go about getting a copy of this transcript?

Just doesn't seem as if it has been almost 52 years does it? Such a senseless thing to have happen to so many families. One day I will sit down with my box of clippings and put them in order. I think about it and can't get myself to do it!

Would love to hear back from you.
           
 
leececilcty1
07/04/11
replied to: jeffm45
Replied To:  My grandfather and his nephew were on the plane too. I have the two...
Surprised and so glad to get another response regarding this tragedy. And, my condolences of course for your loss. Do you still live in Chicago? I currently have a brother in Glenview, IL and I now live in Maryland.

Hard to think it has been so many years. You mentioned two books? I did not realize there was another book, other than Flt 967. Info on this 2nd book? And what is the date on your typewritten transcript? How does one go about getting a copy of this transcript?

Just doesn't seem as if it has been almost 52 years does it? Such a senseless thing to have happen to so many families. One day I will sit down with my box of clippings and put them in order. I think about it and can't get myself to do it!

Would love to hear back from you.
           
 
SharleneB
09/24/12
replied to: cschneid10
Replied To:  My mother was on this flight. It has always haunted me that the wre...
I would appreciate hearing from anyone whose family member was a victim of Flight 967. I am a Historic Interpreter on Alcatraz Island. We are always looking for stories of Alcatraz Inmates' victims, to balance out the plethora of stories we have about inmates. Robert Spears was incarcerated at Alcatraz. We want to remind our 5,000 visitors a day, who walk into the prison and comment: "How small that cell is," that victims' families are often serving longer "sentences" in smaller "cells" than the inmates.
           
 
SharleneB
09/24/12
replied to: wdiana
Replied To:  hi, i did not want the 50 year mark to pass without some sort of re...
I would appreciate hearing from anyone whose family member was a victim of Flight 967. I am a Historic Interpreter on Alcatraz Island. We are always looking for stories of Alcatraz Inmates' victims, to balance out the plethora of stories we have about inmates. Robert Spears was incarcerated at Alcatraz. We want to remind our 5,000 visitors a day, who walk into the prison and comment: "How small that cell is," that victims' families are often serving longer "sentences" in smaller "cells" than the inmates.
           
 
Ravinia39
10/05/12
replied to: cschneid10
Replied To:  Correction. I found an obituary for Spears stating that he had been...
Hard to believe since the airline incident was in November of that year
           
 
Ravinia39
10/05/12
replied to: leececilcty1
Replied To:  My brother-in-law was the Flight Engineer on this flight. I have no...
No real evidence because the wreckage was never found.
My grandfather and his nephew were on the flight .
I have a copy of the book.
Jeff
Jeff45m@gmail.com