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Last updated: 15 July 2020
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 6 January 1960
Time:02:38
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-6B
Operator:National Airlines
Registration: N8225H
C/n / msn: 43742/300
First flight: 1952
Total airframe hrs:24836
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Total:Fatalities: 34 / Occupants: 34
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:2,4 km (1.5 mls) NW of Bolivia, NC (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY (IDL/KIDL), United States of America
Destination airport:Miami International Airport, FL (MIA/KMIA), United States of America
Flightnumber:2511
Narrative:
National Airlines flight 601 was scheduled nonstop Boeing 707 jet flight from New York-Idlewild to Miami. The 707, which was leased from PanAm, suffered a maintenance issue and was substituted by a Lockheed L-188 Electra and a Douglas DC-6.
The DC-6 was re-designated flight 2511 and departed Idlewild at 23:34 hours. The flight proceeded routinely in accordance with its flight plan until shortly after passing Wilmington, North Carolina.
At 02:31 the crew contacted the company radio station at Wilmington while over Carolina Beach at 18000 feet, and transmitted a routine progress report. Shortly after the completion of this radio contact a dynamite explosion occurred in the passenger cabin. This explosion severely impaired the structural integrity of the aircraft and after making a wide descending right turn, it experienced in flight disintegration and crashed 1,5 miles northwest of Bolivia at 02:38 some 16 miles west of its intended flight path.

An investigation showed that the dynamite was detonated by means of dry cell batteries and that the device was placed at a point beneath the extreme right seat of seat row 7. Part of the fuselage broke away, striking the no.3 propeller.
Mr. Julian A. Frank (32) was in close proximity to the dynamite charge when the detonation occurred. He had lost several hundred thousand dollars in bad investments in 1959 and was under investigation on charges of defrauding his clients. In the six months before his death he bought nearly $900,000 in life insurance, with his wife and children as beneficiaries.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident was caused by the detonation of dynamite within the passenger cabin."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 205 days (7 months)
Accident number: File 1-0002
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Sabotage
Loss of control

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 64-AN/58 (96-99)
» Bomber's deed stings 50 years after crash (newsobserver.com)


Photos

photo of Douglas-DC-6B-N8225H
 

Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY to Miami International Airport, FL as the crow flies is 1745 km (1091 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Douglas DC-6

  • 704 built
  • 42nd loss
  • 30th fatal accident
  • 14th worst accident (at the time)
  • 28th worst accident (currently)
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