Inside The Unsolved Bombing Of Flight 2511

One of the United States' oldest unsolved plane crashes is the bombing of Flight 2511. Here's what we do know about the crash: On January 6, 1960, a huge explosion in the air rocked the Cape Fear, North Carolina area, according to reports from WECT News. It was a plane headed to Miami, Florida, after taking off from Idlewild Airport in New York, reports World History Project.

The 105 passengers boarded the Boeing 707 plane for a 9:15 p.m. flight, but were delayed when the ground crew spotted a crack in the windshield, according to WECT News. Passengers were relocated to two other planes. 76 people boarded a Lockheed Electra, which took off and landed without incident. The other 29 remaining passengers took off for Florida in a DC-6B plane at 11:51 p.m. This plane, also known as National Airlines Flight 2511, would never make it to Miami.

After boarding National Airlines Flight 2511 with a large bag, a passenger allegedly rigged dry cell batteries with dynamite, and placed it under his seat, located close to the airplane's wings. After the bomb went off, pieces of the airplane fell over a 13-mile span of Kure Beach in North Carolina.

The motive behind the bombing

History of Yesterday reports that a local family was the first to spot the crash. Richard Randolph and his family lived on a small farm in Bolivia, North Carolina, and were awoken in the middle of the night by a flash of fire in the sky. When McArthur Randolph, Richard's son, awoke the next morning, he found the farm was covered with bodies and scraps of debris from the plane. The family alerted officials, and soon the U.S. Marines sent 40 people to assist with the search for remains and evidence.

Investigators compiled more than 550 pages of evidence about the flight over an investigation that lasted six months. The prevailing theory was that Julian Frank, one of the plane's passengers, was responsible for the bombing. As a lawyer, Frank was under investigation for charity fraud of more than $1 million. Frank had recently taken out close to $1 million in life insurance policies, and was reportedly involved in "'unscrupulous' business dealings," causing him to act erratically in the weeks leading up to the incident (via WECT). Investigators believe the attack was a murder-suicide, per History of Yesterday.

A total of 34 people lost their lives, making it "one of the worst air disasters in Southeastern North Carolina history," according to World History Project. Despite the evidence available, the case still remains open today.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.