60th Anniversary of Bearden Hijacking Case
A fibre of airline hijackings in 1961—including one by a father-son twin that was diffused by a impressive FBI representative in El Paso—led to new sovereign penalties for crimes aboard aircraft during what many courtesy as a golden age of flying.
By a summer of 1961, there had already been 3 hijacking attempts—two successful—in a U.S. that year. Then on Aug 3, a paroled bank pirate named Leon Bearden and his son Cody, 16, boarded Continental Airlines moody 54 in Phoenix along with 72 other passengers. They sat subsequent to any other in manager as a craft took off for El Paso, Texas.
Not prolonged after take-off, as many passengers dozed, a father and son signaled for a moody attendant to come to their seats. As she leaned in to sensitively ask what they needed, Leon Bearden shoved a snub-nosed revolver into her ribs and demanded that she take him to a pilots.
Entering a cockpit, Bearden systematic a pilots to fly to Mexico, intending to force them to fly from there to Cuba. When he was sensitive there was not adequate gas for a southern trip, he concluded to concede a devise to land in El Paso as planned. The craft landed only after 2 a.m.
The control building alerted law coercion as shortly as they satisfied a moody had been hijacked. Members of a FBI, El Paso Police Department, El Paso Sheriff’s Office, a Texas Department of Safety, and others all raced to a airport. The FBI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Francis Crosby took authority of a corner operations post and began to weigh a crisis.