Long before the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370, the disappearance of a twin-engine Cessna 310 in Alaska carrying two U.S. congressmen captured the headlines. The plane went down in Alaska in October 1972 during a rain storm, and nearly five decades later the cause of the crash — and the plane’s location — remain a mystery, despite a 39-day search that’s said to have been the largest in U.S. history. And as the new iHeartPodcast Network show Missing In Alaska lays out, there are more questions than ever about what really happened to Reps. Hale Boggs (D-LA) and Nick Begich (D-AK), the pilot and a political aide, after they boarded a plane traveling from Anchorage to Juneau on a campaign swing for Alaska’s only congressman.
“Despite a massive search, they’re never found. The case goes cold. That is, until I start researching it,” said New Orleans-based freelance journalist Jon Walczak, “What I found is one of the strangest stories you’ve never heard.” His investigation began in 2011 and has included the review of thousands of pages of government documents, interviews with dozens of sources, and took him from Arizona to the Arctic Circle. “What I’ve learned is bizarre and until now, largely untold,” said Walczak.
Investigators initially assumed the plane crashed after flying into violent weather, so they searched for wreckage but never found any. But the FBI case files includes mysterious radio transmissions and a 1995 story from a mobster who said the plane had been bombed. There is also a new lead on where the plane may be located. The crash led Congress to pass a law mandating the installation of emergency locator transmitters in all U.S. civil aircraft.
The first two episodes of Missing In Alaska were released on May 20 and iHeart says future episodes will be published on Wednesdays.