Date: May 28, 1971
Flight Info: Eastern Air Lines Flight 30 from Miami to New York.
The Story: A former New York City motorcycle cop, Bennett took over the plane near Wilmington, Del., by claiming to have a vial of acid and a bomb concealed on his body. Curiously, he ordered the pilot to keep flying to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the flight’s intended destination. But he insisted that Eastern officials bring his ex-wife and a New York City police supervisor to meet the plane. Bennett’s wife refused to leave her Long Island home, however, so the hijacker ordered the flight to take off once more. He wanted to go to Shannon, Ireland, but was told that the jet didn’t have the necessary range. He settled for passage to Nassau in the Bahamas, where he wanted to be given $500,000 by “an Eastern official and a member of the Irish Republican Army.” At the Nassau airport, as he crossed the tarmac to collect his ransom, Bennett was tackled by a 240-pound Eastern pilot who was posing as an IRA commander. The hijacker was thoroughly searched for explosives, but all he had was a half-empty package of breath mints.
The Upshot: Acquitted of air piracy by reason of insanity. In 1975, he attempted to rob a Chemical Bank on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, telling a bank employee, “Give me enough money to buy my girl a Cadillac.” His fate beyond that bizarre incident is unknown.
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