Date: November 10, 1969
Flight Info: Delta Airlines Flight 670 from Cincinnati to Chicago.
The Story: A troubled 14-year-old from suburban Cincinnati, Booth had become distraught when his older brother moved to Massachusetts. On the day of the hijacking, he skipped school and went to the Cincinnati airport, where he attempted to purchase a ticket to Boston to see his brother. But no airline would take the check that Booth had stolen from his father. When he called home to explain his predicament, his father revealed that Booth had been reported as a truant, and that he was in for serious punishment that evening. With that threat looming, Booth decided to do something he had recently seen on television: hijack a plane to Europe to escape his troubles. His pulled out a butcher’s knife and grabbed the first person he saw, a ballet dancer named Gloria Jean House. “You’re going with me, you’re going to Sweden,” Booth told her as he dragged her through the airport. He managed to board Flight 670 with his hostage; the captain taxied out to the runway before revealing that the DC-9 had no ability to cross the Atlantic. After 90 minutes of negotiation, during which Booth requested passage to Mexico, a policeman convinced the youth to hand over his knife.
The Upshot: Booth was sentenced to six months in a home for troubled teenagers, an experience that helped him turn his life around. He went on to become a chemical-plant worker and father of two. In 2009, he attempted to contact his former hostage, but discovered that she had passed away in 1996 from throat cancer. “The one big regret I’ve had is that in 40 years I never was able to apologize to that girl,” he tearfully told a reporter upon learning of House’s untimely death. “Now I can’t. Oh, this is terrible.”
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