Crash of Cathay Pacific flight CX700Z 15 June 1972
On June 15, 1972 I was the first on the scene at a crash site for a Cathay Pacific jet. It was the rainy season in the Highlands of Vietnam when the report came in to the 17th Combat Aviation Group TOC at Camp Holloway of a civilian jet crashing south of Pleiku. We were tasked to send an aircraft down to investigate the report. The weather that day was bad with low clouds and heavy rain. I flew down in a UH-1H helicopter to see if we could locate the crash site. We found the wreckage and it was a mess. No survivors. People were still strapped into their seats and luggage was scattered everywhere along with parts of the plane. After looking over the site from a low recon, it was clear the plane had blown up at a high altitude. It was a dicey flight back to Camp Holloway through bad weather.
Over the coming week or so, after an ARVN infantry unit was put in to secure the area, a number of inspectors were flown to the site and vehicles were sent to recover the bodies and personal items. As far as I know there were no enemy attacks at the site. I often wondered what had happened. Recently, I found out what had happened to the flight.
A police officer from Thailand apparently put a bomb on the aircraft under his wife’s seat to collect insurance money on his wife and children. He was never found guilty because of lack of evidence. He died in 1984. He was the prime suspect but the case could never be made that he did it. The insurance company would not pay until he sued them and got a payout much later.
A long ago mystery for me finally closed out.
Crash of Cathay Pacific flight CX700Z, 15 June 1972
Jack Heslin <Jgheslin@gmail.com>
Carolina Shores, NC USA - Monday, April 20, 2020 at 13:26:53 (EDT)