Mexicana Flight 575 was scheduled to depart Mexico City for a flight to Oaxaca at 07:00. At the plane’s doorstep a small but heavy travel bag was given to flight attendant Irma Carranza. The man, who was not a passenger of flight 575, said the bag was going to be picked up by a passenger later on. He insisted that the bag be left in the aft galley near the door.
After all 17 passengers had boarded the plane, departure was delayed because a flight attendant who was assigned to flight 577 wanted to change shift with Irma Carranza. While waiting for her colleague to arrive, Irma cleared the aft galley and moved the bag to the front baggage compartment, between the passenger cabin and the flight deck. After a delay of approximately 40 minutes, the DC-3 took off for Oaxaca. About 45 minutes into the flight with the first officer on the controls and the captain working on the logbook, a bomb exploded causing a big hole on the left side of the fuselage just aft of the cockpit.
Shrapnel struck the left engine and windshields were shattered. In the cabin, two passengers suffered broken legs because the baggage compartment wall had collapsed and three other passengers were injured by shrapnel.
With no instruments, very limited visibility, still baffled by the explosion the crew circled looking for a break in the cloud cover. After half an hour, the captain descended through the clouds and found the Santa Lucía Air Force Base where a safely landing was carried out.
It appeared that the bag that had been given to the flight attendant, contained a time-bomb. Two men had planned to collect eight life insurance policies bought for the same number of passengers who where previously hired to work in a fictitious hotel in the city of Oaxaca. After the investigation, two suspects where arrested and convicted to 40 years in prison.
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