The Julian Frank Story

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 nears, renewed attention is being paid to the thousands of people — including several Westporters — killed in those awful terrorist attacks.

But that was not the 1st time a plane was used to kill people.

More than 50 years ago, a terrorist blew up a plane over North Carolina.  All 34 on board were killed.

The terrorist was believed to be Julian Frank:  a lawyer living in Westport.

It was January 6, 1960.  The flight — National Airlines #2511 — was bound from Idlewild Airport (now JFK) in New York to Miami.  At 2:38 a.m., it crashed near Wilmington, North Carolina.

A National Airlines Douglas DC-6B -- the type of plane allegedly blown up by Julian Frank.

According to Wikipedia, the remains of one passenger — Frank — were missing from the accident site.  His body was finally found — 16 miles away.

Frank’s autopsy showed that he had been killed by a dynamite explosion “originating either in his lap or (more likely) immediately under his seat.”

Investigators believed it to be a murder-suicide.  Frank was under investigation for fraud and embezzlement — and had taken out large amounts of life insurance just before boarding the plane.

A number of Westporters were questioned by the FBI, regarding what they knew about Julian Frank.  Yet authorities could never conclusively prove that he was the bomber.  No charges were ever brought — and the investigation remains officially open.

2 responses to “The Julian Frank Story

  1. So who collected the insurance money? Just curious.

  2. Maren Lauder

    His wife. She lived on Ellery Lane and my parents bought the house I grew up in from her for $45,000. It appeared in the NY Times that they had bought “The Julian Frank Estate”. My grandparents were in a panic when they read it. By estate, the times meant a 4 bedroom split level on an acre of ground.