Martin J. McNally told us about his attempted prison break with Garrett Brock Trapnell. In this episode, we learn how Robin Oswald, the daughter of Barbara Ann Oswald, who tired to break Mac and Trapnell out of the Marion Illinois prison, would later attempt to hijack a plane and force the release of Trapnell. Mac had nothing to do with this second attempt and really had noting to do with the first attempt, except he was invited to go along by Trapnell.
In 1978, Robin Oswald, a 17-year-old high school dropout from suburban St. Louis, commandeered a flight en route to Kansas City from Louisville, KY. She sat of one of the back rows and communicated through notes handed to flight attendants. Oswald said she had dynamite taped underneath her bulky sweater. Witnesses said wires ran from a row of sticks to a triggering device, which resembled a door bell. Trapnell, who was serving a life sentence at the federal penitentiary in Marion, Ill. for a 1972 hijacking, was in an Illinois courtroom facing charges of his last attempted escape.
Oswald delivered her hijack note when the plane was only eight miles from touching down in Kansas City. Oswald, ordered the seats near her cleared, stayed in the back. Without explanation from the attendants, the passengers were crowded into the front rows and aisle. They learned they had been hijacked when Oswald insisted the pilots pipe their radio transmissions through the passenger cabin so she could hear the conversations. Unknown to her, the pilots still talked discreetly with TWA officials on a second radio.
“I figured she was going to suffocate everybody,” said Barnett Helzberg, who was returning to Kansas City from Cincinnati and sat not too far from Oswald. Mr Helzberg, a Kansas City jewelry store owner, and the other passengers would soon escape leaving Ms. Oswald alone with the flight crew.
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