CBS News archives: Unprecedented number of "skyjackings" in '72

The hijacking of Delta Airlines flight 841 by fugitive George Wright and others was one of more than 60 such acts that year

On July 31, 1972, Delta Airlines flight 841 was boarding passengers in Detroit headed for Miami when the flight was taken over by eight passengers. Among them, a man later identified as George Wright, a fugitive who had been convicted of murdering New Jersey World War II hero Walter Patterson.

48 Hours: The Hunt for Mr. Wright

Patterson, armed and dressed as a priest, made the hijackers' demands crystal clear. CBS News cameras were there.

Click on the video above to watch news reports of the events and aftermath from CBS News in Miami, Boston, Atlanta and Detroit.

Over 60 planes were skyjacked in 1972, and people were killed during the attempts. Holding the planes for ransom became the biggest reason for the skyjackings.

That year, CBS News broadcast a special report "Whatever happened to '72?" Correspondent Walter Cronkite introduced a report by colleague Douglas Edwards on the unprecedented number of skyjackings that occurred that year.

CBS News also went undercover to test how well metal detectors worked in "Is this man a hijacker?"

Click on the video below to watch those reports.

More From 48 Hours

Comments