The 1966 movie Doomsday Flight starring Edward Asner inspired an Englishman by the name of Peter Macari to pull a fast one. Did you ever see the 1994 movie Speed starring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock? In which a bomb aboard a city bus will go off unless the speed of the bus is kept above 50mph? Well Doomsday flight has the same plot, only instead of a bus we’ve got us a plane and that’s what triggered extortionist Peter Macari’s imagination.
May 26 1971 Qantas flight 755 from Sydney to Hong Kong is half an hour into flight, the Boeing 707 carries 128 passengers when a call is placed to the Australian Federal Police, the man on the line says that there’s a bomb aboard the jet plane and that if the plane descends bellow 6500m. The bomb will go boom! Killing everyone on board, but that for the generous amount of $500,000 in cash he’s willing to reveal where the bomb is. To prove that his story is no cock and bull, the man on the phone calling himself Mr. Brown directs the PoPo to a locker inside of the Sydney International Airport in which the police find a bomb identical to the one that Mr. Brown claimed is on board of flight 775.
Right after proving that the bomb in the locker was the real McCoy, officials crapped their collective pants—this playa was for real. By 3 p.m Mr. Brown called with instructions on how they should deliver the $500,000(used and unmarked bills please).
At the height of rush hour traffic a van pulled up in front of Qantas House, as instructed, the Qantas general manager himself pushed a suitcase full of moola into the van’s window. The van disappeared into the city’s hectic traffic.
Final phone call comes in at 6:20 pm, Mr. Brown says.
“Relax you fucking wankers,” (apparently with a Jason Statham cockney accent). “There is no bloody bomb on ya fucking plane mates, I was taking a pisser, you can land the fucker…”
There was no bomb aboard the plane after all. The threat had been a hoax.
Then the trail went cold.
Three months later, by October to be precise, all that money produced a burning itch in the hands of Peter Macari (The original Mr. Brown—as supposed to Mr. Shit) and his accomplice, a cat by the name of Raymond James Ponting. These two playas went on a spending spree, buying all sorts of high ticket items, mainly cars. The cop’s perked up, and arrested Raymond who quickly dropped the dime on the mastermind Peter Macari, who was tracked down and quickly arrested with $138,000 stashed in his home.
Raymond James Ponting was sentenced to seven years while Macari was handed a fifteen years sentence, but after only serving nine years of that sentence, in 1980 he was deported back to England—ironically on a Qantas jet plane, no less, and claiming he had nothing left of the money, despite the fact that a huge chunk of change was still missing.
Then the plot became thick porridge.
See, after receiving the $500,000 ransom, back in Australia, Macari took the identity of another Englishman he befriended, a man by the name of William Day. With that name Macari opened a shit load of bank accounts and even bought himself a Jaguar using the man’s name. William Day’s family hasn’t heard from him since 1970, and to this day Mr. William Day remains missing.
Don’t forget to remember the victims–Verge Le Noir.