Disappearance and search
As Majority Leader, Boggs often campaigned for others. On October 16, 1972, he was aboard a twin engine Cessna 310 with Representative Nick Begich of Alaska, who was facing a possible tight race in the November 1972 general election against the Republican candidate Don Young, when it disappeared during a flight from Anchorage to Juneau. The only others on board were Begich’s aide, Russell Brown, and the pilot, Don Jonz; the four were heading to a campaign fundraiser for Begich. (Begich won the 1972 election posthumously with 56 percent to Young’s 44 percent, though Young would win the special election to replace Begich and has won every election to the seat since then.)
In the largest search ever mounted by the U.S. military, Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force planes searched for the party. On November 24, 1972, after 39 days, the search was abandoned. Neither the wreckage of the plane nor the pilot’s and passengers’ remains were ever found. The accident prompted Congress to pass a law mandating Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT’s) in all U.S. civil aircraft.
Speculation, suspicions, and theories
The events surrounding Boggs’ death have been the subject of much speculation, suspicion, and numerous conspiracy theories. These theories often center on his membership on the Warren Commission. Boggs dissented from the Warren Commission’s majority who supported the single bullet theory. Regarding the single bullet theory, Boggs commented, “I had strong doubts about it.” In the Robert Ludlum novel, The Matarese Circle, Boggs was killed to stop his investigation of the Kennedy assassination.
Some tie Boggs’ death to alleged corruption charges, or to his outspoken opposition to powerful Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover. Some people, including several of Begich’s children, have suggested that Richard Nixon had a hand in Boggs’ death in order to thwart the Watergate investigation. However, none of these theories has ever been proved, and one of Boggs’ children — journalist Cokie Roberts — has publicly stated that the rumors about Boggs’ wanting to reopen the Kennedy assassination case are completely false. –
Nick Begich is Mark’s father.
And incidentally, Hale Boggs is Cokie Roberts’s father.