KAKE Archives: Man killed in 1958 bomb explosion at Wichita airport

By: KAKE News, AP Email
By: KAKE News, AP Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- A Wichita man is in federal custody after authorities say he planned to blow up Mid-Continent Airport on Friday. But this isn't the first time Wichita's airport has been the target of a bomb plot.

A makeshift bomb exploded in the lobby of Wichita’s multimillion dollar municipal airport on October 17, 1958, killing its bearer.

The police chief at the time, Eugene Pond, said the blast victim was Forrest Don McCuiston of Tulsa, Okla.

McCuiston’s right hand had been blown off at the wrist and the force of the explosion mangled his body.

No other casualties were reported. Dozens of windows were shattered, but there was no fire.

Joann Embree, a car rental clerk, witnessed the blast and said she narrowly escaped picking up the bomb a few seconds before it exploded. She said McCuiston approached her counter and asked for change for a quarter.

“I gave him the change and watched him make a brief telephone call,” she said.

After the call, McCuiston came back to the rental desk and asked Embree where he could find the lost-and-found department. She gave him directions, and he placed a brown paper-wrapped package and a leather briefcase on the counter.

She said she reached out to take the package and actually touched it when McCuiston said “no” and grabbed the briefcase and package, then walked away.

Embree said he had walked about 40 feet when the bomb exploded.

Chief Pond said every available man was immediately placed on the case. The FBI was also at the scene.

The leather briefcase McCuiston carried seemed to be undamaged, police said, and was taken to the police laboratory by Clyde Bevis, who you can see carrying it in the added slideshow. It was carried to an open area first, because police feared another bomb might have been in it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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