It's been 24 years today that John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, took off on a humid, windy, and hazy night in a single-engine Piper 32 Saratoga aircraft from Caldwell, N.J., en route to the Martha's Vineyard Airport, but never arrived KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Monday, July 17, 2023

It's been 24 years today that John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, took off on a humid, windy, and hazy night in a single-engine Piper 32 Saratoga aircraft from Caldwell, N.J., en route to the Martha's Vineyard Airport, but never arrived

It's been 24 years today that John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, took off on a humid, windy, and hazy night in a single-engine Piper 32 Saratoga aircraft from Caldwell, N.J., en route to the Martha's Vineyard Airport, but never arrived.

John's single-engine, six-seat Piper Saratoga I took off from Essex County Airport in Fairfield, N.J., at 8:38 p.m. Friday for the hour-long flight to Martha's Vineyard. At Martha's Vineyard, John was to drop off Lauren. From there, John and Carolyn were to fly on to the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod's Hyannis Port for the marriage of Rory Kennedy.

John's plane came close enough to an American Airlines plane that a radar controller alerted the crew on the jetliner. The last signal from the plane was transmitted at 9:39 pm, and at 9:41 p.m, the plane spiraled through the darkening sky, slamming into the Atlantic Ocean.

More than 24 hours after the plane vanished, there still was no sign of survivors, and fear grew that the star-crossed political dynasty had suffered another tragedy. As family members gathered to pray, instead of celebrating a wedding, debris indicating the plane had broken apart began washing up on the southern beaches of Martha's Vineyard.

Witnesses reported finding a headrest, portions of landing gear, carpeting, and a prescription bottle bearing Carolyn Kennedy's name. The Kennedy plane was found in about 100 feet of water 7.5 miles southwest of Martha's Vineyard on July 21, 1999. The first sign of wreckage was recovered 100 yards off Philbin Beach in Aquinnah. Navy divers recovered the bodies of John, Carolyn, and Lauren. They were all strapped in their seatbelts in the aircraft wreckage, with Kennedy still in the cockpit.

Americans mourned the loss of the "crown prince" of one of the country's most admired families, a sadness that was especially poignant given the relentless string of tragedies.

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