In 1928, the world's third-richest man inexplicably fell from an airplane

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My theory of why he fell:


Had he recently criticized Vladimir Putin’s grandparents?


Or had he recently been working on a Covid-19 vaccine?


I think you mean a Covid-25 vaccine.

Having googled the guy, I see that he was on his private airplane and went aft to use the bathroom, and the bathroom door was opposite the door to the outside, and when they went looking for him he was missing and the outside door was hanging open. So I’d say the headline should say he “explicably fell from an airplane”.


Whereupon, he relieved himself promptly. And then was relieved of self after a short flight.


oo, the plot thickens:

Crime writers Robert & Carol Bridgestock have speculated that Loewenstein faked his own death and disappeared because the financial irregularities in his businesses. This theory is supported by the facts that the body was buried in an unmarked grave and that his wife did not attend the funeral.

I did think it was odd they recovered the body, the odds of that seem rather slim?


Bodies float (unless you puncture and weigh them down properly) and tend to be washed ashore at one of a couple of places known for stuff being washed ashore. So not that suspicious.

And if this was done in order to fake his death there would have been at least 10 to 15 people, inside and outside the plane, involved in this. Doing a runner and living comfortably under a new identity takes a lot to arrange ahead of time.
There’d be less people involved if it was murder, but it wouldn’t be that different.

No, almost anything that happens,(even if it has huge consequences) is at its core utterly banal. Even when “important” people are involved.


When Emiliano Sala was on a plane that crashed into the Channel a couple of years ago, wreckage was found on nearby beaches soon after. The only reason that his body and the pilot’s had to be recovered from the sea bed was because they were strapped into the plane.


they explain in the podcast it would have been almost impossible to open the door in flight, and just as hard to keep it open while stepping through. and that everyone on the plane would have noticed - but no one did.

i think it’s more likely that he was never on the plane in the first place or dispatched before takeoff. that would require the fewest liers of the various scenarios.

i was wondering if he had some living relatives today that could be compared against the body’s dna. i have to imagine identifying a body floating for a few days was not hard science at the time


At cruising speed of approximately 100 knots, it would be very difficult to open the door against the slipstream, but I think it may be possible for a determined person to open the door far enough to squeeze themselves out. So suicide is a possibility but not accidental death.

However, the stall speed would be a little over half the cruise speed. Drag increases with the square of the speed, so the drag at half the speed would be considerably less.

At 50 knots would it be possible to bundle an unconscious/dead body out?


1% problems.

Yes, I agree. This is one of those stories where none of the popular accounts make any sense at all, so likely the accepted “facts” of the case are incorrect.

From years of listening to Futility Closet, this comes up all the time. It’s basically what happens in a world with no cameras, no recordings, no forensics, or any other way to gather real evidence. So weird things happen, people make up a bunch of stories, and we’ll likely never know what actually happened. Eyewitness testimony is nearly useless as evidence, as science has shown us.


Did he maybe land in the himalayas on a raft?


I have to imagine that it was not easy science, either.

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