Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Saturday, October 06, 2012
10/06/12 at 3:17 AM
1972 - Train crash kills 200
A train loaded with more than 2,000 poverty-stricken Mexicans returning to their homes from a religious pilgrimage to Real Del Castorce, where they had prayed for "better luck in life," derailed near Saltillo, Mexico, killing more than 200.
The train was going 75 miles an hour on a downgrade curve where the maximum speed was supposed to be 40 mph when it hurtled off the tracks. The engineer, fireman and a brakeman confessed they were drinking and partying with female companions who had boarded the train on a brief stop 100 miles before the crash.
Criminal charges were filed against the three, but no information could be found about the results.
1976 - Cuban plane blasted
Two bombs placed by terrorists aboard Cuban Flight 455 exploded shortly after the plane took off from Bridgetown, Barbados, sending the plane crashing into the Atlantic Ocean and killing all 73 people on board.
The explosion came less than three months after a bomb ripped apart the Barbados office of British West Indian Airways, the local agent for Cuba.
1979 - Pope, Carter confer
Pope John Paul II and President Jimmy Carter discussed support for the relief of "starving people and refugees" during a 45-minute private meeting in the White House before the pope spoke publicly on the White House lawn. John Paul, the first pope to visit the White House, told Carter that he came as "the messenger of peace and brotherhood."
Pope Paul VI had met with President Lyndon Johnson in a New York hotel in 1965 but did not visit the White House. The pontiff celebrated Mass for an estimated 1 million people the next day at New York City's Central Park before leaving for Rome.
1981 - Sadat assassinated
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, whose peace with Israel changed the course of Middle East history, was assassinated by six Egyptian soldiers who jumped from a truck during a parade and charged the reviewing stand while firing automatic weapons and throwing grenades. Many thought it was part of the show that included a parade marking the anniversary of what Egypt called a "glorious Arab victory" in an Arab war against Israel. Two of the attackers were killed and the others captured.
Pope John Paul II waves from his vehicle to a large crowd in Washington, D.C. Associated Press file