Before cult leader Jim Jones convinced more than 900 people in Guyana to kill themselves, or be killed, in an act of what he called "revolutionary suicide," he had plotted to hijack an airplane and crash it into the city of San Francisco. The hijacking plans and other ideas Jones explored to kill his congregation and others have come to light in a forthcoming book by Julia Scheeres, titled "A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown." From the Bay Citizen:
The San Francisco hijacking plot progressed to the point where beginning in 1975, Maria Katsaris, 21, a close associate and lover of Jones, attended the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics in Oakland. Academy records confirm that a church paid her tuition.
Katsaris earned a private pilot's license and began commercial jet training, but church officials instructed her to attend school only long enough to learn how to take the plane's controls after storming the cockpit and killing the pilots, according to Teri Buford O'Shea, one of four church members who knew of the plot, and the only one of the four to survive the mass suicide in Guyana.
"They told her she didn't have to learn how to land, only how to fly," O'Shea said in an interview. She said the plane was to have been a chartered commercial jet filled with members of the church's hierarchy, which was called the planning commission and numbered about 200 people.
Jones reportedly wanted to kill commission members who he believed were undermining his leadership. He would not be on the flight.
"Jim Jones plotted 9/11-Like Attack" (The Bay Citizen)
"A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown" by Julia Scheeres (Amazon)