On September 8, 1974, a Boeing 707-331B (tail number N8734) operating as TWA Flight 841 took off from Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv en route to JFK International Airport, New York City. It was scheduled to land in Athens, followed by Rome, and then proceed to New York. After stopping for 68 minutes in Athens, it departed for Rome. About 30 minutes after takeoff, the plane crashed into the Ionian Sea. The out of control aircraft was observed by crew on the flight deck of Pan Am 110. They watched the aircraft execute a steep climb, the separation of an engine from the wing, and the death spiral. All 79 passengers and nine crew members were killed.
Although the idea of terrorism was initially scoffed at, the National Transportation Safety Board determined later that the plane was destroyed by a bomb hidden in the cargo hold, which caused structural failure resulting in uncontrollable flight.
A youth organization in Beirut claimed responsibility for putting a guerilla on board with a bomb, and suspicion has fallen on Abu Nidal and his terror organization. This was the first known instance of a young Arab boarding an American plane in a suicide mission, predating the September 11 attacks by nearly three decades.