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March 24th in History

    2018-10-03

March 24th in History
Mr Biggs returned to Brazil after the incident

1981: Biggs rescued after kidnapping

England have

Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs has been rescued by Barbados police following his kidnapping.

The 52-year-old, on the run from UK police, was found on a yacht which had broken down seven miles from the coast of Barbados.

The crew of the yacht, believed to be all British, were taken for questioning.

Reports suggest Mr Biggs was taken from a bar in Rio de Janeiro on 18 March where he was due to meet some new friends.

The men turned up and, following a brief chat, bundled Mr Biggs into a waiting car.

From there it is believed they took him by plane to the coast where they boarded a yacht bound for Barbados.

The kidnap is thought to be an attempt to get Mr Biggs extradited to serve the rest of his sentence in the UK.

He has been on the run since 1965 when he escaped from Wandsworth Prison where he was serving 30 years for his involvement in the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

The men who carried out the kidnap are reported to be members of a security firm headed by Patrick King and John Miller.

Speaking about the kidnap Mr Miller said: "There was certainly, never at any stage any collusion between us. It wasn't that we wanted to bring him back personally, it was just a job. If we hadn't done it someone else certainly would have."

Asked about the suggestion the whole thing was staged Mr Miller said: "Ronnie Biggs never agreed to come with us. All I want to do now is get the guys out of jail and get them back home. We have no intention of selling the story to the press."

Britain and Brazil are both fighting to have Mr Biggs returned to their shores when he is released from questioning.

Former Detective Superintendent Jack Slipper, the man who led the initial hunt for Mr Biggs said: "I would have liked him to come back under his own steam or under some other legal method."

March 24th in History
The view from Ranger 9 about three seconds before impact (picture: Nasa)

1965: Millions watch space probe crash into Moon

Artificially 1969:
The Divers have raised the wreck of Donald Campbell's boat, Bluebird, from the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria.

The boat had lain there since the accident in 1967 which killed Campbell, 46, as he attempted to break the world water speed record.

The craft was winched to the surface after a three-hour operation to tow it to the lakeside from its resting place, 150 feet (45 metres) below the surface of the lake.

The quest to raise the boat was led by diver Bill Smith.

Mr Smith said he was glad they had reached the boat as there was always the risk that less scrupulous souvenir hunters could get there first.

"You can see now she's in a remarkable state of preservation and she'll not rot away to nothing now, she can be kept this way," he said.

A crowd of more than 50 people gathered at the shore and saw the tail of Bluebird, emblazoned with a Union Jack, float to the surface aided by four orange air bags.

Campbell's widow Tonia Bern-Campbell flew from her home in America to witness the occasion.

Donald Campbell was trying to break his own water speed record of 276mph (429.87 km/h) on 4 January 1967, when the boat vaulted from the lake's surface.

It somersaulted repeatedly before crashing and sinking.

His body was never found and no remains have been discovered in the wreckage.

The Bluebird was discovered by enthusiasts late last year after a four-year hunt.

There were reportedly divisions among Campbell's family over whether it should be raised from its resting place.

Some family members wanted it left as a memorial to him.

The future of Bluebird is yet to be decided but she could be restored and put on display as a tribute to Donald Campbell.

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