Conspiracy theories claiming the 1961 plane crash that killed UN chief Dag Hammarskjold was orchestrated by the US government and its allies have been circulating for years—and may have just gained some weight. A fresh investigation into the Swedish diplomat's death has uncovered a "significant amount of evidence" that his Douglas DC-6 plane was brought down by another aircraft while on a peace mission in Africa, according to a UN report seen by the Guardian. The report—based on undisclosed data provided by the US, UK, Belgium, Canada, and Germany—adds that both the US and UK had spies or surveillance aircraft near Ndola, in what is now Zambia, and intercepted radio traffic at the time the plane was brought down near Ndola's airport.
Both the US and UK should therefore have evidence that, if presented, could solve the 56-year-old mystery, former Tanzanian chief justice Mohamed Chande Othman writes in the report. He notes the appointment of independent officials to search US and UK archives "is a step that must be taken before this matter … may rest." But based on the evidence compiled so far—including witness accounts describing other aircraft in the area and flames coming from Hammarskjold's plane before impact—"it appears plausible that external attack or threat may have been a cause of the crash," Othman concludes. He also notes evidence may back up the theory that a Belgian pilot working for rebels in the area mistakenly hit the plane with a warning shot meant to keep the plane from landing. (Read more Dag Hammarskjold stories.)