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A Close Call on Airplane Changed David Koch's Life

Conservative champion is dead at 79
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2019 12:20 PM CDT
A 2011 photo of David Koch.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – Even casual followers of politics are likely familiar with the name of David Koch. After all, he and his brother Charles, with whom he ran the behemoth Koch Industries business, essentially reshaped American politics by steering huge amounts of money to conservative candidates and causes, reports NPR. David Koch's death at age 79 has prompted no shortage of analyses about his influence on politics (more on that later), but the obituaries also are highlighting other aspects of what was by all accounts an eventful, and controversial, life:

  • Plane scare: David Koch was living as a "freewheeling bachelor" in New York City in 1991 when a plane tragedy changed his life, reports the Washington Post. The airliner he was on collided with another aircraft on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport and caught fire. Koch escaped with burns to his lungs, and more than 30 others died. He later called the experience "spiritual" and life-altering. He soon settled down, "and since then I've been busy doing all the good works I can think of." Koch would go on to become a major US philanthropist.

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