Born on March 11, 1877, the world’s third richest billionaire Alfred Léonard Loewenstein came from a family of high-class bankers. He founded the hydroelectric power company Société Internationale d’Énergie Hydro-Électrique, which has strong banking ties and targets developing countries globally.
From a young age, Alfred was carefully educated by his father, Mr. Bernard, a German-Jewish financier. As an adult, he founded a Belgium-based bank – named Société Internationale d’Énergie Hydro-Électrique – targeting developing countries globally.
By providing electricity to third world countries, Loewenstein made a lot of money. He invested in items like precision synthetic silk before the price skyrocketed.
With the outbreak of World War I, Loewenstein had become one of the most powerful men in Europe. This became clear when, after the Belgian government was in exile as a neutral nation following the German invasion, Loewenstein offered the government $50 million interest-free – to buy himself all the country’s debt.
When the offer was turned down, he moved to England and opened a holding company in 1926. A single investment in the 1920s brought him more than $1 million.
Image of billionaire Alfred Léonard Loewenstein
The ill-fated flight took place on July 4. The flight manifest includes pilot Donald Drew, mechanic Robert Little, flight attendant Fred Baxter, secretary Arthur Hodgson, and coders Eileen Clarke and Paula Billiards. The Fokker Trimotor took off at around 6pm.
Loewenstein boarded a private jet and departed from Croydon Airport in England to return to Brussels. It was a trip he took quite often with his staff. The sky was clear when Loewenstein got up to use the restroom. But then he’s gone forever!
Loewenstein’s pilot, mechanic and four passengers were said to have no idea what had happened until Loewenstein’s secretary, Arthur Hodgson, noticed that the plane’s rear door was flapping in the wind. But the mystery of what actually happened to Alfred Loewenstein is still unsolved to this day.
The plane then made an immediate emergency landing on a beach near the Dunkirk area.
Illustration of a plane used by billionaires
Arrested by the French military, the six passengers were asked about the reasons for flying in the wrong airspace. Loewenstein’s body was found floating in the sea, near the Boulogne area a week later.
The UK Aviation Department carried out tests on the plane on July 12, concluding that the plane would not be able to open the back door if someone accidentally opened it.
Determined by the watch, Alfred Loewenstein’s body showed no signs of attempted murder. His death is believed to be an accident. However, there are still many theories that he was killed on the orders of his heirs or committed suicide before his empire fell.
Even more gruesome, his son, Robert, shot dead one of his servants for mysterious reasons a few years later – and also died in a plane crash in 1941.