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John F. Kennedy Jr.’s Wife Had An Eerie Premonition Two Weeks Before Her Husband’s Ill-Fated Flight

Photo Credit: Evan Agostini / Liaison Agency / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Evan Agostini / Liaison Agency / Getty Images

On July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister took their last flight on their way to attend a cousin’s wedding at Hyannis Port. In what many believe is just another set of deaths resulting from the Kennedy ‘curse,’ their plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean with JFK Jr. in the pilot’s seat. Leading up to the flight and without knowing what was to come, Bessette Kennedy shared multiple times how she felt something bad was going to happen. It is a shame something did.

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy shared a premonition early on

JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy holding hands in fancy clothes.
John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy on May 23, 1999. (Photo Credit: Justin Ide / Boston Herald / Getty Images)

They had known they would be attending an upcoming summer wedding for a while, but Bessette Kennedy still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong – especially around the flight that would get them to Hyannis Port. Two weeks before their takeoff, she revealed an eerie premonition to longtime friend Barry Stott after pulling him aside on the airport tarmac.

She confided in Stott as he ran an air charter service at Martha’s Vineyard, where he had flown many members of the Kennedys, and he piloted several flights with JFK Jr., so he knew what he was like as a pilot. Bessette Kennedy told him, “I’m secretly terrified of flying with John because he’s so easily distracted.” She told him she was concerned about her husband’s ability to fly, as “he doesn’t seem to take it seriously enough.”

The feeling didn’t go away

Headshot of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.
Carolyn Bessette Kennedy on March 9, 1999. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

As the travel day approached, Bessette Kennedy’s gut feeling wasn’t going away. On the last day of her life, she and a friend headed to Saks Fifth Avenue to find a dress to wear to the wedding she was attending the following day. While shopping around, she mentioned to the salesperson that she was “not looking forward” to the evening flight she would be having to take.

JFK Jr. had only just had the cast removed from his ankle the day before, having broken it while paragliding over the Memorial Day weekend. That morning, he was still limping on it. Bessette Kennedy commented on this to the salesperson, saying, “He just had the cast taken off his leg. I don’t know if he’s ready yet to fly again.” After she had picked out a dress – one she would never get the chance to wear – the salesperson wished her luck on the flight. She responded saying, “Thanks. I’m going to need it.”

The fatal crash

A helicopter flying over water, waves caused by its turbine.
A Coast Guard helicopter lifts a rescue swimmer after the swimmer jumped into the water on July 17, 1999, to look for debris from John Kennedy Jr.’s plane. (Photo Credit: Daniel Goodrich / Newsday RM / Getty Images)

Still, the flight plans carried on. On July 16, 1999, JFK Jr., Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, arrived at Essex County Airport, ready to make the trip. JFK Jr. was piloting a single-engine Piper Saratoga but had only racked up a mere 300 flying hours before this. Supposedly, a flight instructor had offered to accompany him on the flight, but he was steadfast in wanting to “do it alone.”

At 8:38 P.M. that evening, they were cleared for takeoff. Just over an hour later, their plane dove from 2,200 to 1,100 feet in the span of just 14 seconds. It crashed into the ocean, killing all three passengers onboard instantly. Their bodies were found at the bottom of the Atlantic on July 21, just five days after the crash, with the coroner’s report stating that they all suffered “multiple traumatic injuries.”

After they were found and their bodies examined, they were cremated and the following day, their ashes were scattered back into the sea.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!