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15 Curious Disappearances Of Aircraft That Remain Unsolved To This Day

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15 Curious Disappearances Of Aircraft That Remain Unsolved To This Day

Aircraft go missing all the time. Usually, they crash into mountains or the sea for one reason or another. It could be that the pilots are too tired to be operating the plane and make a small mistake that ends up costing both their lives and the lives of their passengers.

Or sometimes aircraft get engulfed in a storm and the bad weather such as pouring rain and gusts of wind confuse the pilots and throw them off the planned flight path. Sometimes pilots make it out through the storm, other times their fuel runs low and they end up at the bottom of the ocean.

And then of course there are the odd cases of missing aircraft in the Bermuda Triangle – the plane’s compasses start going crazy and are no longer of any use to the distressed pilot. In a lot of these cases, pilots communicate with air traffic control and let them know of their situation. Sometimes pilots send out SOS signals.

But then there are the cases where all communication disappears for no apparent reason. In a lot of cases, wreckage of aircraft that were involved in an accident is found, as are the bodies of the crew and the passengers. But other times the aircraft and the passengers disappear off the face of the earth.

15. Flight 19 Fell Off The Radar

On December 5th, 1945, five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo bombers that were collectively known as Flight 19 took off to do an exercise known as “Navigation Problem Number One”. The torpedo bombers were to fly over the Bermuda Triangle and were led by Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor. Everything was going fine for a while but once the patrol turned north, Taylor became convinced that his compass was malfunctioning and that the five planes were flying in the wrong direction.

Then a storm came. Another Navy flight instructor, Lieutenant Robert F. Cox, overheard Taylor’s radio communication. Taylor was saying that his compasses were not working but that he knew he was flying over land. Taylor was sure he was flying over Florida Keys which didn’t make any sense. Taylor changed the direction of the planes a couple of times before all radio connection was lost. Flight 19 had disappeared. Search planes were sent to look for Flight 19, but one of these search planes vanished off the radar also.

14. Star Ariel’s Pilot Sent No Sign Of Distress But Never Made It To Its Destination

In 1949, an Avro Tudor Mark IV passenger plane known as Star Ariel was flying from Kindley Field in Bermuda to Kingston in Jamaica. There were seven crew members and 13 passengers aboard the plane and the weather conditions were perfect.

The captain of the plane, John Clutha McPhee, contacted Kingston twice by radio. Both messages were ordinary messages and showed no sign of McPhee being distressed. However, the plane did not make it to Kingston and dozens of ships and planes were sent in search for the missing aircraft.

However, it has been suggested that Captain McPhee might have sent out a distressed message that was simply not received due to communication problems that day. The aircraft was never found.

13. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Disappeared With 239 People

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was an international passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia to Beijing Capital International Airport in China. The flight took place on the 8th of March 2014. The aircraft made contact with air traffic control less than an hour after take-off when it was flying over the South China Sea. No more contact was made and soon the aircraft disappeared from air traffic controllers’ radar screens.

Nonetheless, the plane still appeared on military radar and was seen deviating from its planned flight route. Eventually, the plane disappeared from the Malaysian military radar too. The aircraft was carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 international passengers. A multinational search effort was organized. Searchers found debris that’s likely to be from the missing aircraft in the Indian Ocean. However, the mystery of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 remains unsolved to this day.

12. Pan Am Flight 7 Found Floating In The Ocean – Its Passengers Were Poisoned By Carbon Monoxide

In 1957, Pan Am Flight 7 was known worldwide for its international and extremely luxurious trips. However, on one of these luxurious flights – from California to Hawaii – the Boeing Stratocruiser vanished into thin air.

Search teams were organized immediately and no one gave up for five days. Finally, wreckage of the aircraft was found drifting in the ocean. But, for some reason, the wreckage was miles off its course. In addition, when autopsies on the passengers were carried out it was discovered that they had been poisoned by carbon monoxide. The mysterious discovery caused a shock and even more questions. Some believe that the crash was insurance fraud.

11. Star Dust And Its Mysterious Last Message

Star Dust was an Avro Lancastrian airliner that left Buenos Aires at 1.46 PM on the 2nd of August of 1947. The flight was uneventful and at 5.41 PM the plane’s radio operator Harmer sent a message in Morse code to the airport in Santiago saying that the plane expects to arrive at the airport at 5.45 PM. In his last message Harmer also repeated the mysterious word “STENDEC” twice. But the plane never arrived and no more messages were transmitted. A five day search was organized but no trace of the aircraft was found.

However, in 1998 Argentine mountaineers were climbing Mount Tupungato when they discovered wreckage of an airplane. It was discovered that the wreckage belonged to the Star Dust plane. It is now believed that the crew thought they had cleared the mountain tops and began their descent when in actual fact they were still behind the mountains.

10. BK7 Stratojet Carrying Nuclear Cargo Disappeared Mysteriously

In 1956, the bomber B47 Stratojet vanished into thin air when it was flying over the Mediterranean Sea. The bomber was carrying three Air Force officers and two nuclear weapon cores. No one knows what exactly happened to the aircraft, its crew members or the two nuclear bombs.

Overall, the Unites States has lost 11 nuclear weapons in history. Lost nuclear weapons are known as “broken arrows”, and the B47 Stratojet is one of these broken arrows. The B47 Stratojet’s dangerous cargo is yet to be discovered. The aircraft’s disappearance remains a mystery that has yet to be solved. Let’s just hope that the missing nuclear cargo causes no accidents.

9. Paul Redfern’s Plane Went Missing – Reports Of A White Man Resembling Redfern Living In The Jungle

Paul Redfern was an American musician and pilot. During the summer of 1927 Redfern decided to try and fly from Brunswick in Georgia to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The distance of the flight was huge. In fact, at the time the distance that Redfern was proposing to fly was never covered by anyone else in one flight.

A few hours after Redfern took off, he was spotted by a Norwegian freighter. Redfern contacted the ship asking where the nearest land was. Redfern was later spotted by a fisherman close to Venezuela.

However, Redfern never did make it to Rio de Janeiro – he went missing on the way. Countless search parties have been organized in an attempt to locate the plane’s wreckage, but to no avail. Some people claim that they have seen a white man resembling Redfern living in the jungle among tribal people.

8. Glenn Miller’s Air Force Plane Disappeared Over The English Channel

Alton Glenn Miller was a big band musician and best-selling recording artist. But in 1942 Miller decided to join the war effort. Miller was too old to be drafted – he was 38 years old – so he volunteered for the Navy but was turned down. However, he was allowed to entertain U.S. troops with his music.

In 1944 when Miller was flying to entertain U.S. troops in France his plane disappeared over the English Channel. Miller was not the only person on the plane – he was accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Norman Baessell and pilot John Morgan. No one knows what happened to Miller or the plane he was flying on. Some believe that the carburetor was faulty or that the plane was hit by a bomb that was dropped by the Allied planes.

7. Amelia Earhart’s Plane Went Missing, Leading To The Largest And Most Expensive Sea Search In American History

Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, Earhart set many other aviation records. In 1936, Earhart started planning a round-the-world flight and in 1937 she and her crew took off from Oakland. Difficulties ensued immediately and Earhart had to start over her round-the-world trip a number of times.

Then, on June 2nd, 1937, Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. A search party was organized immediately. In fact, Earhart’s air and sea search has been the largest and most expensive in American history. When the search was halted, Earhart’s husband financed his own search. But he too did not find the missing aircraft. No one knows what really happened to Earhart and the pilot. Some speculate that they got lost, ran out of fuel, crashed into the sea and drowned.

6. Boeing 727-223 Was Stolen By Two Men And Was Never Seen Again

In 2003, the aircraft Boeing 727-223 was stolen from Quatro de Fevereiro Airport in Angola. It is generally believed that two men boarded the aircraft. One of them is said to have been Ben Charles Padilla, an American pilot and flight engineer. The other is said to have been John Mikel Mutantu, a mechanic from the Republic of Congo. Both men were working with other mechanics to get the aircraft ready for its upcoming flight.

When the two men got onto the aircraft and took off, the tower officers tried to get in contact with them. However, the officers were unsuccessful. In addition, tracking transponders were turned off so the plane could not be tracked. The plane headed towards the Atlantic ocean and has not been seen since.

5. TAM-52 Mysteriously Fell Off The Radar

In 1974, a Douglas DC-4 plane which was operated by Transporte Aereo Militar, or TAM, disappeared. TAM-52 was the civilian branch of the Bolivian Air Force. The aircraft was on its way from Santa Rosa de Yacuma Airport to El Alto International Airport in La Paz. It was a non-scheduled passenger flight which, somewhere on its way, fell off the radar. The aircraft was carrying three crew members and 21 passengers.

The missing aircraft, its wreckage or the people that have been on board have not been found to this day. Furthermore, very little information on this missing aircraft exists, which further fuels the mystery of the missing aircraft.

4. Varig Boeing 707-323C That Carried Paintings Worth Over A Million Dollars Went Missing

Varig Flight 967 disappeared on the 30th of January in 1979. It was an international cargo flight on its way to Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport in Brazil from Narita International Airport in Japan. On its way, the flight was supposed to stop in Los Angeles International Airport. There were six crew members on board.

Only 30 minutes after the plane took off from Narita International Airport in Japan, all contact with it was lost. The plane was carrying 53 paintings by the artist Manabu Mabe that had been exhibited in Tokyo. The paintings were worth over a million dollars. The missing aircraft was never found, however, it has been speculated that the whole crew was killed from cabin depressurization.

3. The Star Tiger Disappeared On Its Way To Bermuda

The Star Tiger was an Avro Tudor IV passenger aircraft that disappeared while flying from Santa Maria in the Azores to Bermuda in 1948. The aircraft was piloted by Captain Brian W. McMillan and the weather conditions that day were poor. In fact, the crew and the passengers were forced to stay at Santa Maria overnight due to bad weather conditions before taking off the next day. But the winds were still very strong the next day and it soon started raining.

An Avro Lancastrian plane belonging to the pilot Frank Griffin was flying slightly ahead of the Star Tiger. Captain McMillian eventually caught up with Griffin and the two planes were in contact. Both planes accidentally diverted slightly from the route during their flight but eventually fixed their position. Eventually, Griffin landed his plane but the Star Tiger was lost. There was no distress call from the aircraft and a search party was sent to look for the missing plane. It was never found.

2. Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501 Disappeared Mysteriously

Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501 disappeared in 1950. The flight was a daily flight between New York City and Seattle. Three crew members and 55 passengers were on board when the plane disappeared.

The plane was flying at about 3,500 feet over Lake Michigan when it requested to go down to 2,500 feet. Shortly after, the aircraft disappeared from the radar. A huge search was organized. Sound propagation was used in an attempt to detect the missing aircraft. In addition, the bottom of Lake Michigan was dragged with trawlers. However, no wreckage was found. No one knows what happened to the missing aircraft. Every year, Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates search for the missing aircraft.

1. Skyways Passenger Plane Sent An SOS Message That Ended Abruptly Before It Disappeared

In 1953, a Skyways passenger plane was on its way to Jamaica from Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom. However, somewhere along the way the aircraft disappeared. Six crew members and 33 passengers were on board, including soldiers and families. As the aircraft was over the North Atlantic it sent an SOS message which ended abruptly. No more communication was made by the crew.

Air and sea search was organized but no wreckage of the aircraft was found. Similarly, the search party was not successful in finding the bodies of the missing crew and the passengers. The only recommendation made by investigators was to ensure that tighter maintenance checks are carried out, as well as methods to prevent crew tiredness.

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