In the century since we first learnt to fly off the ground, humanity has made stellar achievements in air travel. From tiny paper and wooden items to giant tubes of steel that can carry you across oceans while you sleep in a bed, air travel today forms the backbone of globalization that we would completely be lost without.
However, sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and the plane never makes it to destination. Here are some just mysterious disappearances -
One of the biggest contemporary aviation mysteries took place in 2014, when a Malaysian Airlines passenger flight disappeared somewhere over the south China Seas while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It became untraceable on ATC 38 minutes into the flight, but military radar was able to track it as it deviated and made its way westwards, eventually going out of radar range. All 227 passengers and 12 crew members abroad the flight were assumed dead. The search for the plane, the most expensive in aviation history, ended after three years with only some debris recovered, and the entity of the plane and the bodies of the missing people are presumed lost in the sea. What exactly happened to the flight remains unsolved to date.
Fascination with the aviatrix’s disappearance remains alive in popular culture due to many reasons – she was a pioneer in female aviation, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic, and was on her way to become the first female to circumnavigate the world when she disappeared somewhere near the Howland island, trying to complete a 2,500 mile, where she stopped to refuel. Many assume that Earhart and her navigator Noonan ran out of fuel and perished at the sea, but the fact that the plane had more than enough fuel to reach Howland and then some, despite bad weather, had led to more suggestions, including the possibility that the two may have survived and reached another island. Earhart and her plane were never found, and after all this time, speculations continue, including ‘new’ photographic and forensic evidence.
The Bermuda Triangle
Long a source of myths and legends, the ocean area between Florida, Bermuda and Puerto Rico has long been a place of terror, superstition, and supernatural for seamen and aviators, and the number of disappearances that have occurred in the region have made it a fixture in popular imagination, despite the fact that most conspiracy theories have been debunked, and the route is well used commercially. Despite this, and due to the fact that the area is indeed climatically weird, the triangle remains a dangerous area. In 1945, a US Navy Bomber disappeared over the triangle, which then swallowed up the aircraft sent to search for it too. It may not be supernatural, but it is spooky stuff.
In perhaps the most strange series of events that ever involved an airplane, a man identified only as the alias he was traveling under – DB Cooper – managed to hijack a Boeing 747 plane by disclosing to a woman on plane that he had a bomb. He demanded 200,000 dollars in ransom, which was paid when the plane landed in Seattle, USA. Cooper then had all the passengers and crew exit, and took the pilots off towards Mexico City on the plane. Nearly five military planes then followed the hijacked Boeing. Despite this, nobody saw Cooper as he jumped off the plane and disappeared for good. He was never found again, and the money given to him as ransom, whose serial numbers were collected, didn’t surface. Some believe he died during his landing, and others believe that he lived a long life after committing the perfect crime.
Perplexing, strange, and uncertain, aviation mysterious continue to capture public imagination, mostly because more people than ever before would step into a plane in their own lifetimes. Many of these and other tragedies have brought about important changes in aviation, making it safer than ever before. Despite that, one cannot help but imagine the possibilities of these cases, solutions that may be just as dark and sad as they may be plausible.