Millions of passengers travel by air each and every day, and most experience little to no hesitation about it whatsoever. While numerous experts have advised the public that flying is often much safer than your morning commute, there may be some history to prove that every once in a while, flying can be very mysterious, and even dangerous.
The most recent aircraft that has caused a massive media uproar, was the missing Malaysia flight. The news all over the globe ran very personal stories about each passenger, and many families grieved live on television over their losses of loved ones. Often when a flight simply disappears it never does become explained, even many years afterward. What happens to these planes? Do pilots keep them and stash them in tiny towns or compounds? Do they crash over huge bodied of water? Have they been hijacked? These are all common questions when a plane vanishes, and fortunately, with the tremendous advances in technology, many airlines have incredible means to track flights, and as a result, hopefully, in the near future this strange occurrence will continue to decrease.
1. Fuerza Aerea Agentina C-54
A Douglas C-54 Skymaster airplane, leased by the Argentine military, crashed and disappeared without a trace. On November 1, 1965, the plane with a total of 68 people, including crew and passengers onboard, either crashed into the Costa Rican jungle or into the Caribbean Sea. The crew had radioed a distress signal, and were going to attempt to divert the plane to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, but the flight was never heard from again. Later, investigators were able to find 25 lifebuoys and some wreckage in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, but the final resting place of the plane and passengers remains a mystery.
2. Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501
In 1950, the DC-4 prop liner traveled from its layover in Minneapolis to its final destination in Seattle. The plane most likely crashed mid-flight into Lake Michigan, but nothing substantial from the wreck has ever been found. Divers were able to find some light debris and a few body parts but nothing more. At the time, this was the deadliest commercial airline crash in America’s history. In 2008, a local historian claimed that throughout the 1950s washed up body parts from the wreck were collected and buried in an unmarked grave in a St. Joseph area cemetery, but this has never been confirmed.
3. Varig Boeing 707-323C
On January 30. 1979, a cargo plane that was part of Varig Brazilian Airlines disappeared just 30 minutes after takeoff. The plane left from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan and was headed to its final destination in Rio, Brazil. Even though the flight only had six people aboard, the cargo was extremely valuable. The cargo plane was carrying 153 paintings which were valued at more than $1.2 million. All of the paintings were by artist Manabu Mabe, and were part of a Tokyo exhibition. Neither the plane nor the paintings were ever seen again. It was ultimately determined the plane crashed as a result of a cabin depressurization which killed the crew.
4. Flying Tiger flight 739
One of the largest search efforts for a missing airplane took place in 1962. Flying Tiger flight 739 was chartered by the US military to transport 96 American soldiers traveling from Travis Air Force Base in California to Saigon, Vietnam. The flight took off from Guam, following a scheduled refueling stop, and headed to its next scheduled stop in the Philippines. After about 80 minutes into that leg of the flight, the pilot reported no trouble, but that was the last anyone was ever heard from or seen again. Following the plane’s disappearance the search covered nearly 200,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean, but nothing was ever found. Following a full investigation, the Civil Aeronautics Board determined that the plane most likely experienced a mid-air explosion.