The disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH 370 is not alone in the mysterious realm of airline disappearances. Flight MH 370 vanished mysteriously on Saturday in the South China Sea. While it is extremely uncommon for an aircraft to just completely vanish off radar, it is certainly not the first time it’s happened. Here are ten of the most most famous airline disappearances:
British South American Airways: In 1947 a British Airways Flight with 11 passengers disappeared without a trace in the Andes Mountains. In 1998, over 50 years later, two Argentinian mountain climbers found wreckage of the crash and a later expedition found the remains of the crash victims. It was speculated that the plane crashed into Mount Tupungato and was buried in an avalanche.
Big Band Leader Glen Miller’s Flight Over English Channel: Big band leader Glen Miller was on a flight to Paris to perform for serviceman in France. On December 14, 1944 his single engine airplane disappeared over the English channel. Many theories abound, but it is believed that his plane was flying under a flight of British Lancaster heavy bombers who jettisoned their bomb load when their mission was aborted.
Air France Flight 447: An Air France Airbus A330 bound from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed in the Atlantic Ocean killing all 228 passengers. It took air and sea rescue teams five days to find the wreckage. After a three-year investigation if was determined that ice crystalized, causing the autopilot to malfunction.
Flight 19 Bermuda Triangle: On Dec. 5, 1945 a training mission of six Navy Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers took off from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Within two hours the pilots reported that they were disoriented and their compasses were not working. They were never heard from again and no wreckage was ever found. All 14 men of the crews were lost.
Flying Tiger Line Flight 739: On March 16, 1962 a military Lockheed Super Constellation took off from Guam en route to the Philippines. They were never seen again. No distress call was ever issued. No wreckage was ever found. All 107 passengers were declared missing and presumed dead.
British South American Airways Star Ariel: The Star Ariel disappeared during a flight from Bermuda to Jamaica on January 17, 1949. The Star Ariel took off in perfect weather but was troubled with communication problems throughout the flight. They were never seen or heard from again. All 20 passengers were reported missing and presumed dead.
Amelia Earhart: On July 2, 1937 American aviator Amelia Earhart piloted a two-engine Lockheed Electra in her attempt to fly around the world. Earhart, who had once completed a solo flight across the Atlantic ocean, disappeared in the central Pacific Ocean. It is widely believed she ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea.
Egypt Air Flight 990: On Oct. 31, 1999 Egypt Air Flight 990 took off from JFK Airport in New York and was bound for Cairo, Egypt. The Boeing 767 never made it. It crashed in the Atlantic Ocean just south of Massachusetts, killing all 217 passengers and crew. That National Transportation Safety Board ruled that pilot error was the cause of the crash.
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571: On Oct. 13, 1972 a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying 45 passengers and crew disappeared in the Andes Mountains en route to Santiago, Chile. After search and rescue efforts failed to locate the crash, the plane was considered lost. On December 23, 1972 and 72 days later , two of the passengers appeared out of the mountains in Chile. Only 16 of the original 45 passengers and crew survived. This was one of the more famous airline disappearances and is immortalized in the 1993 film Alive.
British South American Airways Star Tiger: On Jan. 30, 1948 an Avro Tudor IV four engine aircraft disappeared without a trace on a flight from the Azores to Bermuda. All 31 passengers and crew died including British war hero Sir Arthur Coningham. This is the third time that British South American Airways have made this list of top 10 mysterious airline disappearances.
By John J. Poltonowicz