In the vast history of aviation, there have been various mysterious plane crashes and disappearances that are not known up-to-date. Despite the world, investigators are in the trauma of searching for the flights that disappeared.
In this article, you will learn about those puzzling and strange plane disappearances & crashes that left the world of aviation dumbstruck.
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370
|Date of Occurrence: 8 March, 2014|
Site: Indian Ocean
Aircraft type: Boeing 777-200ER
IATA Flight No.: MH-370
Number of casualties: 239 (Presumed)
Among the most mysterious plane disappearances is Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The aircraft was scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia to Beijing Capital International Airport, China. The mystery of its disappearance began when the aircraft’s communication with Air Traffic Control (ATC) was lost around 38 minutes after take-off.
On 8 March 2014, Flight MH370 was set to take the passengers to the destination location. MH370 was tracked by the Malaysian military primary radar system for another hour after losing contact with ATC till it lost all contacts. The aircraft disappeared over the southern Indian Ocean.
The search for the missing plane is the most expensive and continues to be among the unsolved mysteries of plane crashes. Throughout the years, some debris has been recovered supposedly belonging to the aircraft, however, any deductions on the cause are inconclusive.
British South American Airways Star Tiger
|Date of Occurrence: 30 January,1948|
Site: Atlantic Ocean
Aircraft type: Avro 688 Tudor Mark IV
Loss: 31 occupants missing
British South American Airways (BSAA) Star Tiger was an Avro Tudor IV passenger carrier that disappeared mysteriously on 30, January 1948. The aircraft took off from Azore to Bermuda Kindley Field. The mystery of the aircraft’s disappearance has resulted in the Bermuda Triangle legend.
On 30 January 1948, after flying for 10 hours, Star Tiger was merely 200 miles away from the destination when it had to change its course from Bermuda due to heavy winds. The aircraft disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean without a trace.
The US Air Force conducted a rescue effort for five days with no progress. As per the investigation, the Star Tiger court established that there was no reliable evidence to conclude the cause, and it continues to remain an unsolved mystery plane disappearance.
EgyptAir Flight 990
|Date of Occurrence: 31 October, 1999|
Summary: Mechanical failure of the aircraft elevator control system (Alleged) or intentional crash by the pilot
Site: Atlantic Ocean, south of Nantucket
Aircraft type: Boeing 767-366ER
IATA Flight No: MS990
Number of Casualties: 217
EgyptAir Flight 990 (MS990/MSR990) was scheduled to fly from Los Angeles International Airport to Cairo International Airport on 31, October 1999. It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, at least 62 miles to the south of Nantucket Island. It remains an unsolved mystery plane crash and the second deadliest aircraft accident in history.
About 30 minutes after the take-off, the aircraft experienced a sudden declination into the Atlantic Ocean. Due to this, the aircraft crashed into the ocean.
The Egyptian government initiated a search and rescue investigation, which was later formally ceded to the US authorities.
Flight 19, Bermuda Triangle Mystery
|Date of Occurrence: 5 December, 1945|
Site: Atlantic Ocean
Aircraft type: Grumman TBM Avenger
Number of Casualties: 14
One of the biggest mysterious plane disappearances in history is Flight 19. On 5 December 1945, five TBM Avenger Torpedo bombers, collectively called Flight 19 were scheduled for a three-hour exercise/ program called “Navigation Problem Number One.” The aircraft disappeared without trace over the Bermuda Triangle firming the conspiracy of the Bermuda Triangle.
The aircraft exercise began successfully which later took a turn when the patrol turned north for the second leg of its journey. Flight leader, Lt. Charles Taylor noticed the malfunctioning of his Avenger’s compass.
He deduced that the planes had been flying in the wrong direction. The concerns were reaffirmed when the aircraft were met by heavy cloud cover and winds. The aircraft later lost radio contact.
It was determined that the seaplane exploded soon after the takeoff.
British South American Airways Star Ariel
|Date of Occurrence: 17 January, 1949|
Site: Atlantic Ocean
Aircraft type: Avro 688 Tudor Mark IV
Number of Casualties: 20
British South American Airways Star Ariel was an Avro Tudor Mark IVB aircraft that disappeared mysteriously over the Atlantic Ocean. On January 17, 1949, the BSAA carrier was scheduled to fly from Kindley Field, Bermuda to Kingston Jamaica with a stopover in the Bahamas.
After an hour of take-off, the contacts with the crew members were lost. The aircraft did not reach its destination the other day and disappeared during the flight.
A comprehensive search and rescue operation was conducted to locate the aircraft. The rescue team searched the vast area of the ocean. However, no signs of debris, wreckage, or other components of the aircraft were discovered.
Aer Lingus Flight 712
|Date of Occurence: 24 March, 1968|
Summary: Structural failure of the aircraft without any conclusive cause
Site: Irish Sea, St. George’s Channel
Aircraft type: Vickers Viscount 803
Number of Casualties: 61
On 24 March 1968, Aer Lingus Flight 712 was scheduled to fly from Cork, Ireland to London. It is estimated that the aircraft faced severe structural failure which led to the aircraft crash.
The aircraft lost contact with the radio at an altitude of 17,000 feet above the sea. It was found out that it met with a tragic aviation incident and crashed into the Irish Sea.
An investigation was followed for two years which deemed the cause of aircraft failure inconclusive.
Thirteen bodies of the occupants were discovered over the next few days of the crash and there were zero survivors from the incident.
Proposed causes in investigation reports include possible bird impact, mechanical/structural failure, or possible missile impact.
BSAA Star Dust crash
|Date of Occurrence: 2 August, 1947|
Site: Mount Tupungato, Argentina
Aircraft type: Avro Lancastrian
Number of Casualties: 11
The British South American Airways (BSAA) Star Dust crash is among the most mysterious plane crashes in history due to the mysteries surrounding the crash for decades until some wreckage and evidence were found approximately 50 years later in the 1990s.
The involved aircraft was an Avro Lancastrian airliner flying from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile. The aircraft crashed into Mount Tupungato, Andes Mountains, and no communications were exchanged.
The last message in Star Dust Morse code transmission was ‘STENDEC’ which was repeated twice.
This added to its mystery with no satisfactory explanation ever given.
Air France Flight 447
|Date of Occurrence: 1 June, 2009|
Summary: The flight entered a high-altitude stall due to aircraft equipment malfunctioning.
Site: Atlantic Ocean
Aircraft type: Airbus A330-203
IATA Flight No.: AF447
Number of Casualties: 228
On 1 June 2009, Flight 447 involving Airbus A330-203 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on its journey from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France.
The unstable airspeed led the pilots to stall the aircraft in mid-air. The aircraft failed to recover from it. The radio contact with the aircraft was lost after approximately 3 hours after taking off.
It was estimated that the aircraft pitot tubes began malfunctioning resulting in unstable airspeeds. The autopilot feature disconnected and the flight crew lost control of the aircraft.
The search and rescue found 640 pieces of aircraft debris and recovered 50 bodies during their operation. The search and rescue operation was concluded on 16 June 2009.
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571
|Date of Occurrence: 13 October, 1972|
Summary: Pilot error, believed the aircraft had reached the city and proceeded to descend the aircraft due to which it crashed into the mountain.
Site: Andes Mountains, Argentina
Aircraft type: Fairchild FH-227 D
Number of Casualties: 12
Known as the Andes flight disaster and the Miracle of the Andes, the tragedy of Flight 571 is renowned due to the remarkable survival of the crash survivors.
There were 40 passengers and 5 crew members on board when the incident occurred. The chartered flight was flying from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile on 13, October 1972 when the co-pilot lost control and descended in the Andes Mountains, South America.
After the Crash
The search and rescue operation lasted 8 days post-plane crash but was futile. The survivors handled extreme hardships during the following 72 days like avalanches and frigid temperature exposure. However, 2 survivors were able to hike without gear into Chile and seek help.
Indian Air Force, 2016
|Date of Occurrence: 22 July, 2016|
Summary: Disappearance, presumed crashed into the sea
Site: Bay of Bengal, India
Aircraft type: Antonov An-32
Number of Casualties: 29 occupants missing and presumed fatal
The Indian Air Force plane’s disappearance led to the largest search operation for a missing aircraft in India. The aircraft disappeared over the Bay of Bengal without a trace.
On 22 July 2016, a twin-engine turboprop aircraft of the Indian Air Force was en route from Tambaram Air Force Station, Chennai to Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The aircraft lost the radar contact at 280 kilometers to the east of Chennai and was never found again.
When the aircraft did not reach the destination in time, a vast search operation and rescue operation was conducted. The mystery remains unsolved as the search and rescue operation was called off on 15 September 2016 with no success.
These are the most mysterious and deadly plane crashes & disappearances in the history of aviation. Such tragedies involve hundreds of people and impact individuals, families, communities, and nations. Although research and investigations have been conducted to gather evidence about the possibilities, some mysteries are yet to unfold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mishaps like the Malaysia Airline MH370 and British Airways Star Tiger continue to be among the most mysterious mishaps in history.
EgyptAir flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and Amelia Earhart’s disappearance in the Central Pacific Ocean remains among the deadliest aviation accidents.
Some unexpected aviation disasters are Air France Flight 477, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, and the Star Dust crash in 1947.
In the last 50-60 years, more than 10 aircraft have disappeared in a mysterious way.