Top 10 CREEPY Plane Disappearances
It’s common to hear that flying is a much safer method of travel than driving, but there’s an eeriness that comes with the thought of just vanishing entirely without a trace. Whether lost to the Deep Blue or some other nefarious reason, these plane disappearances are among the most mysterious to have happened, leaving behind only questions about their perilous end.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
On March 8th, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and its 239 passengers and crew vanished without a trace, sending the world into a spiral of conspiracy theories, questionable official reports, and fears of terrorism. Of the more popular theories as to the flight’s fate include physical or electronic hijacking by North Korea, the United States, or even crew member and captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who was said to be experiencing personal turmoil in his life. Other theorists claim the flight was shot down by the United States, who feared a repeat incident of September 11th. Ultimately, the truth behind Flight 370 may never be known, further allowing people to speculate paranormal involvement, such as alien abduction or interdimensional travel.
PBM Mariner and Flight 19
The mysterious loss of five bombers, designated as Flight 19, are among many attributed to the mystique of the Bermuda Triangle. Five aircraft departed from a Naval Air Base in Florida for routine training, making it about an hour and a half into the flight before things went awry. Radio chatter indicated they were unsure of their location, with several malfunctioning compasses offering no aid. Four hours into the flight and two hours prior to when it was believed they would run out of fuel, radio communications ceased. No sign of Flight 19 was ever found, and stranger still was the disappearance of a PBM Mariner involved in the search and rescue.
Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan
Amelia Earhart and co-navigator Fred Noonan sought to make an impressive journey, circumnavigating the world in a Lockhead Model 10 Electra. After a failed first attempt, Earhart and Noonan were ready to continue their journey. The pair made it about 22,000 miles into their trek and their next destination was Howland Island. Upon approach, there were complications with communicating with the USCGC Itasca, which was tasked with guiding their arrival. On July 2nd, 1937, the airwaves fell silent and the pair were never heard from again. Theories from Japanese capture to landing on an uninhabited island, to running out of fuel have all been linked to Earhart’s vanishing, but with no physical evidence, the world may never know.
BSAA Star Ariel
Like its sister flight near exactly a year prior, the BSAA Star Ariel was in flight around the Bermuda area after taking off from Kindley Field, Bermuda en route to Kingston. The flight departed at 8:41am on January 17th, 1949 and reported clear visibility with no issues. At 9:42am, the Star Ariel made its last transmission, again indicating no issues with the flight. Search efforts followed the flight path and came back with no evidence of debris or oil slicks that would indicated a crash. The final report regarding the vanishing craft was inconclusive and many peg the loss of the Star Ariel as yet another addition to the long, mysterious history of the Bermuda Triangle.
BSAA Star Tiger
Was the BSAA Star Tiger another victim of the legendary Bermuda Triangle, or did the aircraft simply succumb to fuel loss? The flight took off on January 29th, 1948 from Santa Maria bound to Bermuda, trailing an Avro Lancastrian that was meant to warn of weather conditions ahead. Heavy rain and wind blew the aircraft off course and, at approximately 10 hours into the flight, the Star Tiger’s navigator drew a new course for Bermuda that flew the craft directly into a gale. The last communication from the Star Tiger, requesting a radio bearing, came on January 30th at 3:17 AM. Over 800 hours of searching produced no evidence as to what happened to the Star Tiger.
It was only a year after his British television series, The Sandbaggers, hit the air when Ian Mackintosh found himself no longer able to fulfill his roles. What got in his way, exactly? While on a July 1979 leisure flight over the Gulf of Alaska with two other passengers, Mackintosh sent out a distress signal and was never heard from again. The U.S. Coast Guard, which picked up the signal, searched the last known position and surrounding areas, coming up with no evidence of what happened to the plane and crew. After Mackintosh’s death, The Sandbaggers was discontinued and rumors were stirred up that Mackintosh was a former operative of the Secret Intelligence Service.
October 21st, 1978. 21-year-old Frederick Valentich disappeared during a training flight in a Cessna 182L over the Bass Strait in Australia. While it’s rather widely believed that the young pilot’s disappearance was really an unfortunate crash, a series of strange transmissions from Valentich play to a far more intriguing theory – Extraterrestrials. Mid-flight, Valentich started to talk about another aircraft that seemed to be “playing some sort of game” and mysterious lights. Valentich described the craft as being long in shape and very fast, attributes common in many UFO sightings. The question remains whether Valentich’s lack of experience and fascination for UFOs distracted him into an untimely death or if there is more behind the young pilot’s disappearance?
Glenn Miller received lasting fame as a big band musician and composer, but his life was cut short on December 15th, 1944, during a flight from the United Kingdom to Paris. While flying over the English Channel, the UC-64 Norseman that carried Miller disappeared. While the popular theory points to a frozen fuel intake causing the crash, speculation of an accidental hit from a bombing mission returning from Germany still remains. Additional theories, as fantastical as they sound, claim Miller survived the trip, but was found dead in a Paris brothel or succumbed in a plot to overthrow Hitler.
The tale of this Sri Lankan entrepreneur led a fulfilling 44-year-long life, having dipped his feet into the print media industry and horse racing while upholding chairmanship of the diverse Upali Group. All of that came to a tragic end when, on February 13th, 1983, Upali vanished during a flight en route to Colombo. His private Learjet 35A, piloted by Noel Anandaooa, stayed on the radar for only 15 minutes after take-off before dropping off completely. Upali would never be seen again, nor would there ever be any sign of the 35A or the additional 4 people on the plane with him.
Ben Charles Padilla
On May 25, 2003, flight mechanic Ben Charles Padilla and trainee John Mikel Mutantu boarded a Boeing 747 they had been repairing in Luanda. The untrained Padilla, licensed only to fly private liners, and Mutantu, stole the aircraft from Aerospace Sales and Leasing, taking off in a southwesterly direction with their lights off and transponder inactive. The pair, and the 747, disappeared completely despite a worldwide search carried out by the FBI and CIA, who had deemed the aircraft a flying bomb due to 5,000-gallons of fuel carried aboard. Was there something dubious behind the disappearance or did Padilla’s lack of training get the best of them?