Top Mysterious Stories of Missing Aircrafts

Almost half of passengers boarding flights admit to having a fear of flying. Their biggest concern is that their flight will go down before reaching their final destination.

Unfortunately, while they’re infrequent, plane crashes happen occasionally. Some of these incidents have resulted in missing aircraft.

Today, we’re sharing some of the most mysterious stories of missing aircraft worldwide.

Let’s get to it!

How Many Planes Have Vanished?

At last count, approximately 84 planes have vanished since 1948. For one reason or another, these flights took off from a runway and disappeared before reaching their final destination.

Fortunately, officials located debris or helpful information in some of these tragedies. However, some of the most mysterious stories involve aircraft missing without any evidence.

Some have spent years trying to track down clues or evidence as to what could have happened to cause these aircraft to go missing. Unfortunately, with so much time having passed in some instances, the clues can be few and far between.

An airplane being sucked in a swirl of blue sky and clouds.

Over the years, several dozen aircraft have gone missing. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most famous incidents. While each accident is unique, they’re all mysteriously creepy and may cause you to second-guess air travel.

Amelia Earhart

As the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart is a hero to many modern women. Unfortunately, the famous pilot disappeared while attempting to circumnavigate the globe in 1937.

On July 2, 1937, Amelia and her navigator took off from Lae, Papua New Guinea. The team was flying in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra with Howland Island as their next destination. Radio communications were inconsistent, and they never landed at their destination.

The search for Amelia Earhart was extensive, but there were no clues or evidence. The hero, her navigator, and their plane remain missing. It continues to remain one of the most mysterious events in aviation history.

A black and white photo of Amelia Earhart standing in front of her plane smiling.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8, 2014. Its final destination was supposed to be Beijing Capital International Airport. 

Sadly, the plane mysteriously lost contact with air traffic control approximately an hour after takeoff. This resulted in the aircraft and its 239 passengers and crew mysteriously disappearing.

The crash of Flight MH370 has been the center of numerous conspiracy theories. Some believe individuals hijacked it, and others believe someone intentionally flew it off course because of a hidden agenda.

Unfortunately, despite some debris washing ashore in the Indian Ocean, the crash site or location of the main wreckage remains unknown today.

Looking for a recent air travel story that will spook you? Read The Story Behind the Terrifying Boeing 737 Max 9 Incident.

Flying Tiger Line Flight 739

The following aircraft on our list of mysterious disappearances is Flying Tiger Line Flight 739. This chartered military flight took off on March 15, 1962, from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California.

However, the plane and the 107 passengers (96 military personnel) never reached their final destination of Saigon, Vietnam.

A series of investigations have occurred in an attempt to discover the cause of the tragedy. The expansive open waters posed a severe challenge to investigators. Some theories point to a mid-air explosion, and others a mechanical failure.

Unfortunately, because there’s a lack of concrete evidence and debris field, we’ll likely never know the cause. 

An airplane with dark smoke coming out of it's engines.

Flight 19 – Bermuda Triangle

On December 5, 1945, five US Navy bombers, known as “Flight 19,” left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a routine navigation training exercise.

However, the squadron began experiencing communication issues during the exercise.

Like the other flights on our list, all five aircraft making up Flight 19 vanished. The incident put the “Bermuda Triangle” on the map. This region of the Atlantic Ocean has had numerous ships and aircraft disappear within it.

Despite multiple attempts, wreckage from Flight 19 remains undiscovered.

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571

On October 13, 1972, a Fairchild FH-227D took off from Montevideo, Uruguay, for Santiago, Chile. Unfortunately, unfavorable weather conditions and some navigation errors by the inexperienced pilot caused it to crash into the Andes Mountains.

Sadly, 45 passengers and crew were aboard the flight. Miraculously, 16 survivors were rescued 72 days after the crash. They found a way to survive and hiked for several days in extremely harsh conditions.

While there were lives lost in the crash, it was a happy ending for the 16 survivors. The events became the subject of the book “Alive” and were in numerous movies. These passengers show the power of human resilience when facing challenging and life-threatening situations.

An old plane crash that has been taken over by the forest it landed in.

Air France Flight 447

Air France Flight 447 left Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, bound for Paris, France, on June 1, 2009. With 228 passengers on board, the plane lost contact with air traffic control while flying over a remote area in the Atlantic Ocean. As you might expect, the plane mysteriously disappeared.

After searching for nearly two years, investigators were able to locate the wreckage. Based on the evidence, they discovered that the incident was primarily due to faulty airspeed sensors, a loss of autopilot, and how the crew responded to the extreme weather conditions.

The tragedy resulted in the airline industry taking a severe look at equipment vulnerabilities. Additionally, pilots began receiving more in-depth training on handling high-altitude stalls. While nothing will bring back the 228 lives lost, passengers today are safer.

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BSAA Star Dust

On January 2, 1947, a British South American Airways (BSAA) Star Dust flight left Buenos Aires, Argentina, for Santiago, Chile. However, Star Dust mysteriously disappeared without any distress signals.

Unlike many other missing aircraft, the wreckage was discovered in 1998. Officials located pieces of the plane on the Tupungato glacier in the Andes Mountains.

The crew had previously been communicating with radio control using Morse code. Many believe the aircraft likely crashed due to a navigational error made as a result of a miscommunication.

An airplane decaying on the ocean with snow in the background.

Should You Worry About Vanishing While Flying?

Thanks to advancements in training and technology, flying is incredibly safe. The majority of the flights that vanished took place decades ago.

However, as you likely know, technology can malfunction when you need it most. Luckily, pilots train for such situations and are more capable of handling them today than a few decades ago.

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