Aviation mysteries are unnerving tales of some imbecile mistakes, lack of clarity or just plain bad luck. Many aviation catastrophes have been noted in the past, with some having no cogent grounds of explanation. Despite technological advancements and better tracking facilities, such events continue to dominate human lives. Flying is considered to be safer than other modes of transportation, yet the number of aerial disasters in this era have raised questions about how pilots are evaluated and how airlines can ensure that such horrifying event won’t reoccur.
Below are some of the most famous aviation mysteries of all times, that were led to a fatal climax.
10.) Helios Airways Flight 522
Helios Airways Flight 522 was a Helios Airways passenger flight that collided against a mountain on 14 August 2005 while flying from Larnaca, Cyprus, to Athens, Greece. When the aircraft arrived from London earlier that morning, the flight crew complained about a frozen door seal and abnormal noises coming from one of the service door. They put forward a demand for requisite inspection of the door. The ground engineer inspected the door and also checked for pressurisation leak. To check the pressure without the engines, the pressurisation system was set to manual, but the engineer swell as the pilot forgot to reset the mode to auto on completion of the test.
Therefore after taking a flight, the lack of oxygen incapacitated the crew, eventually causing a crash after running out of fuel. The Rescue teams found the debris near the community of Grammatiko, just slightly away from its scheduled destination. All 115 passengers and six crew members on board the aircraft were killed.
The crash is marked as the deadliest aviation accident in Greek history.
9.) D.B. Cooper
D.B. Cooper’s story remains one of the most compelling aviation mysteries. In 1971, D.B. Cooper, an unidentified man, hijacked the Boeing 727 headed for Seattle. He made a demand for a $200,000 in ransom in order to release the captives.
Once he obtained the extortion amount, he released the hostages unscathed. He directed the pilot to take off and fly low over Mexico, where he jumped off from the flight with a parachute.
An extensive manhunt was launched but the police failed miserably in catching D.B. Cooper. His identity remains a mystery with just a name and a coarse pencil sketch in the basket of evidences. The FBI is still investigating his case. Some theories claim that Cooper died after jumping off the airplane, but many continue to believe that the aerial criminal is still alive and is living life at ease.
8.) Flight 712
Aer Lingus Flight 712 crashed en route from Cork to London on 24 March 1968. All 61 passengers and crew onboard could not survive the crash. The aircraft collided into the sea of Tuskar Rock, County Wexford. The cause of the crash was never determined, despite the two year long investigation. A popular belief amongst scholars is that the aircraft was shot down by a British experimental missile.The airlines operates the same flight number for a flight from Cork to London Heathrow till date.
7.) Pan Am Flight 7
Pan Am Flight 7, also known as Clipper Romance Of The Skies, was an around-the-world flight innovated in San Francisco. On November 8, 1957 the aircraft departed San Francisco for Honolulu, a Territory of Hawaii. Communication with the aircraft performing radar surveillance were cut. The flight never arrived in Hawaii.
Fifteen bodies were recovered from the Pacific Ocean 955 miles northeast of Honolulu, with most of them wearing life jackets. All bodies recovered, were reportedly shoeless and had external injuries and multiple fractures.
Toxicology results revealed high levels of carbon monoxide in the recovered remains that indicated, that carbon monoxide poisoning may have been a factor in the crash, but nothing substantial was proven.
The exact cause of the crash has never been determined.
6.) Malaysia plane MH370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was an international passenger flight operated by Malaysia Airlines that ceased from visibility on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, to Beijing Capital International Airport in China. The aircraft last communicated with the air traffic control when it flew over the South China Sea, less than an hour after takeoff. It vanished from air traffic controller’s radar screens just 3 minutes later. The aircraft was carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 15 nations.
A multinational search was launched in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, where the aircraft’s signal was last received. Australia took charge of the search later, when the hunt shifted to the southern Indian Ocean. The search programme turned out to be the largest and most expensive in aviation history. No wreckage was found of the aircraft until 29 July 2015, when a flaperon from Flight 370 washed on the shore of Réunion Island. Despite multiple additional small pieces of debris having being found, the bulk of the aircraft is still missing, prodding many theories about its disappearance.
Malaysia initiated the Joint Investigation Team in order to enquire about the incident, along with foreign aviation authorities. No mayday calls were made. Two passengers travelling on stolen passports were enquired about, but were found not guilty. Malaysian police points out the captain as the suspect. The Malaysian government has since received consequential criticism and have suffered monetary losses. The disappearance of this flight brought light to the limits of aircraft tracking and flight recorders.
5.) Flying Tiger Line Flight 739
Flying Tiger Line is one of the most prevailing mysteries in aviation history. In March 1962, during the initial stages of the Vietnam War, United States Army Flying Tiger Flight 739 disappeared over the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean on its way to the Philippines from Guam. Roughly an hour after the last communication with the plane, members of a Standard Oil tanker in the area reported a coruscating blast in the sky, which investigators assume could’ve been the plane. No mayday calls were received by any air-traffic control centres, intensifying suspicion of the occurrences. An exhaustive searching mission was lead by 1,300 people, 48 aircraft, and 8 surface vessels which turned out entirely futile. Theories claim that the plane was fortuitously shot down by the U.S. government, who later concealed their blunder by blaming the engine and communication failure. The case has perplexed investigators for 54 years now but not even a single rational clarification explains the true cause of the possibly sabotaged disappearance.
4.) EgyptAir flight MS804
EgyptAir Flight 804 was an international passenger, scheduled to depart from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Cairo International Airport, operated by EgyptAir, crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on 19 May 2016.
No mayday call was received by air traffic control, but indications of smoke detected in one of the lavatories and the avionics were automatically conveyed by ACARS shortly before the aircraft disappeared from radar. The reason behind the aviation catastrophe is under investigation.
There were 66 people on board, 56 of who were passengers, 7 were from the aircrew, and 3 were the security personnel. None are presumed to have survived. Wreckage from the aircraft were found in the Mediterranean Sea. Almost four weeks after the crash, various main sections of wreckage were recovered on the seabed, with both the flight recorders retrieved in a multinational search and recovery operation.
3.) Amelia Earhart
Aviator Amelia Earhart was titled the first woman to traversed the Atlantic Ocean in 1928 and then the first woman to fly solo across the pond in1932. She proved to the world that women hold high potentials. However, her story met a tragic and mysterious end on July 2, 1937, when, on a trip to fly around the world, her plane, a twin-engine Lockheed Electra, disappeared near the International Date Line in the central Pacific Ocean. Although there exists a considerable amount of speculation by scholars about the exact circumstances that led to her disappearance, such as the probability of her being stranded on a deserted island for years. Nothing can be acknowledged with absolute certainty. Though most people think that she simply ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea. Another theory claims that she was a spy for Franklin D Roosevelt and was imprisoned by the Japanese.
2.) Air France Flight 447
In 2009 an Airbus A330 passenger jet crashed over Southern Atlantic, travelling from Rio De Janeiro to Paris, killing 228 passengers and crew. After extensive searching, wreckage was recovered, including the black boxes. But the bodies of 74 passengers were never found, it took three years to culminate that the crash had been caused by ice crystals built up and obstructed tubes in the aircraft due to which the autopilot disconnect, also due to other mechanical failure and the pilot’s fallacy.
1.) Flight 19
One of the most debated plane disappearances happened in 1945, when six planes vanished, never to be recovered again. The weather conditions were declared average when the five Avenger torpedo bombers, acknowledged for their immensity, departure from their base in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for bombing exercise in the Bermuda Triangle. The pilots experienced difficulty with their compasses, hence the five planes lost communication with the ground station. Though, the ground station was able to follow the transmission between the pilots, making it eminent that they were astray to their locations. An intensive rescue mission was ensued by the Coast Guard and navy that covered 700,000 square km over five days, during which another plane carrying 13 passengers disappeared, never to be found again. Till date, no detritus of the missing planes or passengers have been found, further sparking the theory of the legendary Bermuda Triangle.