10 Mysterious Plane Crashes Throughout History


Flying to places is fun and all, but that is also risky at the same time. There have been many mysterious plane crashes for decades since the invention of this huge flying object. Despite the fact that traveling across the seas and far distances is easier, planes also come with drawbacks. That mainly includes plane accidents, plane crashes, and many more difficulties while the planes are up in the sky

Apart from the tragic accidents that cause deaths, some of those plane crashes disappeared without leaving a trace. While some others met unfortunate incidents that led to the crashes that killed so many lives. Today, we will look into some of the most mysterious plane crashes that have happened in the world. The back story is somehow creepy, so let’s look into the disappearances of planes together with us.

1Air France Flight 447

Air France Flight 447 inexplicably dropped out of the sky and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. There were 228 people on board, and none survived. The strange thing was that there was a mayday call, and no one was aware that the plane went down until hours later. When the pilots failed to make their planned contact with air traffic control, they realized that the plane was gone.

That plane was a self-flying jet that was supposed to be among the safest aircraft in history. It seemed unfathomable for it to just disappear into thin air without a single information like that. It was difficult indeed for the investigators to piece together the cause of the disaster. Wreckage was strewn about the ocean floor, and the investigation seemed hopeless when the black boxes weren’t found after 30 days.

Still, French authorities continued to search until a private team found the missing debris field within a week in 2011. The French Navy then was able to recover the black boxes as well as more than 100 bodies. It was determined that the jet went down because of a pilot error after the autopilot disengaged. Although the larger mystery was finally solved, many still wonder how could 3 experienced pilots lost control of the aircraft.

2EgyptAir Flight 990

On Halloween of 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean which killed 217 on board. The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) investigated the crash, but they couldn’t because of the limited source. Also, the accident occurred in international waters so they asked if the US National Transportation Safety Board would take over. The NTSB was happy until the preliminary examination suggested foul play after the Egyptians suggested the case over to the FBI.

The Egyptians staunchly refused and insisted the NTSB continue with the investigation, but the Egyptians decided they were capable of handling things. That was because the evidence of a criminal act continued to mount, so they launched their own investigation. As a result, the American NTSB and the Egyptian ECAA came to two different conclusions.

The US determined that the co-pilot was suicidal and deliberately took down the plane for personal, with unknown reasons. The Egyptians chalked the incident up to mechanical failures. Yet neither explanation satisfied conspiracy theorists, who touted ideas of terrorism and plots to kill the 33 members of the Egyptian General Staff. Until today, this event is still a mystery.

3Flight 19

Flight 19 began as a routine training mission for the US Navy, and it ended in six planes vanishing into thin air. Some people put the blames on Bermuda Triangle while others thought about UFO abduction. So the five Navy Avenger plans that made up Flight 19 took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 5th December, 1945.

Charles Taylor was the leader of the flight, and the weather was clear and nice that day. After 90 minutes of the exercise, the pilots became disoriented and couldn’t recognize the landmarks below. According to the radio transmissions, Taylor’s compass malfunctioned and it appeared he was confusing the Florida Keys with the Bahamas. The command tower tried to direct Taylor back to Fort Lauderdale, and his students begged him to go west.

However, Taylor continued to lead them in erratic directions and apparently farther out to sea. Eventually, the tower lost contact with the five planes and none of them were seen or heard from again. The eerie part was that a rescue plane also went missing that night while hunting for Taylor’s team. Many suppose it exploded in midair since it simply dropped off the radar, and we still don’t know what happened.

4Flight 191

Flight 191 does not refer to a specific crash but to the incidents that have plagued a range of flights numbered 191. There have been a lot of theories related to this accident from technical errors to superstition regarding the number of the flight. Five flights with the number 191 have ended in fatal crashes since the 1960s, including the worse aircraft disaster in American history. The American Airlines Flight 191 crashed, and killed 273 people on board.

In 2012, JetBlue Airways Flight 191 made headlines after the pilot went crazy during the flight. He started ranting about Jesus, terrorists, and 9/11 then the co-pilot kicked him out of the cockpit. Later, the authority put him in a mental hospital. Although the misfortune of flights ending in 191 is likely a coincidence, numerologists have been trying to decipher its hidden meanings.

5Flying Tiger Flight 739

image: NY Post

Back in 1962, the US military chartered Frying Tiger Flight 739 to transport supplies and Army members from California to Saigon. After stopping to refuel in Guam, the Super Constellation L-1049 plane took off and disappeared over the Philippine Sea. There was no distress at all, and the weather was clear but the aircraft simply vanished.

After a search by four branches of the military, all 107 people abroad were presumed dead. Also, the Flying Tiger was never found because there was no evidence so no one know what happened. Without facts, there have been guesses and conspiracy theories from every angle and perspective. Eyewitness testimonies claim that they saw a vapor trail and a bright flash of light near the aircraft’s expected position.

6Pan Am Flight 7

On the 8th of November in 1957, Pan Am Flight 7 was just starting a luxurious and round-the-world journey when it crashed into the ocean. The accident killed 44 people, and the wreckage was located a week later when a US Navy aircraft carrier spotted bodies floating. Authorities were unable to pinpoint the cause of the accident, but there were several curious facts about the crash.

For one, no distress calls were ever received, and the debris was far off the course. Another fact from toxicology reports revealed that several of the recovered bodies had high levels of carbon monoxide in their systems. Over 50 years later, people are still searching for answers and there are no theories that we can take seriously.

7South African Airways Flight 295

South African Airways Flight 295 was a Boeing 747-244B Comi named The Helderberg which was delivered to the airline in 1980. The aircraft took off on 27th of November in 1987 from Taipei Chiang Kai Shek International Airport to Johannesburg via Mauritius. It was the variant of the aircraft that permits the mixing of passengers and airfreight on the main deck. Flight 295 had 140 passengers and 6 pallets of cargo on the main deck.

34 minutes after the departure, the flight contacted Hong Kong air traffic control to obtain clearance from waypoint ELATO to ISBAN. A position report was made over ELATO at 15:03:25 (according to the source), followed by waypoints SUNEK at 15:53:52. Then ADMARK at 16:09:54 and SUKAR at 16:34:47.

The aircraft made a routine report to the South African Airways base at Jan Smuts (ZUR) at 15:55:18. At some point during the flight, a fire developed in the cargo section on the main deck. Probably, no one could extinguish the fire before the impact, then the smoke evacuation calls for the aircraft to be depressurized. They also requested to open two of the cabin doors.

No evidence exists that the checklist was followed, or how the doors were opened. A crew member might have gone into the cargo to try to fight the fire. Investigators later found a charged fire extinguisher in the wreckage with molten metal. They located the first surface debris 12 hours after the impact as it had drifted considerably from the impact location. Oil slicks and 8 bodies showing signs of extreme trauma appeared in the water, and 140 passengers and 19 crew were killed.

8Star Dust

So Star Dust was a civilian version of the Lancaster bomber, and it was registered to British South American Airways. In 1947, the plane was traveling from Buenos Aires to Santiago but disappeared over the Andes minutes after its scheduled landing. In his last moments, the aircraft’s radio operator transmitted one final puzzling Morse code message: “STENDEC”.

There was no trace of Star Dust, and investigators concluded they would never know what happened to the aircraft after the searching. Fifty years later, hikers discovered the plane’s wreckage in a melting glacier which led to the reasons for the crash. Star Dust went off course and mistakenly descended into the cloud-covered mountain range when in low visibility during flight.

The mysterious part is the Morse code, and we don’t know if it was an alien abduction or an accident.

9TWA Flight 800

In 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed 12 minutes after taking off from John F. Kennedy airport which killed 230 people. After four years of investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that defective wiring caused a spark that ignited the plane’s fuel supply. However, that explanation contradicts the hundreds of FBI witnesses who say they saw a streak of light rise up toward the plane. Where the fireball emerged.

These reports caused some people to believe the aircraft was actually shot down by a missile. You would ask “Who would shoot a civilian plane?” One of the prevailing theories is that the US military mistakenly hit it during Navy training sessions. That was because the two events had the same schedule on that very same day. Other anomalies surrounding the events include explosive residues on the plane’s remnants, and claims that the FBI tampered with evidence. Also, there were discrepancies between the radar data and the official theory.

10USAir Flight 427

image: twitter

There were 132 people who boarded USAir Flight 427 with the expectation to take a short trip from Chicago to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, within 10 minutes of their destination, the plane inexplicably malfunctioned and plummeted to the ground at 500kph in speed. All 132 people onboard died on impact, and it was one of the deadliest plane crashes in US history. The crash created a scene so gruesome that hardened war veterans were disturbed by the carnage.

Normally, investigators can establish the cause of a crash within a week or two but this case was different. For Flight 427, it took over four years to determine the cause of the malfunction. Examiners studied every theory imaginable and ultimately determined that a defect in the rudder caused the pilots to lose control. The hot question is “Was USAir aware of the rudder problems in their 737 planes?”

There were similar crashes in 1990s, and USAir could have prevented the 427 tragedy if they had investigated other crashes more thoroughly. As a result, many of the victims’ families sued USAir Inc. and Boeing Co. which brought the two companies opted to settle out of court for nearly $50 million.

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