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7 Mysterious Airline Disappearances

airline disappearance

The mysterious case of Amelia Earhardt is arguably the most popular plane disappearance in history, and while a piece of the wing from Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was recently found, the rest of the plane and its passengers remain missing. These incidents are just two of many that have gone unsolved, and we thought we’d share a few others:

Flying Tiger Line Flight 739

Back in 1962, a U.S. military airliner took off from California carrying 96 soldiers and 11 crewmen. Its mission was to land in Saigon, Vietnam, but the flight disappeared over the Pacific Ocean en route to the Philippines. One of the largest searches in history was conducted to find out what happened, but no plane or passenger evidence was ever found. Rumor has it that the flight exploded, but the truth was never learned.

U.S. Navy Flight 19

In 1945, at the height of World War II, the United States dispatched five torpedo bomber planes from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to perform a training exercise. An hour and a half into the mission, the pilots reported that they had become disoriented and couldn’t recognize where they were. After air traffic control attempts failed to help, a sixth plane set out to help, however, none of the seven planes ever returned and the passengers were never heard from again. This unsolved case began the mysterious theories behind the Bermuda Triangle.

Glenn Miller

In December of 1945, big band musician Glenn Miller boarded a plane in Bedford, England that was destined for Paris, France. The plane never made it, however, and disappeared over the English Channel. For nearly 70 years, the disappearance remained a mystery and Miller was never found, but in 2014, evidence was uncovered that pointed to the cause of the crash – icing.

Star Flights

Between 1948 and 1949, two British South American Airways planes went missing. The first was called the Star Tiger, which disappeared flying from Santa Maria in Azores to Bermuda in January of 1948. With 25 passengers on board, the flight took off into strong winds and because of the bad conditions, flew behind a lookout plane. The lookout plane arrived in Bermuda, but the Star Tiger and its passengers were never seen again.

About a year later, in January of 1949, BSAA’s Star Ariel took off on a flight from Bermuda to Jamaica. Unlike the Star Tiger, the Ariel had clear skies, but underwent communication problems during the flight. The plane never reached Jamaica and its 20 passengers went missing. After conducting further investigations into both plane disappearances, BSAA’s former director claimed the flights had been sabotaged by a “known war-registered saboteur,” but neither have ever been found.

NWA Flight 2501

On a voyage from New York City to Seattle, Northwest Orient Airlines flight 2501 vanished from radar screens over Lake Michigan. When the pilots were never heard from again, a search was conducted in the area. While light debris and human fragments were found in the days following, the aircraft itself was never located – even after an extensive search at the bottom of the lake. All 50 passengers were considered dead.

Varig Brazilian Airlines

In 1979, a Boeing 707 cargo airline owned by Varig Brazilian Airlines took off from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. About 30 minutes after takeoff, the plane disappeared. On board were 153 paintings by artist Manabu Mabe (valued at $1.2 million) and six crew members, none of which were seen again.