• History

15 of the Most Mysterious Airline Tragedies

As the world waits to find out what has happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, your mind can't help but wander. How does a plane just vanish? Airplane crashes are often terrifying and devastating, but what happens when you don't know where the plane went? Anxiety overwhelms you. The plane has disappeared into the abyss.
 
Every mystery garners a series of conspiracies. Was it hijacked, only to be reused for terrorism? Did aliens beam the flight into outer space? Did the flight just up and vanish into another dimension? Only time will tell. 
 
Mysterious flights have vanished all over the world since the beginning of aviation. Check out some of these planes that went missing in the South Pacific and the Bermuda Triangle. Other mysteries of air travel include downed planes with multiple stories about why they fell. The sky is a mysterious place, if you aren't careful.
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  • EgyptAir Flight 804

    Photo: Alexander Babashov / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    EgyptAir Flight 804 mysteriously went missing over the Mediterranean Sea in the early hours of May 19, 2016. It disappeared from radar with 66 people on board, after taking off from Paris toward its destination in Cairo. Greek air traffic controllers were the last officials in contact with the flight. They said that it swerved sharply then plunged from 37,000 feet into the Mediterranean shortly after entering Cairo airspace. Egypt's own civil aviation minister said in a press conference that he believed the crash was more likely a result of terrorist action than mechanical difficulties.
  • Malaysia Airlines MH370

    Photo: Zennie Abraham / Flickr

    March 2014: Malaysia Airlines MH370 is the most recent cause for concern. The flight left Malaysia on Friday, March 7, 2014. To date, the flight still hasn't been found. The latest news suggests that the flight veered away from its path, and could have disappeared somewhere en route towards India. New details constantly emerge, but the mystery remains.

    UPDATE (7/29/15)

    A piece of a wing from a Boeing 777, the same model as MH370, has washed ashore on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. 
     

    If the wing piece, which appears to have been in the ocean for over a year, does indeed belong to the missing aircraft, it would dramatically shift the scope of the search and recovery operation currently being run by the Australian government.  
      
    UPDATE 6.27.2016  

    Another piece of debris turned up off the coast of Tanzania in June 2016. The wreckage may be from Malaysia Airlines MH370.
  • Photo: u/klassixx / Reddit
    Amelia Earhart was an aviation innovator. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She sought to top that record by circumnavigating the globe. In 1937, she left on the journey. In her last radio transmission, somewhere in the South Pacific, she said she couldn't find the airstrip and that she was almost out of gas. She was never heard from again, and her plane still has never been recovered.
     
  • EgyptAir Flight 990

    In 1999, a Cairo-bound flight crashed sixty miles into the ocean off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. 217 passengers were killed. They found the wreckage, but the mystery remains: Why did this happen? A U.S. National Transportation Safety Board reported that the crash was caused by a distraught pilot. The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority disagreed and claimed that the crash was due to mechanical error.