There have been several aviation disasters that become controversial when the aircraft and all of the passengers disappeared into thin air. One of the most controversial and mysterious aviation disasters was the Amelia Earhart disappearance in 1937, and Flight 19 on December 5, 1945. Amelia Earhart and her navigator were on board the aircraft Electra when they disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean, there was no evidence to explain the tragedy.
Probably the most talked-about aviation mystery was the Flight 19, where five aircraft mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Florida during a bombing training exercise, and another aircraft sent off to rescue them also disappeared, which gave birth to the Bermuda Triangle theory.
Most recently the media was flooded with news of the disastrous fate of Flight MH 370.
The search for the Boeing 777, with 239 people aboard on March 8, 2014, still continues to date for hopes of getting to the bottom of the tragedy, but chances of surviving this disaster were slim, the plane has been missing for a month now. Check out 10 of the most Mysterious Aviation Disasters.
10- Vittorio Missoni’s Britten-Norman Islander
In January 2013, a small private plane owned by Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni had disappeared after taking off from Los Roques Airport. Vittorio Missoni and his wife Maurizia Castiglioni together with friends Guido Foresti and Elda Scalvenzi and two crew members were on board the flight from a vacation in Los Roques, a Venezuelan archipelago towards Caracas when it rapidly lost altitude and speed before disappearing from radar. The plane was found six months after in the Caribbean Sea on June 27, 2013
9- Steve Fossette’s Balance Super Decathlon
Steve Fossett is an american businessman, adventurer, sailor and a famous aviator for being the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon. Fossett set off from a private airfield in Nevada but was reported missing on September 3, 2007, after the Bellanca Decathlon he was flying failed to return.
Fossett could not be found despite months of search, he was declared dead on February 15, 2008. Fossett’s remains were not found but his identification cards were found by some hikers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and the crash site was discovered on October 1, 2008.
8- Lady Be Good aircraft B-24D
United States Army Air Forces’ Lady Be Good aircraft disappeared without a trace during the WWII. The plane never returned after its first mission to Naples, Italy on April 4, 1943. It was first assumed that the plane had crashed into the Mediterranean Sea and lost its nine-man crew. But investigators have concluded that the plane had overflown their air base in a sandstorm, ran out of fuel and crashed in the desert.
In 1958 the crash site was discovered in the Calanshio Sand Sea of the Libyan Desert by some oil exploration team. Search for the remains of the crews was conducted in February 1960. The evidence concluded that eight of the nine-man crew parachuted safely down from the aircraft, but one crew died of the fall. The survivors continued to walk for safety but eventually did not survive the desert heat with no food and water.
7- TWA flight 800
Trans World Airlines Flight 800, exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on July 17, 1996. It was reported that 12 minutes after the plane took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on a flight en route to Rome, the plane exploded killing all 230 people on board. It was speculated that terrorism had caused this deadly aviation accident.
But after six months of extensive investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board, terrorism was ruled out. According to investigators, the most likely cause of the explosion was due to a short circuit outside the center wing fuel tank that allowed excessive voltage to enter through electrical wiring that ignited the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank.
6- Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 also known as the “Andes flight disaster” or the “Miracle of the Andes” was a chartered flight on board 45 people that crashed in the Andes on October 13, 1972. More than a quarter of the passengers died in the crash and several others quickly died to cold, starvation and injury.
The survivors lacked the equipment to survive in this harsh condition. Their chances of survival were slim due to injuries and starvation. One of the 27 survivors, Nando Parrado, in his 2006 book ( Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home) he detailed their 72-day fight for survival by feeding on some of their dead friend’s bodies preserved in the snow.
The Survivors were rescued 72 days after the crash, on the afternoon of December 22, 1972. But due to extreme weather conditions, the other survivors were rescued the next day. All 27 survivors were brought to a nearby hospital on December 23, 2014.
5- Fight 19 Bermuda Triangle
The Bermuda Triangle myth all started when crew members of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers or the Flight 19 mission, disappeared off the coast of Florida, which later became the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945 during a bomb training exercise.
Two hours after the flight exercise, the crew lost their compasses and were unable to locate a landing ground, the aircrafts eventually ran out of fuel for more than five hours of flying and have crashed into the waters. A PBM Mariner flying boat was dispatched to rescue, but mysteriously lost radio communications and disappeared too.
Flight 19 was composed of five aircraft: BuNo 45714, BuNo 46094, BuNo 46325, BuNo 73209, and BuNo 23307. All pilots of six planes including the PBM Mariner and 27 people were left missing with unknown causes.
4- British South American Airways Star Dust
In August 1947, a British South American Airways (BSAA) Avro Lancastrian airliner or Star Dust crashed into Mount Tupungato in the Argentine Andes. The fate of this tragedy was left unsolved and unexplained although several speculations emerged like sabotage or even alien abduction. Forty three years later, pieces of wreckage from the missing aircraft began to emerge from the glacial ice giving light to investigations.
It was concluded that the aircraft crashed into Mount Tupungato due to bad weather condition, killing all aboard and burying itself in snow and ice.
3- Egyptian Flight 990
A regularly scheduled flight from Los Angeles International Airport, United States, to Cairo International Airport, turned into a horrendous fight on October 31, 1999, killing all 217 people on board.
There were 203 passengers from seven countries: Canada, Egypt, Germany, Sudan, Syria, United States, and Zimbabwe and 14 Egyptian crews aboard the Boeing 767-300ER when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean due to mechanical failure. In further investigations made by the NTSB they stressed that the crash was a direct result of actions made by the co-pilot for “unknown” reasons.
2- Air France Flight 447
The Air France flight 447 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in June 2009 with 228 people on board. Airbus 330 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 people on board. According to investigators the plane’s autopilot disconnected, probably after the aircraft’s airspeed-measuring tubes were frozen by ice crystals, the pilots reacted incorrectly and led the aircraft to an aerodynamic stall which eventually crashed into the waters. It took five days of search before the crash site was discovered and it took almost two years before the plane’s black boxes were recovered in May 2011.
1- Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart is a writer, feminist icon, and a famous aviator for being the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The Amelia Earhart and navigator Captain Fred Noonan’s disappearance became the most popular and controversial. It was speculated that the Electra, the plane Earhart was flying ran out of fuel and crashed on their flight to Howland Island on July 2, 1937.
Costly search efforts have been conducted nearby Howland Island, but to no avail, Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939. Several articles and books have been written about her life which is often cited as an inspirational tale, especially for girls.