National Geographic airs a series titled ‘Air Crash Investigation’ which recounts the investigations into some of aviation history’s worst disasters. Be it the Pan Am Flight 103 exploding in the skies or the mid-air collision between Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763 and a Kazakhstan Airlines jet, these crashes have baffled investigators for long. It has taken them days and sometimes even months to uncover the reason behind the mishaps. Although most air crash investigations have met with a definitive end, but there are some that continue to remain unfathomable. We take a look at some of the most perplexing disasters in aviation history
It is described as one of the strangest mysteries in recent aviation history. The aircraft disappeared into thin air on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board. No bodies, no wreckage! Since then, no trace of the aircraft has been found. In recent times, aviation experts have attributed it to a mass-murder suicide committed by the pilot. They have formed this theory after recreating the flight’s path using military radars. However, there is still no concrete evidence.
An Egyptian jet airliner crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 100km south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, U.S.A on October 31, 1999. All 217 people on board died. The initial investigations by the U.S. NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) held the co-pilot responsible for the crash. The Egyptian authorities rejected these claims. They conducted an independent investigation which attributed the accident to a mechanical failure. The truth is still not out there and unfortunately, it may never be!
On a beautiful spring day in 1968, an Irish passenger aircraft inexplicably plunged into the Irish Sea. The entire crew along with 57 passengers got killed. Was it hit by a missile or was it a man-made error that caused it? Yet another case of conflicting findings! One report published in 1970 suggested the possibility of it being hit by another airborne object. Another release in 2002 negated such a possibility. Till date, various theories abound about ‘the greatest mystery in Irish aviation history’.
Speculation is still rife about the reason for the disappearance of Pan Am Flight 7 in 1957. The aircraft took off from San Francisco International Airport on November 8, 1957, for Honolulu, Hawaii; never to be seen again. It just vanished in the skies with 44 people on board. The U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board could not find tangible evidence to determine the cause of the accident. Was it negligence, sabotage, or fraud? No one has found answers yet. It remains…an eternal mystery!
The Avro Lancastrian Star Dust, carrying six passengers and a crew of five from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile disappeared in a snowstorm on August 2, 1947. Speculations included bizarre theories like abduction by aliens! In 1998, two climbers spotted wreckage of an aircraft in the icy mountains of Mount Tupungato. This, later emerged, as the wreckage of the Star Dust. Reports confirmed that the plane had crashed into the glaciers. The emergence of the flight’s remains was as mysterious as its disappearance. But the secret of the crash remains buried in the mountain’s belly…perhaps buried forever!