Every now and again, such as in the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, the idea of a disappearing plane will captivate the world. Almost since man has first been able to take to the skies, man has thought of ways in which taking to the skies could be dangerous or almost supernatural in nature. Most every time that a plane disappears, there is eventually a ‘logical’ explanation that is found. Often, the reason will be tragic but in some way mundane. However, the longer that a plane stays gone, there starts to linger a certain fantastical element to the disappearance. Sometimes, this element can linger even after the plane is found and a mundane answer is given. Some of them are plausible (and have actually happened) and others are fancifully and wonderfully outside the realm of what we know as possibility.
This article as written March 10, 2014. At this time the fate of Flight MH370 was not known.
10. The Living Survivors Became Cannibals
The odyssey of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 will forever be etched in people’s memories. The crash in the Andes mountains actually claim the lives of most of the passengers in October of 1972. Another ten passengers were killed in an avalanche. The remaining passengers were left without food or sustenance. The survivors then had to make the hard decision to eat the dead passengers whose bodies had been well preserved in the ice. Finally, two of the passengers trekked over the Andes mountains and were able to lead authorities to the rest of the survivors. However, for all time, aviation now had its own version of the ‘The Donner Party.”
9. The Plane Was Shot Down By A Terrorist Missile
On December 21st, 1988, a bomb destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 en route from London to New York. Libyan terrorists were blamed for the attack. Eventually, a bomb stored in an audio cassette player was found to be the cause. To date, only one man was ever convicted in the bombing. However, at the time and to this day another theory on the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that will not leave the public imagination. That explanation is that a rocket propelled grenade or actual surface to air missile took down the flight. The conspiracy theory goes that authorities did not want the public to know that terrorist possessed such capabilities or that terrorists were able to launch a missile on foreign soil. There were even complaints that the audio tape deck bomb was a plant. Once a conspiracy theory takes hold, it is hard to shake.
8. The Plane Was Attacked By Another Nation!
Again, this one has kind of scary roots in reality. In August of 1983, Soviet fighters shot down Korean Flight 007 bring the entire Cold War to a near boil. The 007 (you just cannot get around that flight number in this situation ) was a Boeing 747 passenger plane. Declassified documents have now revealed that the downing of 007 was very close to being the event that sparked World War III. President Ronald Reagan had already made his famous ‘Evil Empire’ speech about the Soviet Union the previous March. The impetus seemed similar to the sinking of the Lusitania which nearly drew the United States into World War I. The Soviet pilot would later state that he ‘had no time to think’ but had a ‘job to do’ with the plane near Soviet airspace. It all sounded too curiously like ‘I was just following orders.’
7. The Plane Was Attacked By Our Own Nation!
Reading 9/11 conspiracy theories may yet be the one thing that would convince you that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. If you can get near a computer with internet access, then you could probably come with a novel about how the attacks of September 11th, 2001 were an inside job by the United States government and get at least one person out there to be convinced that it was gospel. People have started out writing fictional stories about it and then been convinced that some how their fictional story was how it all actually happened. The important thing here is the belief by the conspirators that the Muslim terrorists were framed. You would be surprised (or potentially not) how many of them believe that the Isreali government in conjunction with the United States destroyed not on the planes but that the World Trade Center was a controlled demolition.
6. All The People On Board Were Already Dead!
Singapore Airlines Flight 21 had one of the longest routes for a plane in the world. It went from Newark, New Jersey to Singapore in one continuous non-stop flight. The flight also had ‘corpse lockers’ in which dead bodies could be stored because the flight would not make an emergency stop over places like a polar ice cap. Flights like this lead to rumors that countries could intentionally stock a flight completely with corpses for the sole purpose of getting shot down by other nations. The pilots would essentially run kamikaze missions and it would be hard to tell from the remains exactly when someone died or even think that they were strapped in dead. On the level of insanity, this one is at least somewhat plausible.
5. The Survivors Are Living On An Island Somewhere
Sure, we now all have the metaphysics of the television show Lost to back up this notion. However, there are a surprising number of people looking for evidence that as far back as Amelia Earhart, plane crash survivors lived a castaway lifestyle. Robert Zemekis’ film Cast Away also took up this notion. With Earhart, there are still people doing excavations on or about Howland Island. The theory goes that Earhart actually landed the plane having run out of fuel and was never found… to this day. If physical effects of Earhart could be found on the island not as scattered debris or portions of the plane, then there might yet be credence to the theory. After all, nothing else has managed to give a better explanation in nearly a century.
4. The Plane Was Downed By Dinosaur!
There are people who will believe most anything up to and including that dinosaurs still walk, swim, and possibly fly among us. The truth of the matter is that we have not identified every single living thing on this planet. There are even people who have claimed to have seen pterodactyls as they have flown in planes. All we are saying is that in case of a pterodactyl attack, we are not going to side with the passenger airline on this one. Its simple physics. Ordinary birds have brought down air craft due to some collision or another. What would happen if it flew into a flying dinosaur? How apt would the Federal Aviation Administration be to put the phrase ‘giant talon’ and ‘ripped dinosaur wing’ into its report. How many planes have run afoul or crypto-zoological nightmares? We are just saying here.
3. Wormhole Through Another Dimension
There has long been a romanticism that plane travel and space flight could take us to destinations that we had not intended. Legends of places like the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ are filled with magnificent disappearing acts which seem like the plane or boat might have simply vanished off of the face of the earth. There is no real evidence for the so called Philadelphia Experiment but that did not actually stop people from believing that large magnets could send a whole ship through space and time. Of course, if wormholes do not exist naturally, then why would people worry about something like the Large Hadron Collider creating one un-naturally? Why did they have to actually study whether the thing was an apocalyptic doomsday device that could drag a whole planet into another universe when there is absolutely no possibility that it could happen to a plane? All we are saying is that it bears a little consideration. We are not saying anyone survived in another universe. We are saying that the trip might have been possible.
2. The Plane Traveled Back / Forward Through Time
The most obvious one of these is the ‘Odyssey of Flight 33’ from the original Twilight Zone series (which examined more than once the theory of planes traveling through time) examining a plane taking off in one time and landing or flying through another. Maybe we have not dug far enough down to find an ancient crash or simply not witnessed an old plane finally making its landing at a modern day airport. The plane simply vanishing (as pointed out in the wormhole scenario) does not necessarily mean that it did not make a journey. It simply means that it did not make the intended journey. Time travel has fascinated the people of Earth since there has been time itself. The plane is just the latest type of conduit which might make it possible. At some point, it might even fly past a Delorean.
1. When All Else Fails…ALIENS!!!!
Depending on the perceived level of technology, there are several different ways to tell this one. The Unidentified Flying Object may have disintegrated the craft as well as all evidence of the passengers. The more popular theory is that the UFO simply took the craft as well as all the passengers on board for its own nefarious purposes. By nefarious purposes, feel free to read in here ‘anal probing.’ There is, of course, the hope that by now they have learned all that they can from that. According to films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well as Flight of the Navigator, there is an off chance that one day we might get the entire craft and everyone in it back intact as well as un-aged. This is also assuming that they have yet to figure out what wonderful cuisine we humans can sometimes make.