Missing plane mysteries – Bermuda Triangle riddle to alien abduction theories

Planes vanishing without explanation, pilots disappearing without a trace and – of course – the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.

Aviation disappearances have proved very puzzling.

While planes vanishing in thin air is certainly not a common occurrence, there have been a number of perplexing incidents since we first took to the skies in flying machines at the beginning of the 20th Century.

They have given rise to a host of interesting, if a little wild, theories.

Here, in one of six features included in your free Daily Star pullout this Friday, March 5, Nadine Linge looks at some of the most baffling.

Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board when it disappeared.

Official accounts concluded the Boeing 777 executed a dramatic U-turn less than an hour into its planned flight, before plummeting into the Indian Ocean.

The search carried out for this plane was the most expensive in aviation history.

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Disputed pieces of debris were found, but the plane was not.

Proposed theories included the pilot crashing on purpose, a drop in air pressure leaving the crew unconscious, a lightning strike or lithium batteries in the cargo hold catching fire.

There have also been suggestions it was shot down during a military exercise between the US and Thailand and was hijacked.

Flight 19

The Bermuda Triangle has long been associated with chilling disappearances, including the loss, without trace, of the USS Cyclops, an American ship that went missing in 1918 with 306 crew.

Then, in December 1945, five US Navy Avenger bombers mysteriously vanished over the Atlantic near Bermuda while on a routine training mission.

A rescue plane sent to find them never returned. A total of 27 lives were lost.

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One theory is Lieutenant Charles Taylor, who led the flight, got lost and directed the planes out to sea, where they crashed into the water after running out of fuel.

But no wreckage was found and an official investigation could not explain why Taylor would have become so disorientated.

Since then, a string of alternative theories has been offered up, from magnetic disturbances to the notion that the crews were abducted by Flight 370.

Flying Tiger Flight 739

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In 1962, during the early stages of the Vietnam War, US Army Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 vanished over the Mariana Trench, a seemingly bottomless abyss in the Pacific Ocean, on its way to the Philippines from Guam.

There were 107 people on board, mostly jungle-trained army rangers.

Eight minutes into its journey, the pilot radioed a routine position report. Another report was due just over an hour later, but never came and no distress calls were received.

Despite an exhaustive search involving 1,300 people, 48 aircraft and eight surface vessels, all of which covered roughly 144,000 square miles, nothing was found

The only clue was a report of what appeared to be an in-flight explosion from the crew of a tanker along the route. No trace of wreckage or debris was ever recovered.

Amelia Earhart

The American aviator was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

But on July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan vanished over Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean as they attempted to circumnavigate the globe.

Despite no wreckage being found, the most popular theory is that they crashed into the ocean.

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Navigation experts have also suggested that the pair, low on fuel, drifted off course and landed on another reef, where they lived as castaways until their deaths.

Clothing remnants and plastic found on the reef back up this theory.

Another idea is that Earhart was a spy shot down and captured by the Japanese, while others maintain the explorer faked her death, changed her name and moved to New Jersey.

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