Aviation Mysteries: 10 Strangest Aircraft Disappearances in History

1. Avro Lancastrian ‘Star Dust’

avro-lancastrian-stardust (Image: Aeroplane Monthly via Ian Dunster)

While the wreckage of the Stardust has technically been found, there’s still enough questions surrounding this crash and 53-year disappearance that we’re going to include it on the list.

On August 2, 1947, the British Avro Lancastrian airliner known as ‘Star Dust’ left Buenos Aires for Santiago, with 6 passengers and 5 crew on board. Minutes before it was due to land, it simply vanished – but not before sending a final, mysterious transmission: STENDEC. Until then, there was absolutely no sign that there was anything out of the ordinary.

There was a massive search of the Andes in the region of the aircraft’s sudden disappearance, but no trace of the plane was found – until 53 years later.

In 2000, the plane’s wreckage was found more than 30 miles from where the plane was last known to be, high up on the Tupangato peak where it had – bizarrely – gone unnoticed by mountaineers for more than five decades. Later examination of the plane’s wreckage led to the explanation that it had ultimately been covered by freezing snowfall after the crash, burying it deeper and deeper in the glacier; it was only revealed again when it had traveled along with the moving mountain into warmer climates that would have melted the ice that had concealed it for so long.

Ultimately, it was determined that the plane’s attempts to fly too high meant that it had entered the jet-stream, slowed down enough that when it attempted to descend, it was still on the wrong side of the mountains. The pilots couldn’t compensate quickly enough, at first unable to even see the mountains through the cloud cover.

But what’s still not known is what the flight’s last communication means. All other radio communication had been normal, save for STENDEC; it’s been suggested that it was an attempt to say DESCENT, or Stardust. It’s also bee suggested that each letter stood for something else, acting as initials…. but nothing has ever been concretely proven, and most likely never will be.

Keep Reading – 10 of the Most Bizarre UFO Sightings Ever Reported


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About the author: Debra Kelly




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