Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has now led to one of the longest searches for a plane, but also one of the most confusing aviation mysteries. It was a red-eye flight from Kuala Lumpur going to Beijing carrying 239 passengers including crew members. Since the disappearance, there have been searches in the Gulf of Thailand, reported debris by the Chinese, radar pings in different directions, passengers with stolen passports, and many theories surrounding the missing plane. Although the latest news points to the plane either landing or crashing near the Indian Ocean, the details that have been released don’t give a clear answer.
Flight 370 lost contact shortly after take-off, and changed altitude and direction according to satellite pings. Since the planes transponders were shut-off-either by someone, or a catastrophic event-the radar pings are the only evidence investigators have to go on. The last ping was sent over the Indian Ocean, which is why investigators are heading that direction to search the waters. Although Malaysia Flight 370 has some mysterious clues surrounding the disappearance, there are a few other plane crashes that could shed light on what happened with Flight 370.
Helios Airways Flight 522
The Helios Airways Flight 522 from Cyprus that was carrying 121 passengers and crew was on its way to Greece when the pilots overlooked the decompression switch that was still set to manual instead of automatic. Without the pilots realizing, they were suffering from hypoxia, which is a loss of oxygen, as the plane reached higher altitudes. This caused everyone on board to lose consciousness, except for the steward who was coherent enough to try and save the plane. Even though fighter jets were deployed to investigate the unresponsive plane, there was nothing they could do, and they watched as the steward tried to steer the plane, but they were unable to get his attention before he fell unconscious and the plane crashed.
Air France 447
On June 1, 2009, Air France flight 447 was flying over the Atlantic Ocean when a series of errors happened. While flying through extreme weather, the airspeed sensors iced up causing the pilots difficulty. From there, they had to manually fly the plane instead of using autopilot, and did so with many mistakes. They were unable to recover, and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Similar to the Malaysia Flight 330, the plane was difficult to find. It took investigators 5 days to find any wreckage, and 2 years to recover the black box.
Golfer Payne Stewart plane crash
Sunjet Aviation Learjet 35 strayed from its intended path from Orlando to Dallas within minutes of take-off. Only 14 minutes into the trip, traffic controllers were unable to connect to the pilot, so a U.S. Air Force F-16 was deployed to assess the situation. It found golfer Payne Stewart’s plane with frosted windows, which is a sign of a loss of cabin pressure. It continued flying this way until it ran out of fuel and crashed in South Dakota.