Last week, Nasa confirmed that a group of amateur Russian space enthusiasts have discovered the remnants of Mars 3, a Soviet Spacecraft which had vanished more than 40 years ago. Over the past few centuries, there have been plenty of such incidents where ships, aircrafts and people have vanished without a trace fuelling several conspiracy theories. We take a look at few such mysterious disappearances.
Benjamin Briggs, the captain aboard Mary Celeste, set sail on November 7, 1872 from New York to Genoa, Italy with his family, crew and passengers. A month later, the ship was spotted drifting in the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 600 miles off the Portugal coast. Although the ship was in good condition, the entire crew and its passengers vanished without a trace. It got even more bizarre when investigators found everything on the ship, including the cutlery, food and alcohol intact. Even if the passengers had jumped into the sea, their bodies were never found. The curious case of Mary Celeste hasn’t been solved completely to this day.
Roald Amundsen, who led the expedition to discover the South Pole in 1911, had no clue what was in store for him when he decided to go on a rescue mission towards North Pole in June 1928. Two years earlier, he teamed up with 15 others members who belonged to the crew of an aeronautical engineer named Umberto Nobile. In June 1928, when the airship carrying Nobile’s crew crashed while returning from North Pole, Roald Amundsen tagged along with Norwegian pilot Leif Dietrichson, French pilot René Guilbaud, and three more Frenchmen on a rescue mission. He was onboard a French Latham 47 flying boat which crashed all of a sudden near Tromsø, a coastal city in Norway. Despite a massive search operation, Roald Amundsen’s body was never recovered and he was presumed dead. Was he?
In 1925, British archaeologist and explorer, Percy Fawcett decided to go to Brazil to find the ‘Lost City of Z’ which he believed was the ‘City of Gold’. No one had ever found it before and Percy was literally on a wild goose chase. On the day before he left the last outpost in the Brazilian jungle which had contact with modern civilisation, he sent a letter to his wife and that was the last time anyone had seen him. Several rescue missions were sent to find the whereabouts of Percy Fawcett, but except for some of his belongings, no one ever found a trace of him. Some said he was killed by the tribes, but what if he actually found the city?
Amelia Earhart became one of the most revered aviators in USA and Europe, after she became the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. After that she went on several other flying missions with great success which led her to decide to make an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. With funding from Purdue, Earhart got onboard her Lockheed Electra 10E airplane and began her journey on June 1, 1937 from Miami. After flying nearly 22,000 miles Amelia Earhart finally arrived in Lae, Papua New Guinea on June 29. Three days later, she was supposed to fly to Howland Island, which is in the midst of Pacific Ocean. She never reached there which sparked several conspiracy theories including that of a Japanese attack. The truth has been buried for eternity.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
One of the most popular writers and aviators of his era, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry couldn’t have guessed that he would mysteriously disappear just like the character in his most famous novel The Little Prince. On July 31, 1944, he took off on a spying mission for the Allies from Corsica, but never returned or spotted ever again. Nearly 60 years later, French authorities claimed to have found the wreckage of his plane but the reason why his plane crashed couldn’t be ascertained. Except for the helmet he wore, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was never recovered from the sea despite several search operations.
Louis Le Prince
Louis Le Prince, who created the world’s first motion picture in 1888, was on a Paris bound train in September 1890. He was preparing to go to UK to patent his camera and later go to US to promote it. Everything would have been perfect, except that his friends in Paris never found him in the train. He simply ‘disappeared’ along with his luggage and the railway and police officials never even found a dead body along the railway line. A conspiracy theory suggests that he might have been killed due to patent wars or maybe he committed suicide due to bankruptcy!
MV Joyita, a merchant vessel set sail from Samoa to Tokelau Islands in Pacific Ocean in October 1955. The vessel was carrying 25 people and a cargo of timber and empty oil drums. What was supposed to be a two-day voyage turned out to be a never ending journey and four days later authorities at Tokelau Islands reported that the vessel never reached their shores. A month later, the vessel was spotted 600 miles away from Samoa and there wasn’t a soul onboard. The entire crew, navigational equipment, food and lifeboats were missing, but none of them were found during an air rescue mission. MV Joyita still remains as a mystery.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.