Surely you’ve heard by now about the missing flight, Malaysia Airlines flight 370. If for some reason you live under a rock, here’s the quick and dirty as far as I understand it: Flight 370 departed from Kuala Lumpur on March 8th and was scheduled to arrive in Beijing six hours later. However, the Boeing 777 and its entire passenger and crew disappeared and have not since been recovered.
Theories abound. I’m not big on “conspiracy theories” and I think people who constantly spew them are daft, but Lord help me I have a soft spot for this type of thing. Enormous planes with several hundred people on board don’t just…disappear. Even if the plane its self crashed into the ocean and sank, surely someone survived? There ought to be wreckage, debris, people floating in makeshift life boats, or at least a distress signal, right?
I find things like this fascinating not because of the loss of life. On the contrary, I hope very much that these people are found safe. But I love the mystery of it. I love the idea of something so big and so modern and so technologically advanced just vanishing into thin air. It reminds me of the Bermuda Triangle stories. So many ships and aircraft lost at sea, never recovered, no trace left behind. Quite fascinating.
One such story revolves around the ship called the Ellen Austin. As the story goes, the Ellen Austin was sailing from London to New York in the year 1881. She was using the North Atlantic Gyre (known also as the Gulf Stream in that specific region) to hasten her journey, which places her in the area called the Bermuda Triangle. The story goes that she spotted another ship, and upon closer inspection noted that this ship had been abandoned. A righteous sum of money could be earned by sailing this derelict ship back to port, so the captain of the Ellen Austin sent over a prize crew to do the trick.
As they sailed back to New York harbor, a storm arose and the ships were separated. By the time it had passed, the Ellen Austin had lost sight of the prize ship and it, along with the crew on board, were never found again.
Some reports later embellish the tale with this addition: the prize ship was rediscovered, sans crew. So the captain sent over another group of men, only to lose them too, and the derelict ship vanished a second time. Of this there is little to no evidence. In fact, the entire story is unsupported by shipping documents of the era. That doesn’t mean that it never happened; it simply means it wasn’t documented properly by port authorities at the time.
What happened to the original crew of the derelict ship? Why was a seemingly undamaged vessel floating unmanned in fair weather? How does a modern day commercial air craft equipped with the best navigational and radio technology disappear during a routine flight?
I smell a short story in the making…