How Often Do Planes Disappear?

Do planes disappear suddenly without a trace?

For many of us, missing planes bring to mind the myth of the Bermuda Triangle, the 500,000 square mile area in the Atlantic Ocean where planes and ships are believed to just disappear. However, missing planes are not as rare as we think and they are definitely not exclusive to the area of ocean called the Bermuda Triangle. According to Aviation Safety Network Records, at least 85 passenger, cargo and military transport planes have vanished without a trace since 1948. These incidents have taken place all over the world and no aircraft debris or passenger bodies have been discovered for them as of 2014.

The record of missing planes includes the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. The commercial flight which had 239 people on board went missing on 8 March 2014 in the Southern Indian Ocean. As of 2015, there is an ongoing search in the Indian Ocean for debris belonging to the flight.

Sometimes it can take a very long time for debris from missing aircraft to show up. For example, the debris from the Indian Air Force An-12 transport aircraft that went missing in 1968 was found only in 2013.

More about plane accidents and missing planes:

  • Air France 447 crashed while flying over the Atlantic in 2009. It took two years to find all of the bodies of the 288 passengers on board.

  • In 1945, a rescue plane looking for the five lost US Navy bombers disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.

  • Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra disappeared in the mid-Pacific in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world.

Discussion Comments


@mhrischuk-- But then they said that the debris belonged to a capsized barge. They're still investigating the debris to figure out whether it belongs to MH370.

It's still unbelievable how a whole plane can disappear and for months, there is nothing?


I've been in New Mexico with an experienced pilot that has pointed out "downed" airplanes below us.

After the wreckage has "weathered" for awhile, it starts to blend into the natural trees, soil, grasses and fields and becomes almost unreckognizeable.

Graduate Aeronautical Engineer 1952


How is this possible


They found parts of MH370 weeks ago.

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