News Stories

Mystery of Vanished Jumbo Jet

Pierre Thomas writes in abcnews.com that U.S. intelligence has launched a secret search for a Boeing 727 passenger jet that mysteriously disappeared in Africa three weeks ago."When an aircraft of this size has been missing for so long it does raise some questions as to where it is and what it's being used for," says Chris Yates, editor of Jane's Civil Aviation Security. "It's extraordinarily troubling that you can literally disappear off the face of the Earth once you are airborne and fly across a continent like Africa." The Boeing 727 is hard to miss: it's 153 feet long and weighs 191,000 pounds.

The plane flew out of Angola on May 25, then disappeared. Since Angola does not require pilots to file flight plans, they don't know if it was bound for Burkina Faso, South Africa, Libya or Nigeria, or how many people were on board. The U.S. thinks the plane may have been stolen to run drugs or guns, or crashed for insurance money. It could resurface on the black market, refurbished and repainted.

It could also be used as a 911-style flying missile. Former White House terrorism head Richard Clarke says, "An aircraft could be either stolen or hijacked overseas, fly to the U.S., on schedule, and it wouldn't be seen on FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] radar, if it didn't want to be seen, until the very last minute."

There are many mysteries in the skies. Get Sean Casteel's special take on them on this week's Dreamland!

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