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Plane full of skeletons recedes into jungle of mystery

October 15, 2015 Aviation, Headline News 4 Comments Print Print Email Email

egtmedia59While doubt has been cast on reports of plane wreckage containing human skeletons lying in remote jungle on an island in the Philippines – the possibility now arises that the wreckage may be that of a large passenger aircraft that crashed in the area 53 years ago.

Newspapers and websites around the world, including in Australia, Britain, Europe and the US, have speculated that the wreck in the Philippines might be missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared last year. A report published by London’s Daily Express newspaper at the weekend quoted those who discovered the wreckage saying it bore a Malaysian flag and Malaysia Airlines livery.

In the cockpit, skeletal remains were said to be seated in the pilot’s chair with the seatbelt fastened. See: Shock MH370 development: ‘Skeleton found in cockpit’A Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation turbo-prop operated by Flying Tiger Line, similar to the one that disappeared in 1962

Philippine authorities dispatched a gunboat to help look for the wreckage, but a search was reported to have found nothing. Doubts have been cast on the credibility of a witness who made the initial report to the police.

“There was someone who was spreading that story but it has no truth to it and the person spreading it has disappeared,” a local police chief told news agency AFP.

Some reports said a single skeleton had been found sitting in the plane’s cockpit, seatbelt fastened and wearing radio communication equipment. Other reports went further and spoke of a skeleton crew and a whole planeload of skeletons.

“We deployed a gunboat there because of the news,” said Captain Giovanni Carlo Bacordo of the Philippines Navy.

“We interviewed the people at the Sugbay Island, the fishermen, but they have no knowledge about it.”

Although the search for the mysterious plane and its skeletons has been called off for the meantime, another intriguing possibility has arisen. In his Plane Talking blog on Crikey.com.au, aviation reporter Ben Sandilands wonders whether the wreckage (if it exists) might be that of Flying Tiger Line flight 739, a Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation chartered by the US military that disappeared on 16 March 1962.

Flying Tiger Line flight 739 was transporting 93 US soldiers and three South Vietnamese from Travis Air Force Base, California to Saigon, Vietnam, via the Philippines. After refuelling at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the Super Constellation was en route to Clark Air Base in the Philippines when it disappeared. All 107 aboard were declared missing and presumed dead.

The airliner’s disappearance prompted one of the largest air and sea searches in the history of the Pacific.

Until Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished last year, Flying Tiger Line flight 739 was the biggest missing passenger airliner in history.


Written by Peter Needham

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Susie Crowe says:

    Really Peter?? Could you please quote your source saying the search “has been called off for the meantime”? Do you not even care if you print the truth?

  2. Peter Needham says:

    Hi Susie. The search appears to have consisted mainly of discussions with locals. Britain’s Daily Telegraph said: “The Philippine Navy acknowledged that it has yet to check the entire island”. Whether authorities resume a search will be up to them, which is why I said “for the meantime”.

    In my earlier story, I indicated that the confirmed discovery of the MH370 flaperon on Reunion Island in July raised questions about whether the wreckage in the Philippines could be MH370. I pointed out: “A map of ocean currents, however, indicates that any debris from seas around the Philippines would be unlikely to end up on Reunion Island in the sort of timeframe that occurred.”

    It may be that the reported sighting in the Philippines will never be substantiated. Time will tell. Meanwhile, the deep-sea search for MH370 continues in the Indian Ocean.

  3. Cliff says:

    Ben Sandilands should know that the Connie was NOT a turbo-prop. It was the last of the compound radials. If wreckage has been found as reported, it is infinitely more likely to the Connie or some other aircraft lost long ago than MH370.

  4. Peter Needham says:

    Hi Cliff. You’re right about the engine. It was a compound radial. That was my mistake, not Ben’s, so apologies for that. That aspect has now been corrected and the term turbo-prop removed.

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