Much to the bemusement of my girlfriend, I’m a big fan of ‘Air Crash Investigation’ on TV.
The bemusement comes because I’m not really a great flyer. Perhaps it’s the control freak in me, or just the feeling of being helpless if something does go wrong, but it’s just not my thing.
I’m jumping on a plane tonight to head to Melbourne to cover Penrith’s clash with the Storm at AAMI Park tomorrow night and I’ve been dreading it all week.
Part of the fear (but yes, only part of it – I’ve always been a nervous flyer) comes because in 2004, I was on a plane from Sydney to New York that got hit by lightning.
Everyone else was jolted for a moment and then seemed to settle back down.
I went for the scream like a little girl option, and then made good use of the vomit bag that all airlines provide in the back of the seat in front of you. The attractive blonde sitting next to me was obviously impressed.
Problem was, my aim wasn’t great and my shirt managed to cop as much as the bag did.
To make matters worse, the plane ultimately got diverted to Baltimore. We were put up in a hotel, but we couldn’t get our luggage off the plane, so my vomit-drenched shirt and I had to spend the night together, as well as the next day.
The incredible story of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 this week has really amazed me.
Here is a plane that, by all accounts, simply disappeared from the face of the Earth.
It’s not the first time, however, that plane wreckage has taken so long to be found.
In fact, there’s a couple of examples in recent times of jets crashing and not being found for weeks, if not years.
An Indonesian jet that crashed in 2007 near to where MH370 went missing took a week to be spotted, and incredibly, the mostly intact fuselage still sits at the bottom of the ocean today.
But the MH370 mystery made me take a look back this week into the handful of flights that have simply vanished, never to be seen again, with their fates still unknown.
In March 1962, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 was carrying more than 90 military personnel from Guam to the Philippines, but never arrived.
There was no distress call, barely any credible witnesses and to this day, more than 50 years later, the mystery is unsolved and the wreckage has never, ever been found.
Then of course there’s the famous incidents that gave the ocean between Florida and the islands of Bermuda and Puerto Rico the name “The Bermuda Triangle”.
Two British South American Airways passenger jets disappeared within a year of each other in the late 1940’s. Neither was ever found.
There’s a couple of other stories, too, but it appears that MH370 will, at the time of writing, be the latest to add to the relatively small list of planes that have simply vanished without a trace.
And if it’s never found, the theories and discussion about that plane, which had six Australians on board, will go on for decades.
In fact, the conspiracy theories have already begun to surface.
One guy suggested the plane was hijacked and the passengers taken to North Korea.
A few others suggest it’s at a secret airport in Vietnam, left over from the Vietnam War. Others say the timeline given doesn’t make sense.
My favourite, and the most juicy, is that families have reported phoning loved ones who were on the plane, and the phone has been ringing, suggesting it’s impossible that the plane crashed.
In reality, this is a big, big world and a jet liner is but a tiny speck in its oceans.
The wreckage is out there somewhere and the 239 souls on board have perished.
It is a tragedy beyond comprehension and for the families, the mystery of the crash location only makes their experience more painful.
It puts our squabbles about QANTAS into some perspective, doesn’t it?