Unsolved: The Mysterious Disappearance of Santiago Flight 513

Commercial passenger airplane in 1951. DC-3. Scanned film with significant grain.

On September 4, 1954, Santiago Airlines Flight 513 departed from Aachen, West Germany, destined for Porto Alegre, Brazil. The flight should have taken around 18 hours.

Instead, it took 35 years. On October 12, 1989, without any contact with air traffic controllers, Santiago Flight 513 was spotted circling the Porto Alegre airport, where it eventually made a successful landing.

Another of Several Unsolved Aviation Mysteries

It’s not unheard of for planes to disappear, though there’s usually evidence of what probably happens during those events to indicate that the plane has crashed — debris, luggage, or, at a minimum, records of the pilot radioing for help… 

Then there are those aircraft that set off, traveling from point A to point B, and are never heard from again, with nothing left behind, no reports of distress — not even poor weather conditions to pin the blame on. These stories, though puzzling and eerie, have occurred often enough to have attracted the expertise of scientists and meteorologists (along with other theorists), looking for a pattern among the disappearances. Perhaps the most famous of these incidences are tales from the Bermuda Triangle, the legendary vortex where aircraft and ships just seem to vanish without a trace. 

It was thought that Santiago Flight 513 would go the way of the unexplained vanishing aircraft — after all, no one expects an airplane to finally land after 35 years missing. And it, too, disappeared without a trace, devoid of any communication with airport bases, and showing no signs of distress. 

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What Happened to Santiago Flight 513?

There was nothing abnormal about the aircraft, the crew, or the passengers. Santiago Flight 513 had taken many similar intercontinental flights across the Atlantic Ocean as it did on the day it went missing. On this particular fateful trip in early September 1954, the flight took off with 88 passengers and four crew members.

When it went missing over the Atlantic Ocean, emergency search and rescue teams scoured the area, but to no avail, eventually giving up the aircraft, and everyone aboard, for lost.

It would be an understatement to say that when Flight 513 flew into Porto Alegre it was unexpected. At first, authorities demanded to know why its pilot had flown in without warning.

But when they approached the craft and took note of its age, they were baffled to discover that it belonged to Santiago Airlines, an airline that had shut its doors in 1956.

Upon opening the doors, authorities found something still more shocking: the skeletons of 92 people, buckled into their seats. The skeletal body of Captain Miguel Victor Cury was found in his pilot’s seat, hands on the controls, with the engine still humming.

Could It Be a Government Cover-Up?

While the Brazilian government did investigate this strange occurrence, it refused to offer any explanations or theories, much less draw any conclusions. All officials eventually admitted was that the plane had appeared suddenly in the skies and landed successfully — a write-off that has resulted in many people suspecting government involvement in the disappearance.

Such unresponsiveness — interpreted as secrecy — from the government has evoked ire from the public over the years. Roderigo de Manha, a former physics professor in Porto Alegre, came out saying, “The public has a right to know everything about this plane, and the government has a duty to tell them.” 

Spokespersons like Manha have been joined by others calling for full disclosure, including Dr. Celso Atello, a paranormal researcher, in speculating that the government is actually hiding concrete evidence that wormholes exist, and that the plane had been lost in one for more than three decades.

Dr. Atello said, “It was piloted by the skeleton of its captain and all the crew, and passengers were dead, too. Officials don’t want to discuss explanations. But they cannot deny that this airplane has defied the laws of space and time. And God only knows how a skeleton managed to land it.” 

What Is a “Wormhole”?

When it comes to cases of disappearing aircraft, one theoretical explanation commonly arises — that the craft are disappearing into wormholes. According to the Scientific American, “Wormholes are solutions to the Einstein field equations for gravity that act as ‘tunnels,’ connecting points in space-time in such a way that the trip between the points through the wormhole could take much less time than the trip through normal space…[and can] behave as ‘shortcuts’ in space-time.”

And because such notable scientists as Stephen Hawking entertain that wormholes might actually exist, those intrigued by unsolved aviation mysteries often contemplate how the theory would apply to various cases of missing aircraft over the years, including the many disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle. Over the Atlantic Ocean, the wormhole theory could possibly explain much of what has transpired for decades, if not centuries, in the Bermuda Triangle. 

Perhaps the wormhole theory describes the disappearance and reappearance of Santiago Flight 513 more accurately than other incidences, though, since the flight actually returned more than three decades later. Most disappearances are never resolved.

But it still doesn’t make sense why the plane was found with skeletons — and it’s a bizarre point no one seems able to explain. 

To anyone who wasn’t present in Porto Alegre to witness, first-hand, the arrival of a plane full of skeletons on the tarmac, the story of Santiago Flight 513 is easy to dismiss as a hoax. But how many times can accounts of disappearing aircraft (and watercraft) surface without any explanation before people stop calling them legends or hoaxes?

After all, it’s not as though these incidents are small and insignificant — thousands of lives have been lost to these strange occurrences. Whether the losses can be attributed to wormholes, government cover-ups, or something else, the minimum that should be said is that something strange has happened, and perhaps it’s time to broaden everyone’s sense of what constitutes reality.

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The Infamous Bermuda Triangle; Theories to Unravel the Mystery

As popular in cartoons as it is to scientists, the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle (also known as the “Devil’s Triangle” or “Hurricane Alley”) has been the subject of both entertainment and profound fear. Covering a triangular area of approximately 500,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bermuda Triangle sits off the coast of Florida, with its corners found at Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. At least 75 planes and hundreds of ships have entered this infamous Atlantic region and never emerged, yet no one knows why.

Over the centuries, numerous legends have been told about the region, and countless theories have been postulated — ranging from disturbing weather patterns to paranormal events — but none have, thus far, been confirmed as fact. Backed by modern technology and the experiences of their predecessors, scientists and explorers hone theories, both old and new, to answer the nagging question: What accounts for these mysterious Bermuda Triangle disappearances?

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