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Tudor Star Tiger Disappearance

Tudor Star Tiger Disappearance

Star Tiger was an Avro Tudor IV passenger aircraft owned and operated by British South American Airways (BSAA) which disappeared without trace over the Atlantic Ocean while on a flight between Santa Maria in the Azores and Bermuda on 30 January 1948. The loss of the aircraft along with that of BSAA Avro Tudor Star Ariel in 1949 remain unsolved to this day, with the resulting speculation helping to develop the Bermuda Triangle legend.

At 3:15 a.m., the radio operator of the aircraft received the radio position of the plane. It was all set to land at 5a.m in Bermuda.  In just one and half-hour’ time, the 25 passengers on board would see the marine lights of Bermuda. But 5a.m. had come and gone. The plane was never seen or heard of again. 

On January 28, 1948, Star Tiger started from Lisbon for its first leg of journey to Santa Maria in the Azores. It was supposed to be a short halt for refueling. But due to bad weather conditions and strong winds, the Captain Brian W McMillan decided that they would fly to Bermuda the next day.  

 So on 29th January, the flight took off from Santa Maria despite strong winds. There were 25 passengers on board, and one of them a very distinguished person - Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham, a hero of World War II.  

The captain decided to fly at an exceptionally low altitude of 2000 feet in order to avoid the strong head wind that originates particularly due to the Gulf stream at the Atlantic. 

 At 3:15 a.m., when many of the passengers were sleeping or dozing, the radio operator of the flight pressed a button to get position of the plane from Bermuda's radio operator. The Bermuda operator responded giving the position of the plane at 72 degrees. On receiving the message, the Captain McMillan and the flight radio operator agreed that the Estimated Time of Arrival at Bermuda would be 5a.m. 

The Bermuda operator tried to contact the Star Tiger later at 3:50 a.m. but got no response. He tried again at 4:40a.m. when it was almost time for the fight to start its descend for landing. He did not get any response again and immediately declared a state of emergency. 

The plane's landing time of 5a.m. came and had long gone. There was no trace of the flight, nor there was any distress call raised by the captain of the flight.

There was a massive rescue operation launched by the USAAF personnel with 26 aircraft flying for 882 hours to search for the Star Tiger. The operation lasted for 5 days. But they found no trace of it or its passengers and the crew. 

On January 31, 1948, the news of the passenger Sir Arthur Coningham's death shared the front page of the New York Times along with other terrible news of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination and the death of Orville Wright. 

Investigation Report:

As soon as it was learned that the Star Tiger had been lost, BSAA's remaining Avro Tudors were grounded by Britain's Minister of Civil Aviation. They were permitted to carry cargo rather than passengers a few weeks later, but had to fly from Santa Maria to Bermuda via Newfoundland, a diversion that reduced the longest overwater leg by 250 mi (400 km).

Lord Macmillan was appointed to head the investigation, assisted by two assessors in the form of a Professor of Aviation from the University of London and the Chief Pilot of British European Airways.

The investigation, which was held in public at Church House, Westminster, opened on 12 April 1948 and lasted 11 days. On 21 August they presented their report to Lord Pakenham, who had succeeded Lord Nathan of Churt as Minister of Civil Aviation. The report emphasized that the crew of the Star Tiger were highly experienced, and found "want of care and attention to detail" in the flight plan, but nothing serious enough to explain the accident.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation later issued this press release:

"In closing this report it may truly be said that no more baffling problem has ever been presented for investigation. In the complete absence of any reliable evidence as to either the nature or the cause of the accident of Star Tiger the Court has not been able to do more than suggest possibilities, none of which reaches the level even of probability. Into all activities which involve the co-operation of man and machine two elements enter of a very diverse character [sic]. There is an incalculable element of the human equation dependent upon imperfectly known factors; and there is the mechanical element subject to quite different laws. A breakdown may occur in either separately or in both in conjunction. Or some external cause may overwhelm both man and machine. What happened in this case will never be known and the fate of Star Tiger must remain an unsolved mystery."

Meril Jeffery John.J

Meril Jeffery John.J

If This is God's Will then no man can Fight it

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