Air France crash: mystery of plane disappearances

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While the disappearance of Air France flight 447 over the Atlantic is unusual, there have been previous instances of aircraft vanishing during flight:

* In 1936, French aviator Jean Mermoz disappeared along with his Latécoère 300 plane 800 kilometres off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, after sending a short message reporting engine problems. The wreckage was never found.

* US aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world along the Equator. In her last radio message Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, had reported running out of fuel. No trace of the two or wreckage was ever found....

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