As our attention is drawn in by the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 it brings thoughts of another missing plane that still hasn’t been found to this day. On July 28, 1938 the Pan Am Hawaii Clipper, a giant sea plane took off from Guam. Everything went along as usual with its normal island hopping flight.

The Hawaii Clipper took off from Hawaii for Manila. At 12:11 p.m. the captain radioed Manila to say he was about two hours away. He reported smooth sailing and good weather. A minute later Panay Island an island south of Manila radioed back. They were not answered. They radioed again several times but nothing was on the airways but static. There was no one there. The Hawaii Clipper had vanished.

Unlike most planes that have trouble and need assistance in case of a crash, the sense of urgency was not here for this plane. It was a water plane after all and if something happened over water it could simply land and remain afloat thanks to four watertight bulkheads. Because of this, the search team was not sent out right away. Those in charge of sending out help didn’t see the need. These pilots knew the area well and all such planes were equipped for any unforeseeable accident.

Inside, these planes carried rubber inflatable boats, balloons to drop outside that would show her course on the sea and kites to be used for an emergency radio aerial. They wouldn’t be hungry either. Each plane carried a shotgun and fishing tackle along with enough food for fifteen people to last a month.

Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries in history began when the rescue party set out to find this missing plane. It wasn’t what they found that made the news, it was what they didn’t find. There was no plane, debris, oil or any sign there ever was a plane. The Hawaii Clipper and all fifteen of the lives aboard her were gone. They never were found.

The only thing that we do know was that for one reason alone this was not an ordinary flight. Aboard the plane was one Wah Sun Choy, a New Jersey Chinese-born restaurateur. On his person he carried three million US dollars (Over forty-five million today) to be used for the Chinese War Relief Fund. As President of the Committee, Choy was bringing this money, fundraised by American’s, to the Chinese government. Like the plane, this money was never seen again.

One can only hope that the fate of the Hawaii Clipper is not a mirrored reflection of the missing Malaysia Airline. It would be horrifying to think that history could be so cruel as to repeat herself with the lives of 239 people. The mysterious loss of 15 lives should be enough. No matter what, both of these incidents have our full attention.

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