What happens when a plane disappears?

Destinations

A military plane with 38 passengers on board has gone missing on its way to Antarctica, after losing radio contact with Chile’s air force on Monday evening.

In a world of GPRS networks and sophisticated air traffic control systems, how can a plane disappear like this?

Typically, the first indication that a plane has gone missing will be when it vanishes from the radar, or fails to communicate with air traffic control. How soon after its actual disappearance this might be depends on where it is flying.

On a busy flight path, a disappearance might be spotted in moments. On other routes, it might take 10 to 15 minutes for it to be noticed. When a plane is flying over water it must make regular contact…

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