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A crashed plane in Michigan has investigators stumped as to what became of the pilot, whose bodily remains were not found with the wreckage of the aircraft.
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk plane took off from Ann Arbor and was discovered only hours later 37 miles (60 kilometers) east of Marathon, Ontario. The pilot was later discovered to be a 27-year-old Chinese graduate student studying at the University of Michigan.
Mystery of the crashed plane without a pilot
A spokesman for the Ontario police force investigating the crash said of the missing pilot:
“We conducted a thorough investigation and were unable to locate any life associated with that wreckage. It would appear the pilot left the plane sometime before it crashed. Exactly where we’re not sure.”
There appear to be only three possibilities to explain what happened to the pilot.
The first is that he was never on the plane at all and that the crash was staged using remote controls. Why someone would wnt to do this other than to possible fake their death or as a publicity stunt isn’t clear.
Secondly, the pilot must have exited the plane during the flight and presumably either escaped to safety or landed so far away from the remains of the plane that he was never found. Indeed it has been suggested that the pilot may have set the plane to autopilot and jumped to his death, possible into Lake Superior.
The model of the plane he flew does not usually carry parachutes, and the University he was studying at believes that his motives for renting the plane that day were an elaborate suicide method, stating:
“University police have reason to be belief his actions were likely self-harm.”
It isn’t clear from the reports released currently why the student would be suicidal or why he would choose such an unusual method of suicide as renting a plane and then jumping out of it mid-flight.
Thirdly is that the pilot disappeared through other means and possibly not of his volition. Was his body possible taken from the wreckage and all trace of his removed? Was he abducted by forces unseen mid-flight and taken to an undisclosed location where he remains now?
Ground searches for the pilot have been suspended, and the Ontario Provincial police seem satisfied with the explanation that he was not present in the plane at the time of the crash and have closed their investigation. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is still investigating the crash although few are hopeful of finding the pilot.