Welcome to the companion Web site to "Vanished!," originally broadcast on
January 30, 2001. The program investigates the mysterious disappearance—and,
half a century later, reappearance—of Stardust, a civilian aircraft
that crashed in the Andes in 1947. Here's what you'll find online:
Solve the Mystery of STENDEC
Minutes or perhaps even moments before Stardust slammed into Mount Tupangato, its radio operator sent a final, enigmatic message in Morse code: "STENDEC." For over 50 years, no one has been able to satisfactorily explain its meaning. Can you?
Mysterious Plane Crashes
Questions as to what really happened have attended aircraft accidents ever since Orville Wright crashed a plane in Fort Meyer, Virginia in 1908, killing his copilot. This timeline reviews a number of accidents—from Wright's to that of Egypt Air 990—around which questions still linger like a dank mist.
Reading the Wreckage
How do air-crash experts go about interpreting a wreck site? What should they do differently with a plane crash that took place over 50 years in the past? In this interview, Dave King, a Principal Inspector at England's Air Accidents Investigation Branch, offers insights.
Inside the Jet Stream (Hot Science)
When flying high, the jet stream either works for you or, as Stardust's ill-fated crew discovered too late, against you. This interactive feature shows you why.