Ben Charles Padilla
On May 25, 2003, flight mechanic Ben Charles Padilla and trainee John Mikel Mutantu boarded a Boeing 747 they had been repairing in Luanda. The untrained Padilla, licensed only to fly private liners, and Mutantu, stole the aircraft from Aerospace Sales and Leasing, taking off in a southwesterly direction with their lights off and transponder inactive. The pair, and the 747, disappeared completely despite a worldwide search carried out by the FBI and CIA, who had deemed the aircraft a flying bomb due to 5,000-gallons of fuel carried aboard. Was there something dubious behind the disappearance or did Padilla’s lack of training get the best of them?