A Drunk Sergeant Stole a Cargo Plane. Then He Disappeared, Never to Be Seen Again

Sgt. Paul Meyer was homesick. He was stationed overseas and terribly missed his wife, who was still living stateside. After a night of heavy drinking, Meyer decided that he couldn’t take it anymore, and managed to get his hands on a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft by posing as a captain, even though he was only licensed for small single-engine planes.

The incident took place on May 23, 1969, according to a report by Fox News. Meyer wasn’t licensed to fly a C-130 and was reportedly drunk when he took the aircraft, but he managed to take off, soaring into the skies above an air base in England, where he was stationed.

Meyer managed to contact his wife, who was living in Virginia, but his flight didn’t go smoothly. He radioed the base to report flight problems but disappeared from radar approximately 200 miles away from the base. His last known position was over the English Channel.

Eyewitnesses said they saw the C-130 crash and that the aircraft exploded as it plunged into the water. But the military never explained what happened or recovered Meyers body.

Now, wreck divers are hoping to find answers by locating the missing C-130.

“[Meyer] did a fantastic job to get a complex plane off the runway,” said Simon Brown, a member of Deeper Dorset, the wreck-diving group that is searching for the truth behind what happened that fateful day.

“Whether he flew into [a] cloud and got disorientated, or was shot down, we’re not discounting anything,” Brown added.

Deeper Dorset has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the search. They intend to use 3D photogrammetry technology to locate the C-130 in a section of the water that may be littered with downed WWII planes and lost ships.

“I’m sure plenty of people will think we’re a crazy bunch of Brits chasing ghosts,” said Grahame Knott, the founder of Deeper Dorset. “But… there’s a family still waiting to hear what happened to their loved one and, if we can do anything to help, then surely it’s the right thing to do.”