The C-133 Cargomaster was the largest aircraft in the US Air Force. Its primary duty was to haul huge amounts of military cargo long distances. To make this feasible, it was designed to carry huge amounts of fuel.
On May 27, 1962, a C-133 left Dover, Delaware en route to the Azores. The pilot, James Allen Higgins, rogered Air Traffic Control to report reaching 17,000 feet. All seemed normal. At the precise second: 9:25.50 a.m. the C-133 vanished from the scope. It was about 25 miles southeast of South May Intersection (Cape May, NJ).
The Coast Guard was immediately notified, and searched the area thoroughly without finding a shred. Quite an incredible fact since the plane was carrying 50,000 pounds of cargo consisting of crates, boxes, bags, clothes-- all very floatable. Moreover, it was carrying no less than 85,000 pounds of fuel, most of which had not yet been expended.
Eventually 2 items were discovered: a deflated life raft and a nose wheel. The totally destructive nature of the cause is underlined by a listing of very minute fragments inbedded in both the wheel and the raft: aluminun, steal, plywood, paint chips, all belonging to the aircraft. Concerning a test conducted on these bits of debris, the FBI lab stated: “No significance is attached to the presence of the very small magnetic particle,” although it did admit it did not know what it was. It went on to state that “No residues of an explosive material were located on [the] specimens . . .”
The weather had only called for a week breeze at 6 knots, 7,000 feet scattered, 12,000 feet broken. Nothing significant.