In May 2003, a Boeing 727 owned by a Florida-based leasing company, was undergoing repairs at an airport in Luanda, Angola. Suddenly, it rolled onto a runway without getting permission from the tower and took off to the southwest in an erratic fashion, with lights off and no transponder signaling.
On board were Ben Charles Padilla, an experienced mechanic and flight engineer who was supervising the repairs, and his recently hired Congolese assistant, John Mikel Mutantu. Neither was trained to fly a 727 – Padilla had only a private pilot's license, and Mutantu had nothing. But both men and the plane disappeared and were never seen again.