The Trail Went Cold – Episode 228 – Ben Charles Padilla & John Mikel Mutantu

May 25, 2003. Luanda, Angola. 50-year old Ben Charles Padilla, an American citizen overseeing a rebuilding project on a Boeing 727 at Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport, is reportedly seen boarding the plane alongside a Congolese mechanic named John Mikel Mutantu. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft takes off without clearance before it vanishes without a trac and an extensive search effort fails to find it. Since neither Padilla or Mutantu seemed to have the necessary training required to fly a 727 on their own, there is speculation that they may have been hijacked or another person was behind the controls when it took off. But if so, what actually happened to the two men and the missing aircraft? On this week’s episode of “The Trail Went Cold”, we explore a truly bizarre aviation mystery that has left everyone puzzled for the past two decades.

If you have any information about this case, please contact the FBI at (202) 324-3000.

Additional Reading:

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“The Trail Went Cold” is going to be appearing on podcast row at “Crimecon UK” at the Leonardo Royal Hotel &  Spa in London on September 25-26, 2021. To get a 10 % discount on the  purchase of tickets to either event, please use our specialized promo  code, “COLD21”, by visiting

“The Trail Went Cold” is now doing a weekly livestream show on  GetVokl every Thursday from 7:00-8:00 PM ET as part of their “True  Crime Thursday” line-up. For more information, please visit their website.

The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.