Days after MH370 vanished mysteriously, fans of the Belgian comic book character Tintin were hit by a sense of deja vu. One theory maintained that the Malaysian jet had disappeared completely because it had been highjacked by people familiar enough with aviation procedures to know how to evade radar-tracking systems. Some media outlets began to speculate that the aircraft had surreptitiously landed on an island in the Indian Ocean.
That, it turns out, is exactly what happened to Tintin in Flight 714, a comic book adventure published in 1968. The cartoon version of the episode above depicts the strategy used by highjackers to abduct the boy-journalist and his companions as they travelled to Sydney on the private jet of a tycoon named Laszlo Carreidas – who fans remember as the man who never laughs.
Tintin's plane had taken off from Jakarta, so the action unfolds in broadly the same area in which search teams from 25 countries are looking for the Malaysian Airlines jet.
In the end, Tintin, Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus and Snowy are unruffled by their adventure. The same can't be said for the villains, including Dr Krollspell – the head of a psychiatric hospital in Delhi in the original French version – who is left rather disoriented.
But as the episode concludes, neither Tintin nor his friends can remember exactly what happened to them after take-off. Their creator Herge had chosen to give the mystery an other-worldly explanation.
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