Main Article Theories about
Oceanic Flight 815
Main Discussion
 Theories may be removed if ... 
  1. Stated as questions or possibilities (avoid question marks, "Maybe", "I think", etc).
  2. More appropriate for another article.
  3. Illogical or previously disproven.
  4. Proven by canon source, and moved to main article.
  5. Speculative and lacking any evidence to support arguments.
  6. Responding to another theory (use discussion page instead).
  • This does not include responses that can stand alone as its own theory.
  • Usage of an indented bullet does not imply the statement is a response.

See the Lostpedia theory policy for more details.

Cause of Crash

On September 22, 2004, The Swan station was left unmanned for a period of time as Desmond went after Kelvin during one of his trips out of the Hatch. Due to the confrontation between the two men, Desmond was not able to return to the Hatch in time to enter the Numbers sequence, resulting in a System Failure ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1"). At 16:16 based on the clock at the Swan, an electromagnetic pulse was triggered from The Swan as Oceanic Flight 815 was passing over the Island. The EMP either caused or contributed to the the crash by destroying the on-board electronics, communications systems and flight controls. (Lost: The Answers) An EMP however cannot have caused the structural failure of the aircraft and it is as yet unexplained how the EMP did not affect electronics on the Island or even certain radio equipment later salvaged from the crash.

  • The EMP discharge could have opened a door so to speak to the island and as Ethan told Juliet when she drank the orange juice with the tranquilizer the trip can be a little intense.

The Crash was Deliberate

  • Assuming that Kelvin was an Other and was attempting to lure Desmond away, the system error could have been planned, causing the flight to be pulled down and split apart by the magnetic force. However, when Desmond pushed the button, the Swan released the built-up magnetism into the air, much like in "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1" but not as powerful. This magnetic force would then partially repel and slow down the plane’s velocity, saving the lives of the passengers.
  • Although The System error caused by Desmond coincides with the crash of flight 815, it has already been mentioned by Sayid in the beginning of season 2 that Titanium (the metal which aircraft are made from) has very little or no magnetic attraction (as he was using titanium plane wreckage while attempting to get through the concrete wall in the newly discovered hatch) Therefore how could an electromagnetic pulse bring down the aircraft? Maybe flight 815 crashed for a reason independent to this event
    • The electromagnetic pulse could have affected several of the planes electrical systems...
  • For an analysis of a magnetism-influenced crash, see electromagnetism.
  • Assuming that a plane is at cruising altitude after six hours of flight, and the pilot made no indication that the plane was being brought down for a crash landing, the plane had to be brought safely to the island. Consider the UA Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, there was hardly any fuselage left. All three pieces of Oceanic 815 were intact after impact. They may have been brought down slower than normal to ensure all three pieces landed on or near the island and to ensure there would be survivors. If Flight 815 were brought down on purpose, perhaps the breakup of the plane was accidental?
  • The reason so much of the plane survived was most likely not an accident. In many aircraft crashes, the pilot dumps the fuel in hopes that more people will survive.
  • It is still possible that Desmond caused the crash if we make the hypothesis that the plane was supposed to land on the island. The others were waiting for the plane to arrive, but Desmond caused a crash and they were left with the survivors only.
  • Perhaps Desmond was meant to follow Kelvin and cause the system failure, therefore the plane was supposed to crash.
  • It is possible that Kelvin, still a DHARMA employee, was ordered to let the button go at a specific time in order to crash the plane and release the stored energy
  • Being an ex-CIA employee, he knew Desmond would follow him and was supposed to lure him away long enough for the plane to crash, killing everyone aboard. However, Desmond surprised Kelvin, making it back to the Swan in time to press the button, thereby saving the plane. In addition, Desmond kept on pressing the button until he turned it over to John Locke. This may be why Ben (aka Henry Gale) allowed himself to be captured - to convince John to let the button run down. It may also be why Henry didn't seem too upset during the explosion in "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1". Furthermore, in an interview Michael Emerson stated that his character was not surprised to see the discharge of light.
  • Naomi points that the flight has been found which allows to assume that the others somehow faked a plane crash which the outer world would investigate in order to protect the island.
  • The plane lost radio contact 2 hours before the crash, before it could have been affected by electromagnetic build up from the Island.

Time, Date and Location of the Crash

  • The timing of the crash is odd. We know that the flight took off at 14:55 Sydney time and that it broke up and crashed about 8 hours later. The survivors awoke on the island during daylight hours, and the log printout indicates that the crash was caused at 16:44 local island time. However, a plane heading East from Sydney would be in darkness 8 hours after 14:55 - it would have to be heading West to be in daylight.
    • This same effect is observed during the helicopter journey off of the island.
    • Perhaps the apparent discrepancies in time have to do with some as-of-yet unrevealed variables that slightly altered the timeline. We're shown one instance where flight 815 took off at 14:55 Sydney time, and another where flight 815 crashes in the middle of the day, etc. Some events were changed (caused at The Swan in 1977?), but due to Course-correction everyone still boarded a flight that crashed on the island.
  • The article on the last episode of Season two says the printout read: "922044:16" - September 22nd, '04, 4:16 (AM). The 5th footnote on this page takes this all into account and questions the date of the readout, but if they crossed the international date line, 24 hours would be subtracted, and it would be September 22nd, not the 23rd.
  • The date of the crash (September 22nd) could be a reference to the Vela incident, where on September 22nd 1979, a bright light was spotted from space by a satellite (much like the effect The Discharge would have caused on September 22nd 2004).
  • Assuming the flight path was in a straight line between Sydney and Los Angeles then the plane would have actually crashed on, or very near, Fiji. This was partly said by Desmond but they would be closer than he thinks.
  • The destination of flight 815 was Los Angeles, which in Spanish means "The Angels". So they were travelling to the angels... which raises 1 or 2 questions and interesting theories about the nature of flight 815. Were the passengers dead on their way to Heaven but the island saved them?


  • In the episode "D.O.C.", Naomi revealed that the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815 was found and that there were no survivors.
  • Later, in "The Brig", she reveals that it was found four miles deep, at the bottom of the sea and specialized robots (possibly much like the ones sent to explore the Titanic) were deployed to investigate, she again reveals that there were no known survivors, and that they found bodies. This would be impossible considering that the fuselage was burned in Season 1. Also, John's father Anthony Cooper has claimed that the plane was found and that everyone in it was dead.
  • If Naomi and Cooper are truthful, this could be a conspiracy/cover up conducted by The Others and/or the DHARMA Initiative.
  • The plane located in the Sunda trench is not 815, it is simply wreckage planted there, its discovery staged to prevent further search, and discovery of the island.
  • The flight crew was part of the conspiracy. The pilot and Cindy claim that the communications went out and they diverted course and then two hours later they encountered turbulence. But why didn't they tell the passengers that they were diverting to Fiji? You can't change course without telling the passengers. So that was a cover story so the passsengers would have an explanation for why they were not likely to be rescued. In fact they were not off course and the reason they were not going to be rescued is there was going to have a fake plane buried in the pacific, as we later learn from Naomi, and because they were blocking the signal, which we later learn from Juliet. This might explain why Cindy does not seem that upset about being with the Others and why her departure was so abrupt and there was no obvious violence. As for the pilot, maybe that was not his body in the tree. They did not inspect the body because it was high up in the tree and it could have been another corpse doctored to look like that of the pilot.
  • The Flight 815 Conspiracy was really done by Ben. The bodies used to stage the conspiracy are possibly connected to the Tsunami that hit Thailand December 26, 2004. Even though it is before that date on the Island, the outside world could be ahead of that time.
  • Charles Widmore was behind the fake plane wreckage in the Sunda Trench.

" Cuse says. "We decided that our satellite phone would be a very modern, high-tech version." Plus, Lindelof adds, they're dealing with the personal property of a bad guy who can plant a fake plane crash in a submarine trench too deep for recovery." (

  • Widmore staged a second wreck so as to divert attention from the first plane which was carrying some sort of illegal cargo. A smaller plane on the island which was used to ferry narcotics by Mr Eko was also found. Both were intercepted by Ben
  • Ben was involved as he had the names of all the people on board oceanic 815.
  • Widmore staged the fake plane wreck so that if he found the island there would be no speculation that there we people on it because the plane was "found" with all passengers dead, so if anyone got off the island and said that they were the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 no one would believe them.
  • Widmore and Ben worked together to stage the fake plane wreck. In spite of the battle between them, it is in both their interests to keep the island concealed from the outside world.
  • The DHARMA Initiative faked the wreckage, leading Ben to believe Widmore planted it, and leading Widmore to believe Ben planted it.

Widmore's Mission

Flight 815 was Widmore's successful attempt at locating the island (once again). After he was expelled, and Ben took all that he had, Widmore began sending unwitting people to scout out this island. Previous attempts include...Danielle Rousseau, Henry Gale, Desmond Hume. Ben was on the ball before: making Rousseau crazy, killing Gale, trapping Desmond. This time, however, Ben was too caught up in himself (his spinal issue) which Widmore completely anticipated and so he arranged Jack on the plane. How might Widmore be able to anticipate island events? Course correction. This loop has played before, Widmore knows the final outcome, and he "Coerces Course Correction" to his best benefit. The chain of events to the final outcome is inconsequential, just the outcome. Same tactic Ben employs to get people to do things for him they think is their own idea.

  • 815 was indeed Widmore's attempt to locate the island. He knew that sometime in the future, John Locke would be on the Island. So, once he was exiled, he set about searching for John Locke, and then sent Abaddon to convince him to fly over the South Pacific (by means of the Walkabout), knowing that it would likely be the point when Locke would make it to the Island.

Flight Path Being Off Course

Why was Oceanic Flight 815 off course in the first place. This being Lost, it can’t be simply coincidence and since it is Lost, I refuse to believe the whole radio communications being broken, it can’t be that simple. Either someone was jamming their signal or Seth was working for someone. We don’t know why Frank was replaced, so it’s easy to conclude that maybe he got sick/poisoned and Ben/Widmore/Eloise sent Seth to bring that plane to the Island. (Unlikely it was Ben because of his reaction in “A Tale of Two Cities”)

  • It is also possible that someone with the access to Lamp Post knew where the window will open, so he planted some kind of device on the plane taht in the right moment would jam the communications. The crew wold most probably decide to go and land in the closest airport (Fiji). With right calculations, he would effectively set a new course to go directly over the window

Also, when the plane turned around, it seems like no one even noticed. You would think that the passengers would notice that the plane was turning around. And even if you didn’t feel like, at some point, if you were in a window seat, you would notice that the sun was on the wrong side. How come nobody noticed?

    • They could have noticed but I doubt any of them would have notified the crew. The passengers would probably assume that it was part of the normal flight path seeing how most of them wouldn't know the exact direction they have to be going.
  • Usually if a flight makes a diversion from its normal flight path, the pilot casually and briefly announces it to the passengers. If any passengers happened to have a GPS device, it probably ceased to work when at the same time the plane lost contact with ground control, so they likely wouldn't know how far off course they were.
Community content is available under CC BY-NC-ND unless otherwise noted.