Details of Disappearance
Mergen was disappeared from Palm Beach County, Florida on January 24, 1990. He was teaching a friend, Henry Salvatori, how to fly at the time.
The two men flew out of Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA) in a Cessna 152 at 7:23 p.m., in clear weather with three hours' worth of fuel. They were on a routine training flight en route to Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana, Florida.
They didn't file a flight plan or tell anyone where they were going. They were seen practicing landings at Lantana, but they never returned to PBIA.
Mergen and Salvatori had met and befriended each other while attending Pope John Paul High School. They stayed in touch after graduation, although Salvatori moved to Trinidad and Mergen remained in Florida and attended classes at Palm Beach Community College from 1984 to 1989. He was a certified flight instructor with 600 hours of flight experience.
Mergen and Salvatori are believed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, but an extensive search, lasting months and covering a 250-mile radius around the Lantana airport, turned up no sign of them or the plane.