Three people were driving through the Sahara desert one bright sunny day. The wind was blowing lightly, but the day was clear, and all seemed right with the world, despite their particular predicament.

The oldest who was driving had a compass and some keys, the second oldest, who was in the passenger seat, had a map, a rope, and some duct tape, and the youngest was sitting in the back apparently playing some games on their phone which they reluctantly let him use so he would stop bugging them.

There was also an emergency toolkit which included some miscellaneous tools and emergency supplies sitting on the back seat next to the boy.

Some time down the road, far from civilization, suddenly there was a loud "POP!" -- their car had a flat tire, having run over a nail.

Fortunately, the youth was able to replace the tire while the older two chatted away, for about an hour. He discovered that the battery to the car also was low, so he opened up the hood and charged that up as well while the two continued to chat about old times, although occasionally keeping one eye on the boy while he worked. Fortunately, this was a near miss, so they got back on the road.

After they drove for several hours, hearing a strange clunk clunk noise from the engine but thinking nothing of it, suddenly the engine stalled, and grinded to a halt, and they coasted some ways before coming to a complete stop. The engine would not turn over. Hundreds of miles from civilization on a deserted road, they realized that their only choice was to get out and start walking.

Each grabbed what they needed, and started down the road when suddenly at just that moment a huge sandstorm blew up out of nowhere and completely covered the road, and disoriented them.

They ran into a ditch and waited, but couldn't see anything in any direction during the storm. They were totally disoriented. 30 minutes passed and the sandstorm blew over, but their truck was apparently totally covered, they could not see it anywhere.

As a result, they had no way to know which way the road was, since it was probably totally covered beneath feet of sand. Now, they could not see the path back to civilization, just sand as far as the eye could see. The man looked at the woman as they gathered their wits and realized the boy was gone. They also found their pockets empty, their things must have fallen out in the storm.

Realizing the boy must have been caught in the storm, they continued on their way, and began chatting again about old times, hoping that maybe they'd find the boy, and thinking that maybe they might not.

Then out of nowhere the truck began rolling down the big sand dune behind them. They couldn't hear it coming over the wind, but one of them turned around too late, to see what looked like an empty truck about to plow them over. He jumped to the side but it was too late, the truck squashed their heads like watermelons.

What mysterious things happened this day in the desert?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Given your comment on one of the answers below, this puzzle presents a partial outline of events and seeks a full explanation of the scenario. This does NOT constitute a riddle, nor is this an enigmatic-puzzle within the actual usage of that tag. I have removed those tags; may I strongly suggest they not be put back unless you've discussed it with a moderator first. Other comments here regarding the relevance of your tags have been removed. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Feb 25, 2019 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because close so i stop getting downvotes. $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Mar 2, 2019 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ in fact you can simply delete your own question if you want to stop getting downvotes $\endgroup$ Mar 2, 2019 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton Not when it has answers. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2019 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Does anyone want to know the answer to what happened in the desert that day? $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    May 20, 2020 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


Partial answer...

The 3 people

Are not a family. I think they are 2 seasoned archaeologists and their trainee or assistant. That's why they're constantly "chatting about old times". They're discussing history.

Their pockets

Contain a map to something valuable, maybe a pharaoh's tomb or a cave. It must be something unknown to the public or they could have navigated by GPS. The man has the keys to unlock this place. The woman has rope to access the place.

The youth

Was following their path via GPS on the phone. He could also access weather data and forsee the sand storm that hit them later.

The flat tire

Somehow the youth managed to take a nail from the emergency supply kit and pop the tire with it, but I don't know how. His companions let him replace the tire and he pretendet to recharge the battery. In reality he manipulated the engine to make it fail later. He couldn't recharge the battery because he didn't have anything to recharge it with and car baterries recharge themselves during prolonged driving.

The sandstorm

No idea if this a natural occurence, but the youth had the chance to know about it. During the chaos and loud noise, he pickpocketed his companions, removed the nail from the engine and drove off with the car. As soon as the sand storm passed and he could see his companions again, he killed them with the car.


The youth is tired of being the assistant to famous archaeologists and wants to cover himself with the glory of discovering the tomb of the pharaoh.

  • $\begingroup$ @Riddler Good enough for me. At first I followed Mariia Mykhailova's abduction theory, but giving a phone to someone you abducted doesn't make sense in any scenario. $\endgroup$
    – Elmy
    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ If the phone doesn't have a sim card (so no internet access) and didn't pre-download the map of the area, it can only be used as a playstation (I had one like this for a couple of years), so why not? :-) $\endgroup$ Feb 25, 2019 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ Well since no one can ever answer this, I'll give it to you for your effort. It wasn't the answer but it's a nice scenario. $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Apr 22 at 0:06

What happened:

1. The boy pocketed the nail and used it to mess up the engine in a reversible way while charging the battery (lowered it on a rope so that it can be pulled out later? I don't know enough about the engines to figure out how it can be done).
2. Then during the sandstorm he pick-pocketed the adults and hid in a truck (not sure how he hid it in the sand).
3. After the sandstorm he dug the truck out (again not sure how he did it so quickly) and used it to eliminate the adult supervision to finally play the smartphone to his heart's content!


Judging from their lack of interest in searching for the boy after the storm, the adults are not the parents of the boy, and judging from the rope and the duct tape, the adults kidnapped the boy.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you got that right in the last paragraph. Not the mystery, but it is true $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Apr 22 at 0:07

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