Flight MH-370: Confusion and mystery reign supreme

It’s now been 32 days since Malaysian Flight MH-370 quietly disappeared.  We still have no hard information about what happened to it or why.  Was it a terrorist act?  Who knows?  Was it a deliberate act by the captain or copilot, or both?  Who knows?  Was it caused by a catastrophic failure of one of the systems aboard the plane?  We don’t know that either.  All we really know is that contact was lost early into the flight.

The plane took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8th at 12:41 AM.  At 1:07 AM, the plane sent an ACARS transmission, and at 1:19 AM the last voice contact with the plane was heard.  The plane’s radar transponder was shut down a few minutes later.  Finally, the expected ACARS  transmission which was due at 1:37 AM didn’t happen.  Based on pings from a satellite communicating with the aircraft, which is automatic, the prevailing thought is that the plane flew another seven hours or so after all other contact was lost.

Since then, there have been theories galore about what happened to Flight MH-370.  Some of them are straight out of the Twilight Zone, some are a little too unsettling to think about, but the scenario that’s been put forth by the Malaysian government seems to be the one that defies all explanation.  But let’s take a look at some of them…

The first, and this is one of the more unusual… well, let’s call it what it is – a crackpot theory, is that Flight MH-370 disappeared into a black hole and is now in a parallel universe.  Need I comment further?  No?  Good.

The second theory is that the plane didn’t crash at all, but landed at an undisclosed location to be repainted and used at a later time to commit a terrorist act.  Some theories postulate that the passengers are dead due to an intentional cabin depressurization at high altitude.

The third is the one about the plane having landed on Diego Garcia with the passengers still alive but being held.  One report I read included a “photo” reportedly taken with a passenger’s cell phone accompanied by text that said he was being held blindfolded.  The photo was completely black, by the way.  While there is an airstrip on Diego Garcia, I’m reluctant to buy into this theory because it’s too easily debunked but I’ll get back to it in a moment.

Fourth and finally, we’re left with what the Malaysian government is telling us, that it flew for over seven hours south and west into the remote Indian Ocean, ran out of fuel, and crashed into the sea.

Everyone is now fairly certain that MH-370 crashed in the sea, and that’s where the search has been concentrated.  But this all came from the Malaysian government, who, in my opinion, doesn’t have much credibility, especially considering the way they’ve handled everything so far.  Shortly after the plane took off, Malaysian military acquired the plane on radar, but they weren’t paying attention.  According to reports, the military “didn’t see the plane in real time”, which can only mean they saw it while reviewing radar data days later.  They saw the radar track where the plane turned west, but it was too late.  Instead, by the time this information was revealed, there had been time wasted looking for the plane in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea.

On March 24th, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced to the world that Flight MH-370 had ended in the southern Indian Ocean “far from any possible landing sites.”  The trouble with that statement is that there wasn’t, and still isn’t any evidence whatsoever to substantiate that claim.  To date, no debris has been identified as being from the plane.  Although the Chinese ship Haixun 01 picked up signals briefly that matched the 37.5 kHz frequency used by the so-called black boxes, sonar operators onboard weren’t able to hold onto the signals.

After that, the Australian ship Ocean Shield picked up on a signal farther north from where the Haixun 01 located their signal, and the Ocean Shield was able to hold the contact for 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Once it lost that, it reversed course, then reacquired the signal for another 13 minutes.  What was encouraging about this was that they heard two signals, which could have been from the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.  Since then – nothing.  Was it a fluke, a false signal, or did the Ocean Shield (or for that matter, the Haixun 01) actually pick up on the signals from the black boxes only to have them die out due to weak batteries in the recorders?  There is an argument for this also, because although they could and should have still been transmitting, it’s believed Malaysian Airlines didn’t replace the batteries in the recorders when they were due for servicing in June 2012.  Naturally, this would have given them an active life of perhaps less than the standard thirty days.

The third possibility I mentioned above, that the plane may have landed somewhere with the passengers still alive is worth thinking about.  In the following video from March 28th, Sarah Bajc, the partner of passenger Philip Wood, is interviewed by BBC News and has some interesting thoughts…

 

 

Although I was unable to verify that there were thirty defense contracting engineers aboard the flight, I did find out that Freescale Semiconductor, (previously Motorola), had twenty employees aboard the flight – twelve from Malaysia and eight from China.  Could they have been valuable to someone – valuable enough to hijack a commercial flight in order to get them and press them into service for…whom?  I honestly can’t answer this; I simply don’t know, although at this point I wouldn’t put it beyond the realm of possibility.  It just doesn’t seem likely, though.  It’s far simpler, not to mention far less risky, to simply hire them away from Freescale Semiconductor with the promise of higher pay and better benefits.  Or perhaps this was the only way to get them due to the nature of the work they were wanted for, knowing some or all of them may well have refused to consider taking up the offer.

Getting back to the second possibility I mentioned above, that the plane landed somewhere else, retired Air Force Lt. General Tom McInerney thinks it’s at least a possibility.  Here is a link to a March 19th interview with him on Fox News…

http://video.foxnews.com/v/3363882454001/gen-mcinerney-us-hasnt-come-clean-with-flight-370-data/?intcmp=obnetwork#sp=show-clips

Is it plausible?  Yes, but it it’s not an encouraging thought as to what plans there are for that plane at some future date, especially if the Iranians are involved in it somehow.

Suffice it to say it’s important to find out for sure what happened to Flight MH-370.  If it indeed crashed into the Indian Ocean, we need to find the wreckage so we can know.  If it was hijacked for the high value of some of the passengers onboard, we need to know.  And, if it was hijacked with the intent of reusing the plane at a later date, we need to know.  And no matter what happened, we need to find that plane.  Nothing less is acceptable.

 

 

 

 

 

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