On March 8th, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur International Airpor at 12:41 a.m. It was scheduled to arrive in Beijing some six hours later, at 6:30 a.m. But around 1:30 a.m., the flight went missing, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. No one knows where the 227 passengers and 12 crew members are. How can a Boeing 777 just go missing like that? Well, it begins with a distress call.
Or lack there of.
The Boeing B777-200 aircraft would have been cruising at about 35,000 feet when it lost contact over the South China Sea, giving the pilots “plenty of time” to report any technical problems, Flight Global’s operations and safety editor David Learmount said.
[He added], “Something happened and the pilots did not tell anyone. Why? It’s a good question…It’s extraordinary the pilots failed to call because they had plenty of time to. Unless there was a bomb on board but there has been no evidence of that.” (Via)
There is evidence of SOME misdeeds, though: two passengers, one pretending to be an Italian citizen and another, an Austrian, used stolen passports to board the plane. Reports say the passports can be traced back to an Iranian man, who “reportedly used them to purchase tickets to return home to Europe.”
The stolen passports have raised fears that foul play could be behind the plane’s disappearance. Officials say they are not discounting any possibilities at this point, including a hijacking — but they haven’t found any link to terrorism. Another possible explanation for the stolen passports is that illegal immigrants were using them to try to enter Europe. (Via)
The lack of link to terrorism was confirmed this morning, with Malaysian police naming the two asylum seekers: 18-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, who was “probably migrating to Germany,” and 29-year-old Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza. Meanwhile, the search for the plane itself continues. Dozens of ships and planes from 10 countries have been scouring the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam.
Thirty-four planes, 40 ships and search crews from 10 countries are scouring a large area of the South China Sea near where the plane was last detected. Pieces of debris spotted in the area have so far turned out not to be from the plane. “We have not found anything that appear to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,” Rahman, the of the Malaysian civil aviation department, said Monday. Similarly, oil from a slick discovered in the area was determined to be fuel oil typically used in cargo ships, not from the plane. (Via)
Some have speculated that maybe the plane turned back to Kuala Lumpur (“If it did indeed retrace its path, the plane could conceivably have crashed into the sea on the western coast, the other side of Malaysia from where it was reported missing”), but it’s unlikely (“This doesn’t explain why it did not continue to show on radar while flying back toward Kuala Lumpur”).
So what the hell DID happen? Frankly, no one knows, and that’s horrifying.