Latest: The debris spotted in the ocean near the oil slick is not from MH370, officials say.
The mystery deepens on the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370–there still is no sign of debris or the airplane, some 36 hours after it disappeared.
We have some additional thoughts, none of which should be considered as suggesting this is what happened, but only as possibilities to probe.
- The absence of any debris along the intended flight path seems to suggest the airplane deviated from the flight path. If the plane was destroyed at altitude, as if from a bomb or catastrophic structural failure, debris, such as seat cushions, blankets, insulation, and even bodies, would be been found quickly. See TWA Flight 800 for an example of this (though it came apart while still climbing to cruise altitude). If the plane was intact on impact, debris would have been found. See Air France 447 or Alaska Airlines 261 as examples.
- If the plane deviated from the flight path, then this suggests it obviously was under command of either the pilots or hijackers. But then what? Even after turning off the transponder, one would expect that at some point, primary radar contact would have been made, even if not immediately recognized as such. Investigation will certainly follow this path to determine any primary radar contact was established.
- If the plane was under command, what happened to it? In theory, it could have been flown to an airport but then what? If the airport is in use, a Boeing 777 is rather obvious. If flown to a disused airport, to what end? To hold the plane and passengers for ransom? If so, it’s hard to collect ransom when you don’t tell anyone.
- On the other hand, if the plane was being hijacked and flown somewhere, were the hijackers incompetent fliers, crashing the airplane into some remote mountains?
- After 9/11 it is unlikely that any hijackers could have cowed the passengers into doing nothing while taking control of the airplane. Certainly this being a red-eye flight means most passengers probably immediately tried to sleep but somebody would have observed an attempt to take over the airplane and raised the alarm. The fact that four passengers now appear under scrutiny is also intriguing: four or five passengers were involved in the 9/11 hijackings.
- But if hijacked, why hasn’t anyone claimed responsibility? The point of terrorists is to terrorize, not shroud an event in puzzlement and mystery.
How can a plane simply vanish? An ex-American Airlines Boeing 727-200 did so, and it seems to have been a criminal act. Air and Space Magazine recently had an update on this story.