So, what has happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, missing now for nine days? The Comment threads are buzzing with the usual uninformed speculation. Among the many plausible and not-so plausible theories people have posted are:
1 It blew up in mid-air. A bomb. A fuel explosion following an engine fire. Cabin fire. A missile. North Korea. Single engine transponder continued to ping for 6 hours, picked up by Inmarsat. Why did it take them a week to report it? Was it pinging from the air? From under the sea? From on land? Why has it stopped? If terrorism, why no claim of responsibility? Why no wreckage? Why was it three days before we were told the plane had altered course unexpectedly?
2 Massive electrical failure. Solar flare? It came down in the sea, intact, then sank. On land. Stranded. Why no emergency message received? What happened to the passengers?
3 The onboard navigation systems failed. The pilot thought he was on-course. Ran out of fuel over the Indian Ocean. Tried to put it down somewhere. Crashed. But pilot had 18,000 hours’ experience. And why no emergency signal?
4 The pilot hijacked his own plane to flee abroad or commit suicide. Why? He’s a pilot! Malaysia’s is not a closed border. Where did he go, where is it now? Did he go mad? Why did the rest of the crew not intervene? Why did the co-pilot bid Malaysian air traffic control a cheery ‘goodnight’, if the pilot was busy committing suicide? Why did he build his own flight simulator at home – was it to rehearse taking a plane? To train terrorists? If landed somewhere, why not reported by the local airport authorities? What happened to the passengers?
5 The pilot and/or co-pilot was part of a conspiracy to hijack the plane and made sure all comms were disabled. What was the purpose? Why has no-one claimed responsibility? Did someone want to get hold of 777’s secret technology? Did they decide to seize a plane of their own to mount a 9/11 attack because it’s too difficult to hijack a plane? Somewhat illogical reason! If plane recrossed Malaysian airspace en route to Andaman Islands, why not noticed on civil/military radar? Why airforce jets on standby not scrambled? (Port Blair runway too short to land a 777 but up to a dozen – or 600 – others in range.)
6 The aircraft has 8,000km range, fully fuelled. So landed at a secret destination, possibly a former Soviet ‘Stan’ republic, and is being kept hidden/being repainted. (Or in Australia, according to US ‘intelligence’,17th March). Either as a future weapon for a 9/11 attack (Petronas Tower?) or because Malaysian Airlines is in financial difficulty*. Again, what then happened to the passengers? Hostage? Murdered? Was any individual on the passenger manifest a potential target for kidnap or assassination?
7 Why did no-one on board apparently use their mobile phone to broadcast a message? Has anyone checked? Could terrorists really have taken phones off 230 people before anyone could call or secretly text? Did plane blow up suddenly? (So why not seen? Wreckage not found?) Or did no-one realise they were in danger? Already asleep because after 1 a.m.? Knockout gas in ventilation system? Temporary depressurisation of cabin? Suggests pilot/crew involvement. But no suggestion pilot was political. Except he was, sort-of. Politics? Blackmail? Family threatened? Huge bribe? Or just out of cellphone signal range?
8 Attention focussed for several days on two young Iranian men travelling on stolen passports. It is believed there are a million stolen passports in circulation. Background checks showed one of the men was hoping to find asylum in Germany. Also Sweden. Could both have been hijackers? And foiled the plane’s comms systems? And taken it over, and taken the passengers’ phones? Where would they have gone? Would we not know by now?
9 No attention seems to have been focussed on two Ukrainian and one Russian citizen on the flight. Ukraine is currently an international flashpoint, with Russian troops massing to invade. Again, could just two men take over a 777 with locked cockpit door and 239 passengers? Was there a fight, with shots fired, that caused sudden cabin depressurisation, hence no phones used? Shoe bomb used to blow open cabin door. Was Moscow a target for a 9/11 attack?
10 Separatists, possibly with China involvement, ie Uighur moslems; or one of many Indonesian separatist movements, e.g. Bandah Aceh; or al-Quaeda cells from Bali, Indonesia, Philippines, etc. Maoist Indian Naxalites. Or Tamil Tigers. So why no demand or claim of responsibility? Why none of these on pasenger manifest? Plane blown up unintentionally en route to target? Switched in mid-air with another commercial flight? Shot down by military fighter jets to prevent an attack? Or by accident – automatic defence systems triggered by plane off course and not responding??
11 A high-tech explanation. Possibly a trial run for a 9/11-type operation? Testing 3D-printed weaponry (undetectable plastic)? Cyberjacking – using mobile phones or satellite technology to see if a plane can be taken over from the ground, comms disabled, and flown by remote control? Then ditched in the Indian Ocean (2km deep water!)? The real operation comes later?
12 Fire in the cockpit. Pilots shut down comms transponder to put out fire (WTF?? Ed.) Set course for emergency airfield, passengers, pilots and crew all overcome by smoke. (Why didn’t pilots put on emergency oxygen, then?) Autopilot flies plane on and on, out into the Indian Ocean, until it runs out of fuel. (Fails to explain why plane alters course three times… also would you not make a Mayday call BEFORE you disabled your comms?)
13 Alien abduction by traction beam. Mid-air collision with alien craft. Slipped through a wormhole into another dimension or parallel universe. Portal opened up into the future. Plane found on moon…
Actually, I’ve made up the last bit. It seemed the most probable explanation.
* Blogger ‘Gary’ (Yahoo!, 17 March) quotes an interesting report of a proposed CIA operation in the 1960s to switch a regular flight with an identical radio-controlled airliner and deliberately crash it to falsely implicate Cuba. (If that is the plan, it’s not going to work, because everyone now knows the real plane is missing! – Ed.)
Strangely, an Australian aviation expert on BBC radio this morning (17th March) claimed that the hunt for MH370 has switched to the southern ocean as the result of information supplied by US intelligence. Yet this information is only being generally reported on newswires today (20th March) as aircraft search for two ‘objects’ ‘spotted four days ago’ 1,500 miles from Perth in the Southern Ocean by an ‘Australian’ (sic) satellite…
I have just vaguely recalled that I dreamed something like this scenario about a year ago.
Okay, I thought I could keep it going but it’s now three minutes past six pm on 31st March and we’re still no nearer finding this plane. Vast areas of ocean have been combed, intelligence satellites and planes have spotted literally tonnes of floating garbage, some of it the size of an aircraft, none of which appears to have anything to do with Flight MH370 (so you wonder what the hell it is, then? Why are we just chucking this stuff away?Alll the recorded faint ‘pings’ have been analysed, but Malaysia is still not releasing the information they are getting from the investigating team. China is practically at war over the incompetence with which the episode is being handled by the State airline, mass protests have taken place demanding the authorities either come clean or stop putting out misinformation, especially by text messages. Numerous relatives have been interviewed saying they believe their loved ones are still alive; although we know of course that there is no air on the moon. It is all very difficult, as if you don’t know anything, it’s hard to say what it is you don’t know, without sounding as though you do know really, when all you know is that nothing is known.
Meanwhile, the days roll by.