At this point, it may seem to the average reader that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 might not exist. Ships, planes, and helicopters, aided by radar and satellite images, have scanned miles of ocean and land masses in search of the plane.
The disappearance of MH370 with its 239 passengers and crew has baffled experts and frustrated media reporting. It’s almost as if every entity involved in the search is living in a different universe.
The level of desperation is such that the search efforts have been extended to crowd sources. Yes, that’s right. You can log on and do your part in searching for debris within vast expanse of ocean and land images collected by Chinese satellites.
The latest and most jarring report is that the search area could range for thousands of miles beyond the aircraft’s flight path and well beyond the current search areas. This report, from the Wall Street Journal, holds that the plane kept flying for hours after it dropped from radar and stopped sending locator signals.
Turning off the plane’s transponders is an intricate affair and cannot be easily accomplished without the pilot or co-pilot. If the locator signals were turned off and the plane kept flying, as the WSJ account suggests, it would suggest a nefarious nightmare scenario involving high jacking or terrorism.
The Malaysian government has denied the Wall Street Journal account but, given that remnants of the plane have not been found after days of intensive searching, the report has cache. It’s a case of international “he-said-she-said,” with no solid proof in either direction.
The Malaysia government disputation of the Wall Street Journal report is not a directly sourced report. The Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters that Boeing and Rolls Royce, manufacturers of the plane and its engines, have denied that the aircraft’s engines and other systems kept operating for hours after losing radar and communications contact with ground operations.
The WSJ report presumes to have spoken to “two people familiar with the details.” This is newspaper language-speak for unnamed sources who have been instructed not to comment publicly. This, too, depends upon the credibility of the newspaper, much as the Malaysian denial depends upon the credibility of the transportation minister.
The families waiting for news of their relatives are presented witgh the Sophie’s choice of unnamed newspaper sources or the credibility of Malaysian government officials.
Amidst all the misinformation and misleading early reports, the question of whether the plane kept flying after losing contact with ground operators looms most significantly. It is safe to assume that authorities somewhere aready know the answer to that haunting question.