The mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 deepens as the search for the missing aircraft enters into its sixth day. Carrying 239 passengers, the Boeing 777 originally departed from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing on Saturday, March 8, 2014, but the aircraft lost radio contact with air traffic controllers less than an hour into the flight.
The search area for missing Flight 370 continues to expand as each day passes and now encompasses an area of 2,500 miles, extending into the Indian Ocean. Thirteen countries have joined the search for the plane with more than 100 aircraft and ships scouring land and sea.
Data from the Transponder
According to reports from CBS News’ on Thursday, the data system and two transponders aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that provide information regarding the speed of the plane as well as its location and altitude were shut down at separate times moments before the flight went off radar. A catastrophic event is not impossible as of yet, but investigators believe that it is at least unlikely that the plane crashed soon after it disappeared from radar as the transponder aboard Flight 370 continued to ping satellites for four more hours.
Search into Indian Ocean
U.S. officials are now exploring the theory that the plane may have traveled toward India. According to The Washington Post, this news follows an announcement from investigators that suggests Malaysian military radar tracking the plane shows it was intentionally flown toward India’s Andaman Islands. The investigation into the disappearance is beginning to take a more sinister turn as focus on sabotage and hijacking increases.
No theories have been ruled out as of yet. The other theories into the disappearance of this flight include:
- A catastrophic event
- Mechanical failure
- Pilot/crew sabotage
- Human error
Other Airline Disasters
Each day following the disappearance of Flight 370 leaves more questions than answers, but this isn’t the first flight to disappear.
Air France Flight 447
In 2009, a storm over the Atlantic Ocean was responsible for the crash of Flight 447 carrying 228 passengers from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Debris from this flight was found after a few days, but the full wreckage of the flight laid at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, and wasn’t found for nearly two years. All passengers aboard the flight died.
Adam Air Boeing 737
One hundred and two people disappeared aboard an Indonesian flight in 2007. Debris was discovered a few days later, but the cockpit recorder took almost nine months to find. Part of the plane remains at the bottom of the ocean. In this flight, an investigation found that the autopilot was unintentionally disengaged and the pilots lost control of the aircraft.
Egypt Air’s Boeing 767-300 ER
Two hundred and seventeen passengers died aboard a flight bound to Cairo when the plane crashed into Atlantic Ocean. Controversy surrounding the crash developed when conflicting reports were filed about the cause. The National Transportation and Safety Board claimed the flight was crashed deliberately by the pilot, but Egyptian authorizes refuted the NTSB report and cited mechanical failures.
Trans World Airlines Flight 800
En route from New York to Rome, the plane carrying 230 people exploded midair over the Atlantic Ocean in 1996. An investigation lasting four years found the crash was caused by an explosion in the fuel tank created by a short circuit. All passengers aboard were killed. Conspiracies surrounding the flight speculate that the explosion was a government cover-up and that the plane was destroyed by a missile orchestrated by a U.S. military aircraft.
Anup Kaphle. Ten major international airlines disasters in the past 50 years. The Washington Post.
Chico Harlan, Ashley Halsey III, and Scott Wilson. Search for missing Malaysian plane expands into Indian Ocean. The Washington Post.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: As U.S. role expands, so do search area and suspicion of foul play. CBS News.
The Associated Press. Mystery of Missing Jet Recalls Past Disappearances. ABC News.