Opinion and Editorial

MH370 mystery deepens

Filed on April 26, 2014

It is one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation.

The search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 continues to draw a blank and nobody has a clue as to how a plane could vanish into the blue without a trace.

It is 50 days now since the jet with 239 on board went off the radar on March 8 and despite vaunted technology and numerous eyes in the sky, we cannot find comfort for the relatives of 239 people who vanished in mid-air. There has been no sign of wreckage despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of over a dozen countries across Southeast Asia.

“It’s extraordinary that with all the (satellite and telecommunication) technology that we’ve got that an aircraft can disappear like this,” says Tony Tyler, the head of the International Air Transport Association that links over 90 per cent of the world’s airlines.

Conspiracy theories ranging from the far-fetched one of the plane being abducted by aliens to North Korea having a hand in the disappearance or the possibility that MH370 turned around and flew in a line that took it towards Straits of Malacca. Whatever the reason for this whole sad drama, what is certain is that the missing aircraft could not have touched down at a civilian airport. Nor could it have landed at the next land mass, which is Indonesia. It must be remembered that the jet had enough fuel to take it to Beijing and when it turned, it still had 4-5 hours of fuel. The line of flight from where it was last seen on radar to where it is now said to have been headed goes into the Indian Ocean. Five hours’ flying time in that direction leads to the British Indian Ocean Territory. That’s the place we know better as Diego Garcia, former US air base. Is this where it could be? Or is it in China as some claim?

An impression, which is shared by airline professionals and the public alike, is that attempts are being made to conceal or cover up some critical information about flight 370. This impression is gaining traction given that right from the very start the search operation has been hampered and impaired by a steady stream of ambiguous, inaccurate and at times contradictory information from different quarters.

With every passing day, hopes of ever finding the plane will recede and the search finally be called off. It’s indeed a very strange and twisted tale and one can only hope that one day the mystery will be solved, the plane found and grieving relatives of the 239 missing will find closure.

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