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What Happened to the Malaysia Airlines Flight That Vanished From Thin Air?

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 flight en route to China vanished yesterday with no warning and without sending any distress signal. The flight was carrying 239 individuals, including at least three American citizens. Adding to the mystery is that the skies were completely clear and there was no report of troubled weather ahead. It's now been almost twenty four hours since the crash and authorities are losing hope that they will find any survivors.

    There were reports this morning that Vietnamese air force planes spotted two long oil slicks off the southern tip of their country and that search and rescue teams are heading there to scour the area for wreckage. Multiple countries are involved i the search, including the USS USS Pinckney, a guilded-missile destroyer, and a P-3C Orion aircraft.

    Has anyone been following this development? At this moment there's only speculation as to what might have happened, but I'm sure more information will come to light in the days and weeks ahead.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Way too early to have any reliable idea of what happened, but never too early to speculate.

    Mechanical problems? Always a possibility, but it is an airplane with a very good safety record. Malaysian Airlines does not have the best reputation for maintenance. Last crash of a 777 was last summer when the Asiana flight crashed in San Fransisco on landing, thought to be pilot error. Crashes on take off and landing are more common than in mid flight, and this was mid flight.

    Weather? No reports of bad weather in the area.

    Terrorism? Too early to tell, but always a possibility.

    Suicide-by-pilot? Also a possibility. Remember the EgyptAir crash of 1999? It was determined that the first officer committed suicide and took a whole plane load of innocent passengers and crew with him when he cut the engines and deliberately crashed his airplane, which was a 767, not the same, but a related airplane. And there have been other instances of suicide-by-pilot.

    3 Americans on board this Malaysian flight at last report.

    Reports of an oil slick are a good clue, but no debris reported means the oil slicks could be from another source. This large an airplane will leave some debris on the surface. Remember that it took about 2 years to locate and recover the recorders from the Air France crash a few years ago, but that was in the deep Atlantic. This is "probably" in the much shallower South China Sea.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    And now we hear that 2 passengers got aboard with stolen passports.

    What does it mean? It means to look closer at a possible link to terrorism.

    It's still early, stay tuned, we haven't heard the last of this story.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jamesn Wrote: And now we hear that 2 passengers got aboard with stolen passports.

    What does it mean? It means to look closer at a possible link to terrorism.

    It's still early, stay tuned, we haven't heard the last of this story.
    Yes , I see a lot of speculation on TV; as thus as usual a lot of know it all's pop up. Just wait and see; they saw an oil slick; does not say anything; could have been a ship dumping oil, if there is no debris. etc.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Yes,
    The fact that two passengers boarded with stolen passports is suspicious, one was an Italian who had his passport stolen in Thailand and the other was an Austrian who had his stolen as well. The passports were taken 1 year ago and 2 years ago. Hopefully there will be more news soon but at this point it looks pretty doubtful that any good news will follow.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    As an aviation person, I'm totally surprised about this situation; I can't even walk out of my front door or a satelite sees what I'm doing etc.
    I'm guessing but, this plane must have been way off course; so they are probably searching within an area where the plane logically should have been, but not 100's of miles off course; the radar of Malasia or Vietnam does not reach too far ocean wise either. They will find it one way or an other; it will take a lot of time and effort.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    The latest that I have heard is that radar is suggesting the pilot may have tried to make a u turn indicating possibly an attempt to return to Kuala Lumpur. An air expert said they were traveling at 500 mile/hour and at that altitude if they had a problem they could have gone on for a long distance. The apparent u turn could have been the result of a bad rudder if the plane was in distress. Pro-golfer Payne Stewart died in flight (piloting) several years ago. His plane continued on for 400 miles before crashing.
    Dutch, with your experience, I would imagine this is a story that you will follow with some interest.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Whether the plane tried to turn or not, or was on course or off, broke up or exploded instantly, was hijacked or not, why no distress signal was sent...all these questions and more will be answered but maybe not soon. When the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorders are both recovered, then we should know.

    Stewart was a passenger on a Learjet which lost pressurization and all 4 passengers and the 2 pilots lost conciousness then the airplane flew on until it ran out of gas. The Air Force sent planes up to check it out and they said the windows had ice on them, which is a sign of what happened. The investigation proved correct what they suspected from the day of the accident. Reportedly there are only a few seconds to don oxygen masks, or it's too late. I was driving that day and was listening to the latest updates every few minutes until it went down, and even before it crashed they were pretty sure what had happened. It was kind of creepy listening to it happen live, knowing that they were dead and about to crash.

    This airliner ..."may have tried to make a u turn"... and that is just a guess at this point. There will be lots of guesses.

    Dutch, I agree that you can relate to this story better than the rest of us. If they tried to turn doesn't it seem as if they would send some sort of signal? Unless hijackers were in control?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    jamesn, That's my thought as well. The only logical reason for no radio contact would be a forced take over.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    CNN latest report tonight:

    "One promising lead has turned out to be a dead end. A "strange object" spotted by a Singaporean search plane late Sunday afternoon is not debris from the missing jetliner, a U.S. official familiar with the issue told CNN on Sunday.

    "A U.S. reconnaissance plane "thought it saw something like debris, but it was a false alarm," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity."
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    CNN, Monday, 8:09 am: 'We have to find the aircraft': Days later, no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

    Latest CNN report this morning:

    "Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we have not found anything that appear to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft," Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Malaysian civil aviation department, told reporters Monday.

    "Rahman discounted media reports that a plane door had been spotted. "That report was not verified officially by the Vietnamese authorities," he said.

    "Another report said the plane's tail had been found. That, too, is untrue, he said.

    "The only lead investigators had -- an oil slick that a Vietnamese plane spotted 90 miles south of Vietnam's Tho Chu Island in the Gulf of Thailand -- turned out to be a dead end, too. A sample from the slick showed it was bunker oil, which is typically used to power large cargo ships, and not aircraft oil, Malaysia's state new agency, Bernama, reported Monday."

    ---------------------------------------

    The true identities of the fake passport passengers also remains unsolved. Guess we'll have to wait a while yet.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Typical the USA; way too much attention on the "passports"; I guess the terrorist indoctrination sits in the Americans blood; thus the fear mongering here has done a great job over time. Lets look at the facts; if it was a hyjacking or someting like it, would not a "group" have claimed great success?

    It was not an "American" airline (much better service on board!) and only three Americans on it; thus what is there politically to be gained in that area? Nothing!! Malaysia is a beautiful country and a reasonable economy; terrorist would be much more interested in a US airline; then you can score.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch Wrote: Typical the USA; way too much attention on the "passports"; I guess the terrorist indoctrination sits in the Americans blood; thus the fear mongering here has done a great job over time. Lets look at the facts; if it was a hyjacking or someting like it, would not a "group" have claimed great success?

    It was not an "American" airline (much better service on board!) and only three Americans on it; thus what is there politically to be gained in that area? Nothing!! Malaysia is a beautiful country and a reasonable economy; terrorist would be much more interested in a US airline; then you can score.
    Dutch -- I'm inclined to agree with you that it was probably not an act of terrorism. The media that I have been following have speculated on all sorts of reasons for the disappearance, including terrorism. However, they have been careful to not focus on any one cause. I don't see a fixation on a possible act of terror.

    Maybe the Netherlands media doesn't cover that possible aspect, but many of the English speaking news media around the world have mentioned that as a possible reason although certainly not the most likely one.

    My post was just an update on all the latest news out of the area as reported by CNN. Maybe I should have left out the bit on the stolen passport passengers.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I believe that I heard the one's who used the stolen passports were caught on video tape. If that's true I believe the facial recognition software is pretty advanced. I'm not suggesting it was evil acts but stolen passports is suspicious.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    They're also checking fingerprints on the airline tickets.

    CNN: Two mystery passengers add to intrigue in airliner's disappearance

    "Malaysian officials have shared photos and biometric information -- which can include fingerprints -- from the men with the United States, a U.S. intelligence official said Monday. No further details were immediately available.

    "Malaysia's civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, revealed Monday that authorities have reviewed security footage of the men passing through Kuala Lumpur's airport, and they are not "Asian looking men." At least one of them appeared to be black, Rahman said."