Search for Malaysian Airliner Turns to Completely New Area

Maylsia350As the search for Malaysia Airlines' missing Boeing 777 airliner continues for a fourth day, authorities are turning their interest to a new, completely different area after military officials report radar data showed the plane may have turned around, and flown hundreds of miles off its flight path at an extremely low altitude, the WaPo reports:

If the plane dropped from a low altitude into the Malacca Strait, it might explain the lack of a major debris field. Malaysia Airlines said in a statement early Tuesday that the western coast of Malaysia was “now the focus” of the search. But a spokeswoman for the airline later said the wording was a mistake and that there was no particular emphasis on any location.

Malaysian civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said searches were continuing “on both sides” of the peninsula.

Authorities expressed surprise that the plane would have attempted to head back to the Malaysian capital without informing ground control.

Terrorism has not been ruled out though "two Iranians who boarded an ill-fated passenger jet with fake passports did not appear to have any terrorist links."

Comments

  1. says

    My theory is that the two guys that had stolen passports must have hijacked the plane, flew to the location they wanted to go, then parachuted out and let the plane crash to destroy the evidence and kill the witnesses.

  2. Randy says

    Here’s what my gut tells me, from what I’ve heard so far.

    1. The plane was hijacked.
    2. The transponder was turned off.
    3. The plane changed course (plainly NOT a U-turn)
    4. It flew over a narrow strip of land divided between Thailand and Malaysia, as a way to draw the least attention to its path.
    5. It was headed to Sri Lanka or India.
    6. The Malaysian military shot it down, and is trying desperately to avoid blame.

  3. Bill says

    As to the two conspiracy theories above, a more likely explanation is that there was some sort of failure that took out enough of the electrical system to disable the radios and maybe the pumps that maintain cabin pressure. That would explain the radio silence, dropping to a low altitude, and flying for some time putting the plane out of the area initially being searched before it crashed.

    Regardless, anything at this point is simply a wild guess.

  4. Bill says

    @Dr. Christopher Blackwell : that might be the result of a multiple calls being received at the same time, so that calls get queued up by the voice mail service, and the callers can’t distinguish that from a phone ringing normally.

    If the cell phones really were continuing to work and were within range of a base station, we could find them pretty easily. When turned on and not receiving calls, a cell phone will still transmit periodically so that base stations know where the phone is. Otherwise you couldn’t route incoming calls to the phone. A phone company can look up that information. If there were something useful, we’d have found the plane by now.

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