MH370: Still an Unsolved Mystery

malaysiaairlines-flight-mh370On March 8 of this year, breaking news about MH370 was heard all over the world. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur but in less than an hour of flight, it lost contact with air traffic control. The flight was carrying twelve crew members and two hundred twenty-seven passengers. To this date, no signs of the plane or of its crash site have yet been found.

With passengers coming from different countries, search rescue teams were being organized on a multi-national level; it is reported to be the most wide and most expensive search to be conducted in history, covering the areas of Thailand Gulf, South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, and Andaman Sea.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority joined the search, focusing on the Indian Ocean. Initial search efforts were fruitful as a robotic submarine began picking up signals coming from beacons attached to the “black box” flight recorders of the aircraft; but when all beacon batteries were finally exhausted, signals were lost. The Australian search team was halted this May 28th, with no sighting found.

What puzzles authorities is that no clear reason can be established as to the purpose or cause of the disappearance. The last to make contact with the aircraft was Vietnam Air Traffic Control, but the captain only heard ‘mumbling’ and static. No distress signal was sent out; there was no notice of technical problems, and there were no weather problems at the time the aircraft vanished. MH370 holds the reputation for being one of the safest aircrafts ever built.

Modifications to aircraft tracking are now being suggested but president of Emirates, Tim Clark says no changes ought to be made until more conclusive facts about the case have been discovered. He said that if indeed MH370 veered off course, said plane would have been intercepted by Malaysian military fighter jets. If it invaded another country’s airspace, a similar reaction would be solicited from that country as well. Mr. Clark wonders why there was no immediate action from the Malaysian military at the time the plane deviated.

Chief Executive of International Air Transport Association, Mr. Tony Tyler stated that this disappearance is a first in the history of modern aviation; i.e., for an aircraft to vanish without trace and for such an extended period of time. In the annual meeting held in Doha, Qatar, joint efforts on formulating better means of global tracking came up in the discussion. An initial draft of recommendations derived will be given to the International Civil Aviation Organisation by September. “It must not happen again,” Tyler emphasized.

Along with Australia, Malaysia itself has stopped all search operations. Some private companies are still hopeful, GeoResonance for one is still exerting rescue efforts.

There is a growing rumor that the US may be responsible for the missing plane. John Chuckman, senior economist, speculates that its military forces may be responsible for the incident, shooting down the unidentified plane which was invading its horizons; this being done either intentionally or accidentally. Mr. Chuckman might have been pointing to a 1988 incident when he stated that if ever, ‘”this wouldn’t have been the first time’”.

In 1988, Commercial Flight 655 of Iran Air was shot down by the United States Navy. Two hundred ninety passengers were instantly killed. During that time, US Navy ships were situated in the Persian Gulf in order to defend and escort US registered Kuwaiti oil tankers. Marine activities of Iran in the surrounding area were also being limited and the United States was imposing embargo against the country. When flight 655 flew in the same area and failed to make contact, USS Vincennes, a missile cruiser that was at war with Iranian ships at the same time, proceeded to shoot down the airplane, mistakenly perceiving it to be an attacking military fighter.

The ‘US military shootdown’ angle is also supported by Nigel Cawthorne who authored a book discussing this same theory. He cites a man who witnessed a burning passenger plane in the skies; the man was working on an oil rig in the area at the time. Bearing in mind that US and Thai join military operations were happening at that same time might all the more strengthen the proposed theory.

Last May 31, spouses Katherine and Marc lodged a report with the Australian organization Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), an organization that coordinates search efforts for MH370. The report made states citing of the burning plane at a declared location. The report if verified might prove valuable. The spouses included a full track voyage data which supposedly confirms that they were within sight of the crashing plane.

The husband and wife were already at sea for over a year and at the time of the disappearance of MH370, their yacht was on its way to Phuket. Katherine Tee stated that she saw a plane on fire crossing the sky at night and heavy black smoke trailed behind it. In an interview with the Phuket Gazette, she further adds that she witnessed two other planes as well. She dismissed the sighting but was alarmed when upon arrival in Phuket on March 10, news of the MH370 disappearance reached them.

Already nearing three months of searching, doubts on the possibility of ever recovering the missing plane may be dimming by the minute. Search locations are being widened and experts say that with that kind of move, finding the missing aircraft will be less likely. Millions and millions of dollars have been put into the search, with more budget being channeled into it. Australia has an additional $38.8 million pooled into the budget while the US will be putting in $4 million dollars more in addition to the $3.3 million it had already spent for the search.

The concerned families are in a constant state of grief, seeking a much-needed closure that keeps on evading them. The whole world eagerly awaits the final outcome. Will the final resting place of MH370 ever be found and will the reason for its tragedy ever be revealed?

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