Saturday, May 10, 2014

Missing From Malaysia: One of The Greatest Mysteries of Our Century

Eight weeks later, and missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has yet to be found. Carrying 227 passengers and 12 Malaysian Crew members, the aircraft lost communication with air traffic control on March 8, 2014 and has since been the source of numerous speculations.

On March 24, the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Inmarsat, two independent sources, recommended “beyond any reasonable doubt” that the aircraft had fallen in Indian Ocean with no survivors. However, neither flight debris nor a crash site has been confirmed. The most widely accepted theory states that the aircraft went down in the Southern Indian Ocean. However, foul play is not completely out of the picture. Two of the passengers on Flight 370 used stolen or lost passports when immigration officials failed to stop the passengers from using stolen European passports. The head of Interpol believed “that it was not a terrorist incident” and there is evidence that the passengers using stolen passports were seeking asylum.

In the seven weeks since the disappearance of Flight 370, the international community has worked together to search for any signs of survivors or a crash site. From deployment of international naval vessels and aircrafts, the search area has expanded from approximately 40 kilometers in radius to spanning over 217,000 square kilometers. From the use of satellite imagery to SONAR technology, the search has been extensive and exhaustive. On the morning of April 6, several ping signals were picked up by the Ocean Shield, a ship in the Royal Australian Navy consistent with the aircraft’s Black Box transmissions. Unfortunately, as of April 14 the black box transmitters are likely to have died down and using Towed Pinger Locators has been replaced by the deployment of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles.

Everyday, more and more information is released regarding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Recently, the Malaysian prime minister confirmed reports that the aircraft was tracked by military radar even as it lost contact with civilian air traffic controllers. As this information is released, hopefully the mystery of Flight 370 can finally be put to rest.

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