Malaysia Air Flight 370: Here Are The Biggest QuestionsBy: Rachel Kolman - March 15, 2014
Controversy still surrounds Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the flight that mysteriously disappeared off the radar on March 8, carrying 239 passengers. While many speculators believe the plane was most likely hijacked, there are still several questions left unanswered by the bizarre disappearance of flight 370.
The biggest question is, well, where exactly is the plane now? CNN reports that search crews have stretched to the Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean. This essentially covers an area stretching from India to Australia, which is extremely expansive, and “an impossible task,” says Peter Goelz, a former National Transportation Safety Board director. “It’s got to be narrowed down more.” CNN claims that there are now 57 ships and 48 aircrafts involved in the search.
Following this big question, the next mystery is: what caused the plane to lose contact? The transponder, a radio transmitter that connects to air traffic control, had stopped working at 1:07 am. Why it stopped working is the question at large. Without the transponder, the flight is virtually invisible, allowing it to manipulated freely. Many speculate that if the pilot didn’t turn off the transponder, a hijacker did. There’s also no evidence to support a pilot’s error in the flight’s disappearance. The pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, has over 18,000 flying hours and 20 years of experience. There was also no inclement weather at the time of disappearance.
Does this mean the plane could have safely landed somewhere? It’s a popular theory, as a new report from the Wall Street Journal says that there’s recent satellite information that shows communication from the plane at 8:11 am – seven hours after its disappearance. It’s possible the plane was landed on a remote island, although a plane as large as a Boeing 777 requires at least a mile-long strip for landing. And if it had crashed on land, the plane’s emergency beacon would have automatically flashed on the radar.
Did the Malaysian Airlines Flight land on water, then? CNN says that it’s possible: emergency beacons are significantly harder to find in water landings. After flying for nearly eight hours, the plane could have sank in-tact, which would explain why there aren’t any traces of the plane’s debris.
Whether the plane sunk in water or is currently hidden landed off-radar, it’s clear there are still many unanswered questions regarding this mysterious disappearance. With an expansive search team and new information being discovered every day, many hang on to the hope that the plane will be found and recovered.
Image via Wikimedia Commons