Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: What Happens Now?


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It's been more than a week since anyone heard from Flight MH370 or the 239 passengers on board. In the time that has passed since the Malaysia Airlines flight's vanishing, it feels as if we are no closer to discovering the truth about what happened than we were when the plane's bizarre disappearance was first announced.

Families of the the missing passengers remain tense and suspicious, particularly Chinese relatives in Beijing.

Even after being told by airline officials and investigators to "prepare for the worst", they desperately clung to hope. Some tried (and successfully) rung the phones of missing passengers.

Despite the successful ringing of cellphones, experts now say that it's not proof of any kind that the passengers are alive.

Technology industry analyst Jeff Kagan told CNN, "If it doesn't find the phone after a few minutes, after a few rings, then typically, it disconnects, and that's what's happening."

The search for the missing flight took a drastic turn when Malaysian officials announced the belief that the disappearance of Flight MH370 was likely not accidental or due to any mechanical errors. They now thing its vanishing was purposeful, possibly the result of a hijacking. Despite this new set of theories, the possibility remains that the plane could have somehow crashed anyway.

With the growing questions as to what led to the plane's disappearance, one of the most prominent is, "What happens now?"

The only thing that can really be done at present is follow what clues exist and hope they lead to the plane's location.

The area of search has expanded quite some distance since Flight MH370 first disappeared. With several hours worth of fuel, the Boeing 777 could have flown quite a ways from where it went off course. There are fears it crashed deep in the Indian Ocean or was even re-routed to Pakistan.

Many theories are being floated about, though the dominant scenario is that the plane very likely crashed. It will be hard to prove as this new expanded area of search includes deep ocean waters. All that can be done now is to patiently examine places the plane could have gone down.

This effort will likely take some time. It's also sadly possible that the truth of what happened will never be discovered.

Image via Wikimedia Commons