The mystery of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is still unanswered. Today, there is new information from the Thai government [video may start playing automatically at link] which suggests the missing airplane "took a sharp westward turn after communication was lost." It's the second piece of radar evidence, following "information from the Malaysian Air Force that its military radar tracked the plane as it passed over the small island of Pulau Perak," that hints the plane turned toward the Strait of Malacca.
The Thai military was receiving normal flight path and communication data from the Boeing 777-200 on its planned March 8 route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing until 1:22 a.m., when it disappeared from its radar.Investigators still have no idea where the plane is now, however, and the new information means the search area has increased to an area roughly equivalent to that of the continental US.
Six minutes later, the Thai military detected an unknown signal, a Royal Thai Air Force spokesman told CNN. This unknown aircraft, possibly Flight 370, was heading the opposite direction.
Malaysia says the evidence gathered so far suggests the plane was deliberately flown off course, turning west and traveling back over the Malay Peninsula and out into the Indian Ocean.
Yesterday, the New York Times ran a piece exploring the possible reasons for the absence of mobile device communications from passengers on the missing plane.
The apparent absence of any word from the aircraft in an era of nearly ubiquitous mobile communications has prompted considerable debate among pilots, telecommunications specialists and others.And of course there's always the possibility that if was indeed the pilot who hijacked the plane, passengers may not even have realized the flight was off course.
...Some theorize the silence signifies that the plane was flying too high for personal electronic devices to be used. Others wonder whether people aboard the flight even tried to make calls or send messages.
...Investigators do not know if anyone aboard the plane even tried to make a call. Passengers would have quickly become unconscious if the plane depressurized as it soared to an unusually high altitude right after the turnaround, pilots said. Whoever diverted the plane could have disabled the release of oxygen masks.
Finally: Chris Goodfellow, a Canadian Class-1 instrumented-rated pilot for multi-engine planes, puts forth "A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet." I have no idea whether his theory is right, but he is absolutely right about this: "There is no point speculating further until more evidence surfaces, but in the meantime it serves no purpose to malign pilots who well may have been in a struggle to save this aircraft from a fire or other serious mechanical issue."
I am practicing patience.
It's such a confounding and terrifying situation. I feel so desperately sad and anxious for the families, friends, and colleagues who await answers on passengers who seem to have vanished into thin air.