Malaysian authorities dismissed images from a Chinese satellite indicating sizable chunks of debris that could be what is left of missing Air Malaysia Flight MH370. Chinese and Vietnamese, as well as other investigators calculated by the sizes of the three pieces of debris could be the two wings and the tail section of the plane.
Malaysian authorities claim the airliner was last spotted over the Malaccan Straits. Unnamed sources say the Rolls Royce engines were still reporting activity long after the flight’s transponder stopped operating. A Vietnamese oil rig driller claimed that he saw the plane explode some hundreds of miles off the Vietnamese coast, southeast of Dao Con Son island. His testimony was dismissed as suspect. Yet his sighting apparently was in general accordance with the Chinese satellite image.
However, an independent Reuters reporter, flying with Vietnamese searchers, said they flew to the spot indicated and found no debris. So the search continues with authorities and media reporters baffled as to where the plane could be. The sea currents in that region generally flow northward, much like our gulf stream. There’s a second, circular current farther out to sea, where the aircraft would probably be, that flows in a circular motion, with a calm in the center. If we take the oil driller theory, the debris would have caught a ride on the current and is either going around in circle, or hitched a ride on one of the other northern flowing currents.
If it indeed, the aircraft exploded in midflight (and a new warning from Boeing indicates that the 777 has a flaw in its structure, a crack that could cause the aircraft to disintegrate at high altitudes but doesn’t explain how or why the transponder was turned off), the sea currents should give searchers an idea of the direction in which the debris has drifted.
If the aircraft was hijacked, and the fact that two Iranians with stolen passports were on board, investigators need to sweep in a 360 degree direction to determine where the plane either crashed or landed (or crash-landed). That’s a lot of territory to cover.
The first city on the destination list, as this blog has previously noted, is Urumqi, in the Uighur province of Xinziang. Islamic separatists have been agitating for their, Muslim state. Urumqi has an international airport. Some are speculating that the plane has been stolen to use for other purposes. The question remains, however: what about the passengers (mostly Chinese)?
Once again, a reminder that Muslims never forget an anniversary. March 8th was the 35th anniversary of China’s withdrawal from Vietnam. The flight’s path took it over Vietnam and it disappeared before reaching the Vietnam coast. That’s one more reason for suspecting it’s an act of terrorism. Whether it’s a hijacking or a bombing, the disabling of the transponder and the date of disappearance make this flight a likely candidate for some sort of terrorist act.
The 2,700-mile flight limit would take the airliner within the boundaries of Pakistan and Afghanistan (and all points in between). These are also distinct possibilities. Since the passengers were largely Chinese, however, Uighur activity would be the most suspect, given the number of Chinese passengers on board, with the help of the Iranians. The backgrounds of the pilots need to be investigated further (beyond inviting female passengers into the cockpit).
Until the airports in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Xinziang (especially Urumqi) can be inspected and their authorities questioned, the whereabouts of Flight 370 will remain a mystery.