Guest Author - Sue Walsh
What began as a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing turned into a nightmare and a mystery as Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 lost contact with air traffic control and then disappeared. No trace of the aircraft has been found. Early reports of a 12 mile oil slick and debris thought to be one of the plane’s doors were later found to have no relation to the aircraft. Adding to the mystery and anguish, two of the plane’s passengers were found to have boarded using stolen passports, raising additional questions about possible terrorism and lax security at the Kuala Lumpur airport.
Search and rescue operations were launched by several countries including the US and they continue to work together to find the aircraft and its 239 passengers and crew. No distress signal or other signs of distress were sent before it disappeared. Officials aren’t ruling out anything including terrorism, catastrophic equipment failure, and perhaps most terrifying, the possibility that the pilot was not psychologically sound.
Several days after the flight disappeared, it was discovered that the plane had apparently veered wildly off course and was several hundred miles from where it should have been when it was last detected. It also appears it attempted to turn back to Kuala Lumpur.
Relatives and loved ones have gathered at a hotel near the Beijing airport and also at the Kuala Lumpur airport hoping for answers and praying for the best. The plane had only 7 and half hours of fuel and with no sign of it after well over 48 hours, the chances of any kind of happy ending are grim. Experts say if a catastrophic failure occurred, the resulting rapid decompression of the cabin could have knocked everyone unconscious almost immediately, explaining the lack of a distress signal. However no one can explain why there has been absolutely no sign of the plane. No wreckage or debris has been found, nor have they located the black boxes, which are programmed to “ping” for up to 30 days or until they are found. It’s not clear if that ping has been detected at all.
So far, everything is still a mystery, one fit for an Academy Award winning movie.