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Transportation News

Malaysian Flight Disappearance 'Deliberate' 436

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-dwindling dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Malaysia's Prime Minister announced at a press conference that Flight 370, which disappeared a week ago, was diverted as a result of 'deliberate action.' The investigation has now focused in two ways: first, they're looking more closely at the passengers and crew, and second, they've narrowed the search for the plane down to two corridors. One stretches from Kazakhstan to northern Thailand, and the other goes from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. 'That conclusion was based on a final signal from the plane picked up on satellite at 8:11 a.m. on March 8, nearly seven hours after ground control lost contact with the jet, he said.'

The Prime Minister said the plane's communications system and the transponder system were both disabled early on during the flight. The time of the plane's final satellite contact would have put its fuel reserves very low. 'Police on Saturday morning drove into the residential compound where the missing plane's pilot lives in Kuala Lumpur, according a guard and several local reporters who were barred from entering the complex. ... Experts have previously said that whoever disabled the plane's communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience. One possibility they have raised was that one of the pilots wanted to commit suicide."
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Malaysian Flight Disappearance 'Deliberate'

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  • Three thoughts... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davidmcg (796487) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @08:46AM (#46491693) Homepage
    1. Why are cockpit voices recorded only in the black box? If other data from a plane is constantly being sent for maintenance purposes, while in flight, why do planes not also not relay cockpit voices to some storage system, for just such a situation? CCTV keeps footage for a few hours or a few days, why is this kind of valuable data not also routinely stored? 2. I don't know how low you have to fly a plane to fly "under the radar" but isn't is possible that the pilot or a hijacker flew the plane below radar to somewhere where it is now on the ground? 3. One other possibility: the plane was shot down, and the country that did it, realizing the mistake, is participating in the search to cover up. Militaries have shot down civilian jets before. The Soviet Union and the USA have both done so.
  • does it add up? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nblender (741424) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @08:50AM (#46491703)

    Lets say you were a pilot with intent to commit suicide (and take everyone with you; ignoring the sociopathy involved in that)... Why go through the effort of 'hiding' the plane? Turning off the transponder and comms, changing altitude and direction, and flying for a few more hours? The plane was already over the ocean, easy to dive it straight down. Less than a minute and it's done.

    My intuition says that someone wanted a 777 and wanted to hide it.

  • Nuke bomb theory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2014 @09:02AM (#46491787)

    The plane was deliberately stolen and was landed somewhere in the middle east or Africa. It could be at an abandoned airfield or an improvised one in a desert area, hidden in a hangar or hidden by an improvised cover. It is being fitted with a stolen nuclear bomb as we speak. The passengers and crew have most likely all been killed.

    A Boeing 777 200EL has sufficient range to reach the east coast of the USA and deliver the nuke in a suicide strike. The terrorists involved could have maybe purchased or stolen a smaller jet like a Gulfstream. However, even the highest-end Gulfstream does not have sufficient range to reach the USA. A large commercial airliner is perfect for this job.

    Logistical issues such as refueling with Jet-A fuel and hiding the plane from satellite and aerial surveillance would have to be overcome to pull this off.

    If I'm right, God help us.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @09:12AM (#46491839) Journal
    There are very few clues. Some tantalizing pings, between 4 to 6 on the satellites, some delay in transponder being turned off etc are the bare facts on which these elaborate theories are being spun. But I keep thinking about the Helios flight [wikipedia.org] disaster. The maintenance crew had left the cabin pressurization in "manual" mode. The pilot did not notice. The plane warned about cabin pressure. But the pilot was confused and continued to climb to cruise altitude. Deprived of oxygen, all of them died when the oxygen ran out. Pilots never put on the mask and died soon. Plane without pilots, may be with a few passengers alive for half an hour longer, flew on auto pilot for several hours. One crew member, a flight attendant, a former navy diver was seen in the cockpit lugging a (probably empty oxygen) cylinder by the chase planes. Eventually ran out of fuel and crashed in the mountain.

    It is possible somehow both pilots lost control of the plane and it flew on auto pilot, following whatever route was programmed into it.

  • Suicide By Jet Plane (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Albanach (527650) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @09:27AM (#46491921) Homepage

    If you want to commit suicide, why not ditch the plane straight down? Why would you plot a course somewhere into the middle of the Indian Ocean?

    If you didn't want it to look like suicide, why not ditch into rural China? There has to be some way a professional pilot could make it look more accidental.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2014 @10:04AM (#46492171)

    Here is some fictional writing I saw on reddit. It is a crazy story....... http://pastebin.com/d97LkvF7

    What is the craziest way the mystery of Flight 370 could end? by Brutussin AskReddit

    [–]z3ndog 423 points 19 hours ago

    Iran's Trojan Horse

    The pilot's wife and 2 kids were kidnapped and the pilot was contacted via his cell 15m before takeoff with pics of his family, tied up, gagged, with knives to their throats by masked bad guys. He was given instructions to turn off the transponder, turn to the west, and allow the 2+ Iranian terrorists (fake passports) into the cockpit.

    Immediately prior, the two terrorists removed a 250W High Power Waterproof OEM Signal Jammer with Omni-directional Antennas from their overhead luggage and activated it, effectively jamming all cell phone transmissions.

    The plane was directed to fly west across Malaysia and then redirected north to Myanmar's (Burma) Hanthawaddy International Airport in the Bago Region; Myanmar which is located about 50 miles (80 km) away from Yangon. This is a remote airstrip that was under construction and not expected to be opened until 2018; however, which was controlled by Syrian Islamists.

    The plane landed without incident and was taxied to a hanger under contruction where it was boarded by more Islamists with fully automatic weapons, including a highly trained Iranian Military pilot and 3 member flight crew. The Maylasian pilot and crew were taken outside and executed in a manner visible to the passengers. The pilot's wife and kids were simultaneously killed and subsequently buried in a remote field after the plane landed.

    The plane's communication electronics were completely disabled (turned off the satellite transmissions that tipped off authorities that the plane had not crashed and in fact this oversight was reported in the news). Once this was completed, the plane lifted off and turned to fly south across the Bay of Bengal and around the tip of India... then turned northwest over the Arabian Sea enroute to Iran. The plane was subsequently landed at Gonbad-e Qabus airport (also underconstruction) in the north eastern section of Iran.

    The hostages were moved to a remote prison to be held indefinitely.

    The plane was stripped of all Malaysian air identification and paint. It was then repainted to the specs of an Turkish Airlines 777 plane. The plane was retrofitted with military grade electronics (including electronic countermeasures (ECM) and radar warning (RWR) systems, chaff/flare dispensers; all pulled from a retired F14 Tomcat based in Iran from 2003). Additionally, the jet was equipped and armed with a fully operational nuclear bomb from Iran's now functional nuclear weapons program using the 240 pounds of 84% enriched Uranium from Natanz. This device was expected to produce a yield of 22 kiloton (40% bigger than Little Boy) and have an effective blast radius of 4.5 miles.

    Only April 14th, the Islamists bribed a local official at Trabzon (TZX) Turkey to enable the swapping of the Turkish Airlines TK 2837 airplane with the nuke equipped 777 that will now utilize the transponder from 2837.

    The plane departed TZX and skipped the scheduled landing in IST. Upon arriving near JFK, the plane's transponder was turned off and rapidly descended to 5000 feet with ECM activated... The FAA repeated the same mistake from 9-11 and doesn't notify NORAD about this anomoly as they investigated the details of the missing flight TK 2837. The plane turned southwest and proceeded across Philadelphia and towards the ultimate destination of Washington DC, where 4 F16's are scrambled from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base.

  • by Clueless Moron (548336) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @10:41AM (#46492423)

    Vessel Monitoring System. [wikipedia.org]

    They are required to have these tracking devices by NOAA in the USA. The boats have to pay huge fines if they stray outside their allowed zones and are not allowed to fish without out. If you've ever watched "Deadliest Catch", those boats all have one.

    These devices regularly report the vessel's position via satellite and have internal batteries and no "off" switch. If you do remove power, the device immediately reports it as a power loss event and you have some explaining to do. If you block the GPS antenna it reports that too and again you have some explaining to do. All events are queued internally in flash so they will eventually be sent. If a vessel is not heard from for awhile NOAA all hell breaks loose since the assumption is that it has sunk, so it's in the vessel operator's interest to leave the damn thing alone.

    These devices are quite small, use very little power, and the data throughput is tiny. It boggles my mind that airplanes don't have something equivalent.

  • Re:Three thoughts... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Albanach (527650) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @10:42AM (#46492431) Homepage

    Surely the transmission range to a satellite is the same when you're at 35,000 feet whether or not you're above water? REI will sell you a satellite beacon that can ping your coordinates as often as every 2.5 minutes and costs less than $100 with a $99 per year subscription fee for the Immersat service.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @11:12AM (#46492641)
    A fishing trawler has sufficient range to reach the east coast of the USA and deliver the nuke in a suicide strike.
  • by qubex (206736) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @11:33AM (#46492833) Homepage

    That’s a valid (and fairly chilling) reference, but insofar as the two tracking systems/transponders were deactivated at different times and deliberately it seems quite obvious that nothing of a sudden or accidental nature occurred - at least not at the outset of the episode. Of course something catastrophic or at the very least final must have occurred later on because well aeroplanes don’t stay aloft indefinitely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2014 @11:41AM (#46492891)

    Even if we find the jet the voice record has been erased since it's looped over the most interesting part: the takeover.

    This may have been intended: ditch in deep ocean, and CVR is erased if found anyway.

    Also: if the flight lasted hours, why didn't the passengers rebel or at least call on airplane phones like for flight 93?
    Where they incapacited on purpose? (Dump the oxygen while pilot dons a mask)

    Finally why didn't the emergency locators activate when the plane hit the ground/ocean? I heard no theories on this.

  • Re:does it add up? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mikael (484) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @12:34PM (#46493295)

    Climb to 45000 feet, depressurize the plane, kill off the passengers, land the plane somewhere, and you've got a nice delivery vehicle for something explosive.

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