Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Vanished: Malaysia Airlines flight MH370’s baffling mystery

Cabin crews of Vietnam Air Force are seen onboard a flying AN-26 Soviet made aircraft during a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane. (AP) Cabin crews of Vietnam Air Force are seen onboard a flying AN-26 Soviet made aircraft during a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane. (AP)
Written by Y P Rajesh | Posted: March 16, 2014 12:37 am | Updated: March 16, 2014 9:08 am

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been called one of the most baffling mysteries in modern aviation. How can a plane disappear in this age of total connectivity? Not entirely impossible, writes YP Rajesh

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”

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An anguished, anonymous reader took to repeating the words of American TV series creator Rod Serling, the man behind the 1959 science fiction-fantasy show The Twilight Zone, in his response to the befuddling theories in a US newspaper report about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Elsewhere, an international aviation safety expert put it more simply: It seems like the perfect murder, but without the body.

The truth, perhaps, lies somewhere in between. But for now, it has been called one of the most baffling mysteries in modern aviation. And the most critical question being posed to try and unravel the mystery: how could an ultra-modern plane with state-of-the-art communication equipment in this day and age of hyperconnectivity simply disappear without a trace and not be found for days?

Theories abound, but first the facts.

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The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200ER, a wide-bodied long-range jet that first flew in the late 1990s and had more than 400 planes in service as of mid-2013. It has an almost squeaky clean safety record for any commercial aircraft in service.

MH370 was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew. It took off from the Malaysian capital at 12.40 am on March 8, flying in a northeasterly direction. It was last registered on Malaysian air traffic control radar just before 1.30 am, a little after it had crossed the Malaysian peninsula, and was flying at 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Thailand.

Until then, there was no sign of any trouble with the flight and the weather in the region was fine. “All right, good night,” one of continued…

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