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  • Malaysia Airlines loses contact with plane en route to Beijing with 239 aboard




    A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 239 people en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is missing, the airline confirmed.

    The Boeing 777-200 aircraft had 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members on board, the airline said in a statement. The passengers were of 13 different nationalities.

    "Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew," the airlines' group chief executive officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said in a statement. "Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support."

    [....]

    Flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. Saturday local time, according to a statement from the airline. Air traffic control in Subang lost contact with it two hours later.

    It was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. the same day.

    Malaysia Airlines said search and rescue teams had been activated.







    Not good.
    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

  • #2
    FWIW, it's 11:21 AM Saturday right now in Beijing, so the flight is not quite five hours late. And it's been missing for about eight hours and forty minutes.
    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

    Comment


    • #3
      Shoot. Prayers for the passengers and crew.
      Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
      Robert Southwell, S.J.

      Comment


      • #4
        How does that happen? I mean... huh?

        ~Dallas

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dallas View Post
          How does that happen? I mean... huh?

          ~Dallas
          Sadly, the greatest likelihood is that the plane either broke up in the air (could be anything from a Lockerbie-style bomb to a massive mechanical failure) or else it lost altitude to a point that it dropped off radar (which isn't designed to pick up planes below about 500 feet at the best) and eventually crashed into ... something: a mountain, the Gulf of Tonkin, whatever.

          It's at least theoretically possible that the plane was hijacked and the hijackers turned off the transponders and flew the plane off to somewhere else and landed it there. The trick with that is that: a.) a 777 is a big plane, so they couldn't really just land it somewhere without being noticed, and; b.) while they fill the plane with a sizable amount of extra fuel for the given trip, it's pretty unlikely that they had more than a couple of hours' worth of operational time in the tanks, and there aren't many places they could have gone with a runway that long within that range.
          It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
          In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
          Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
          Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

          Comment


          • #6
            This thing gets stranger and stranger.

            I'm sure by now everyone has heard that there were a couple of stolen passports used to board the plane. This morning, we have identities of the people who used those passports, two Iranians, whom Interpol is insisting aren't terrorists, but instead are seeking asylum in Germany.

            Of course, this does not in any way explain why two guys seeking to escape from Iran would go to Kuala Lumpur for an indeterminate length of time, and then, already free from the Iranian authorities anyway, use fake passports to board a plane to go to China, and then to Germany. These guys needed a better travel agent, I guess, because Luftwaffe has daily non-stop service between Frankfurt and Theran. They did this the very, very hard way.

            And, despite days of being told that the plane was absolutely flying normally, there was no indication of anything possibly being wrong whatsoever, today we're finding out that "no indication anything was wrong" means that a plane that loses a lot of altitude and basically completely reverses course for an hour and apparently no one even noticed before.

            "It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait," the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.
            That's a rather important piece of information.


            In addition this being a very dramatically different narrative from what the world has been told since Friday night, this also has the important implication of meaning that all those boats out looking for signs of the plane are actually looking in entirely the wrong body of water. That's kinda important.
            It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
            In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
            Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
            Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

            Comment


            • #7
              Missing airliner may have flown on for 7 hours

              KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that a missing passenger jet was steered off course after its communications systems were intentionally disabled and could have potentially flown for seven additional hours.
              In the most comprehensive account to date of the plane’s fate, Najib drew an ominous picture of what happened aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, saying investigators had determined there was “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”
              Najib said the investigation had “refocused” to look at the crew and passengers. A Malaysia Airlines representative, speaking to relatives of passengers in Beijing, said the Malaysian government had opened a criminal investigation into the plane’s disappearance.
              (See: New map shows possible search corridors for the Malaysia Airlines flight.)
              The plane’s whereabouts remain unknown one week after it disappeared from civilian radar shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur. But Najib, citing newly analyzed satellite data, said the plane could have last made contact anywhere along one of two corridors: one stretching from northern Thailand toward the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, the other, more southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the remote Indian Ocean.
              U.S. officials previously said they believed the plane could have remained in the air for several extra hours, and Najib said Saturday that the flight was still communicating with satellites until 8:11 a.m. — 7 ½ hours after takeoff, and more than 90 minutes after it was due in Beijing. There was no further communication with the plane after that time, Najib said. If the plane was still in the air, it would have been nearing its fuel limit.
              “Due to the type of satellite data,” Najib said, “we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.”
              A U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation on Friday said the only thing the satellite can tell is how much it would need to adjust its antenna to get the strongest signal from the plane. It cannot provide the plane’s exact position or which direction it flew, just how far the plane is, roughly, from the last good data-transmission location when the digital datalink system was actually sending data up to the satellite.
              The U.S. official said the search area is somewhere along the arc or circumference of a circle with a diameter of thousands of miles.
              The new leads about the plane’s end point, though ambiguous, have drastically changed a search operation involving more than a dozen nations. Malaysia on Saturday said that efforts would be terminated in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, the spot where the plane first disappeared from civilian radar.
              Malaysian authorities are now likely to look for help from other countries in Southeast and South Asia, seeking mysterious or unidentified readings that their radar systems might have picked up.

              Link
              Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
              Robert Southwell, S.J.

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting....

                With no trace of Beijing-bound flight MH370 after nine days, one of several theories that has emerged is that the plane was hijacked to Iran, where it could be turned into a massive and devastating weapon. Two Iranian passengers are known to have been aboard, travelling on false passports. While Israeli officials did not confirm any suspicions regarding Iran, experts said it is not a stretch to point the finger at Israel's middle east nemesis.

                “My guess is based upon the stolen passports, and I believe Iran was involved [in the disappearance of the plane],” Issac Yeffet, formerly a global security expert for Israel’s national airline El Al told today’s Times of Israel. “They hijacked the aircraft and they landed it in a place that nobody can see or find it.”

                [....]

                Yarden said it is possible such a huge aircraft could have flown thousands of miles undetected.

                “Yes. It is possible to fly as low as the pilot is able,” Yarden confirmed. “When you switch off the transponder no civil controller can see you. In 9/11 the pilots switched off the transponders and no one saw them. It is not like military radar which sends electromagnetic pulses that receives back the echo via antenna.”

                “In this extraordinary case any theory might be the right theory,” Yarden concluded. “No one knows what’s happened.”
                On its face, this sounds pretty tinfoily.

                But then I started looking at it a bit more, and maybe it's not quite so tinfoily after all.

                We know that the original destination was Beijing. Based upon the charted flight plan, the originally-planned flight distance was basically 3000 miles. When airlines prepare for a flight, they load a plane with enough fuel to go the planned distance based upon the estimated take-off weight of the plane, plus a bit more as a "fudge factor." The idea is that a plane lands at its destination it's nearly empty of fuel, but with enough "reserve" that if they have to circle due to a landing delay or divert to another airport, there's enough to make sure that they don't run out of fuel.

                We also know that the plane was powered on for at least seven hours after the last voice transmission, based upon the satellite "pings" once per hour. Now, it's possible that some or all of those "pings" occurred when the plane was on the ground but still had power, either "plugged in" at an airport or running the APU (or, theoretically, with the engines running but at low enough speed to not push the plane forward, though that seems rather illogical). No matter how the electronics had power, we know that they did have electrical power.

                Cruising speed for a 777 is .83 or .84 mach, or roughly 620 MPH. So, in the course of seven hours, it would be possible for a 777 to travel roughly 4350 miles.

                Now take a look at this:



                What's at that blue dot on the left?



                That's an airport just east of the Iran/Pakistan border on the Gulf of Oman. The runway length is two and a half miles. A fully-loaded 777 (maximum take-off weight) technically needs about a one-mile runway to land. This plane had a lot of empty seats and would have had relatively little fuel, so clearly two and a half miles is plenty of runway to land this plane.

                In fact, I think that 777s already use this runway. Parked on an apron just off the runway:



                I'm not certain that's a 777, but it sure looks like one.



                So, what sounded originally pretty tinfoily to me suddenly seems a lot more plausible. Risky, but plausible.
                • Plane takes off, gets up to cruising altitude in about 45 minutes or so.
                • Two Iranian dudes breach cockpit, possibly armed (it seems clear that Malaysian airport security is less than optimal).
                • Hijackers force pilots to change course, turn off transponders, etc., and makes the co-pilot give the "sign-off" to Malaysian ATC.
                • A struggle ensues in the cockpit, explaining the sudden climb in altitude, then steep decline.
                • Then someone regains control of the plane and flies it in such a fashion that it avoids radar.
                • They take the plane out over the Indian Ocean, around the southern tip of India, over the Maldives (where Indian radar is turned off overnight), and then proceeds to land at Chah Bahar, running on fumes. The pilot/co-pilot have no choice but to land the plane there because otherwise they are going to run out of fuel over the Indian Ocean.
                • The Iranian government then does whatever they're going to do with the plane. And the passengers/crew.



                It's a lot of things that have to happen properly, I admit. But I don't think it's really outside the realm of possibility. It explains a whole lot, actually.

                Buy your stock in Alcoa now.
                It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Adam View Post
                  That's an airport just east of the Iran/Pakistan border on the Gulf of Oman.
                  I was pretty tired last night. That clearly should be "west of the Iran/Pakistan border." East of that border would be in Pakistan, not Iran.
                  It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                  In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                  Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                  Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Australian PM says possible sighting of debris.

                    A bajillion stories from different stories. Short version: they've found satellite images that may be debris, and air and naval assets are converging on a spot a long, long way off of the Australian west coast.
                    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So it turns out that all of that searching on the floor of the Indian Ocean was for naught: it turns out that they probably weren't from "black boxes" at all. So we're left with one of the largest searches in the history of aviation, at the very least, that has yet to yield any evidence of a 777 crashing into the ocean. NONE. Think about that for a moment: even in the most controlled "crash" into water that anyone alive today has known about, a USAirways Airbus setting down in the Hudson River, there were significant amounts of debris, oil, etc. floating for days and weeks, with stuff washing up on shore for months after the fact, and there was no break-up of that plane at all. Seat cushions, foam insulation, all sorts of stuff turned up for ages. In the case of MH370, NOTHING has turned up. Nothing. Not even a baseball-sized piece of foam insulation or a seat cushion. No pings from any sort of electronics aboard after the "crash," despite the very tip-top of US military technology trying to find something actively banging away on the ocean floor. These are the same people who can pretty much listen to whispers on a North Korean submarine from half an ocean away, but they never heard something actively trying to get someone's attention on the ocean floor.

                      I'm very rapidly becoming more convinced that this plane did indeed go to Iran.
                      It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                      In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                      Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                      Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Interesting. Well, we'll never know if some evidence does show up. It wouldn't be politically correct.
                        "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Adam View Post
                          So it turns out that all of that searching on the floor of the Indian Ocean was for naught: it turns out that they probably weren't from "black boxes" at all. So we're left with one of the largest searches in the history of aviation, at the very least, that has yet to yield any evidence of a 777 crashing into the ocean. NONE. Think about that for a moment: even in the most controlled "crash" into water that anyone alive today has known about, a USAirways Airbus setting down in the Hudson River, there were significant amounts of debris, oil, etc. floating for days and weeks, with stuff washing up on shore for months after the fact, and there was no break-up of that plane at all. Seat cushions, foam insulation, all sorts of stuff turned up for ages. In the case of MH370, NOTHING has turned up. Nothing. Not even a baseball-sized piece of foam insulation or a seat cushion. No pings from any sort of electronics aboard after the "crash," despite the very tip-top of US military technology trying to find something actively banging away on the ocean floor. These are the same people who can pretty much listen to whispers on a North Korean submarine from half an ocean away, but they never heard something actively trying to get someone's attention on the ocean floor.

                          I'm very rapidly becoming more convinced that this plane did indeed go to Iran.
                          The Hudson River area is microscopic compared to the Indian Ocean area where the plane went down. That said, I'm surprised there isn't some sort of alternative tracking system on airplanes. Lo-Jack is less than $20 per month. Let's put something like that on airplanes.
                          "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
                          -John Locke

                          "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
                          -Newman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As a friend of mine said, some time back.....

                            "If that plane had been filled with Americans... we would know where it is by now...."
                            Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
                            and lost …
                            But the Republicans are racist.

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