Okay, I said earlier that I would not write about the Great Missing Jet mystery as long as everyone else knew everything I know. While I still don't have any scoops, I do have an observation.
has published the usual compilation piece about those crazy conspiracy theorists and what they've said about this event. Some of these scenarios are indeed quite loopy and fully deserving of ridicule. (Keep an eye on conspiracist Angela Stalcup. She's fun.) At the end, readers who want saner theories are directed to read this NPR article
Problem: That article, published a couple of days ago, now seems almost as wrongheaded as the crap we've heard from the UFO buffs and Illuminati-spotters.
If there was a minor mechanical failure — or even something more serious like the shutdown of both of the plane's engines — the pilots likely would have had time to radio for help. The lack of a call "suggests something very sudden and very violent happened," said William Waldock, who teaches accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.
It initially appears that there was either an abrupt breakup of the plane or something that led it into a quick, steep dive. Some experts even suggested an act of terrorism or a pilot purposely crashing the jet.
"Either you had a catastrophic event that tore the airplane apart, or you had a criminal act," said Scott Hamilton, managing director of aviation consultancy Leeham Co. "It was so quick and they didn't radio."
Yeah, but investigators now believe that it wasn't
quick. A ping from the engine suggests that the jet flew for hours
after its final contact with controllers.
Malaysian authorities believe they have several "pings" from the airliner's service data system, known as ACARS, transmitted to satellites in the four to five hours after the last transponder signal, suggesting the plane flew to the Indian Ocean, a senior U.S. official told CNN. That information combined with known radar data and knowledge of fuel range leads officials to believe the plane may have made it to that ocean, which is in the opposite direction of the plane's original route.
"There is probably a significant likelihood" that the aircraft is now on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the official said, citing information Malaysia has shared with the United States.
If it flew for hours, why no contact?
What a world. The non-wacky official explanations can be just as untenable as the wacko theories.