What in the world happened to that jetliner?

You know, I always had thought that the Age of Instant Communication and Surveillance meant that no one could disappear off the face of the planet without a trace.

I must have been delusional.

Witness the search for Malaysian Air Flight 370, which did exactly that about a week ago.


The plane took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, en route to Beijing. Then it vanished.

The family and friends of 239 passengers and crew are grief-stricken. Everyone’s heart is broken for them and one only wishes for closure, for some clue as to the fate of those people.

How, though, does a plane vanish like that? What am I missing?

The Malaysians are now being forced to defend their search for the Boeing 777, which is a mighty big airship. The world is getting mixed messages daily, if not hourly, on what authorities know what happened to the bird.

Did the flight crew reverse direction? Did the crew take the ship sharply west over the Indian Ocean? Did the ship crash on land? Did it plunge into the Gulf of Thailand or into the South China Sea?

And how is it that with all the global positioning system technology — and the radar — available to track these aircraft in flight that this plane has managed to disappear without a trace?

I hear now that people are calling cell phones numbers of the passengers on board — and that the phones are ringing. What? How does that happen? Isn’t there technology that tracks cell phone locations?

This tragic story might develop into the greatest aviation mystery since, oh, Amelia Earhart’s disappearance — in 1937.