Tag Archives: Flight 370

Enough of the plane coverage already!

Gosh, this is hard to admit, but Leonard Pitts Jr.’s column is on target: CNN is overdosing on the plight of the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner.


I tune in to CNN to catch on the latest headlines and breaking news. The problem with the news network, though, is that it has redefined “breaking news” to include any tiny tidbit about an on-going story that doesn’t break any new ground.

CNN’s commentators have been among the worst in trying to determine the fate of the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It now appears to have crashed into the Indian Ocean somewhere off the western Australia coast. An international search team has deployed an unmanned submersible vehicle to look for the wreckage on the ocean floor.

But for the past month, CNN has been speculating out loud about the plane’s fate. “Experts” have actually suggested it was hijacked by someone and landed safely, or that it crashed on the Asian mainland in a forest so dense that no one can spot it.

The all-time best question, though, came from CNN anchor Don Lemon, who wondered out loud whether the plane might have flown into a black hole. Someone reminded him that a black hole would have swallowed the entire solar system … so that theory is out.

My heart breaks for the families of those who wonder about the fate of the 239 people on board the still-missing jetliner.

This incessant reporting — and repeating, actually — of what we already know, however, is getting to be too much for me to handle.

As Leonard Pitts writes in an open letter to CNN: “Granted, the missing jetliner is not an unimportant story. But neither is it a story deserving of the kind of round-the-clock-man-on-the-moon-war-is-over-presidential-assassination coverage you have given it.”

Tell us when you have something new to report.

Closure may be at hand

Could this be it?

A Chinese warship that has joined the intensive search for Malaysian Air Flight MH 370 has detected a signal from the floor of the Indian Ocean. Authorities say the signal is being broadcast on a frequency used by flight data recorders.


There might be — quite possibly — a good chance that the end of a gripping mystery is about to arrive.

The vessel has detected the “pinger” signal about 1,000 west of Perth, Australia. The idea now is to locate the precise origin of the signal, which the ships gathered across the ocean are able to do.

Meanwhile, the families of those lost aboard the flight await word.

I can vouch for their anxiety in the month since the plane disappeared after it took off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing. My family and I went through something like this once ourselves many years ago. The family members’ minds and hearts have been playing cruel tricks on them as they wait for any word at all about the fate of the 239 people on board the Boeing 777.

As cruel as one’s mind can become in times like these, perhaps the worst cruelty has been perpetrated by those who have suggested out loud that the plane didn’t crash at all, that it was hijacked and spirited away somewhere.

Let us hope that — finally — searchers can find the precise source of the signal they’ve heard, can retrieve that recorder and reveal to the world precisely what happened aboard that doomed airplane.

Change in sign-off adds to confusion

Faith in the Malaysian government’s ability to communicate clearly what might have happened to a still-missing Boeing 777 jetliner might be about to vanish into thin air.

Consider this: The government now has changed its findings into what allegedly was said aboard the Malaysian Air Flight 370 moments before it went silent and then apparently crashed into the Indian Ocean.


Someone on the flight deck had supposedly said “All right, good night” on March 8. Not so, says the government, which issued a statement Monday that said the more formal final sign off was, “Good night Malaysian three seven zero.”

Why is this important?

From where I sit, if the government cannot get straight something so simple and declarative as the crew’s final message — which had been received by the control tower in Kuala Lumpur — then its ability to transmit any information to the grieving families and the rest of the world is now in serious doubt.

Malaysian authorities have been pounded by critics over the way it has handled this tragic event. It notified family members via text message that the plane likely was lost and that all 239 people aboard were “lost.” They have been slow to inform China — given that two-thirds of the people aboard MH 370 were Chinese nationals — of the progress of the search, which has angered the government in Beijing. They changed the search area to a spot 700 miles north of where they thought the plane went down, saying that it traveled faster than earlier thought, burned fuel more quickly and went down sooner than they had thought.

Now this.

Satellite pictures have indicated possible debris from the aircraft southwest of Perth, Australia. Several nations have deployed sophisticated equipment and trained personnel to look for the jetliner. They’re trying to locate the flight data recorder by listening for “pings” that authorities now believe may cease in a few days when the batteries expire.

Meanwhile, all this stumble-bumming around has created a climate for crackpot conspiracy theories that do nothing but add to waiting family members’ unimaginable grief.

Time is running out.

Search narrows; conclusion near?

They’re narrowing the search area in the southern Indian Ocean where it is believed Malaysia Air Flight MH 370 went down.

Does that mean an end to the nightmarish uncertainty that breaks the hearts of those awaiting word of their loved ones’ fate?

Let us pray it is so.


Without a conclusive discovery of wreckage that will lead searchers to the bottom of the ocean where they would locate the bulk of what’s left of the Boeing 777, conspiracies are going to run wild. They do no one any good.

This search has captivated the world. It has involved a multi-national team of oceanographers, aviators, sailors, scientists, politicians and anyone with any semblance of expertise on these matters. The Malaysian government will have to explain to the world why it informed loved ones via text message that the 239 passengers and crew aboard MH 370 likely are “gone.”

The mystery, captivating as it is, has brought sheer agony to many loved ones.

The ocean today reportedly is calmer. Satellite pictures are revealing more sightings of possible debris. Air crews have laid eyes on what they believe is wreckage.

Let there be a conclusion to this agony.

Finding 'black box' must be Job One

One must conclude now that the search for the missing jetliner and its 239 passengers and crew has to center on the black box, the flight data recorder that likely is lying deep below the surface of the southern Indian Ocean.

If searchers find the recorder, they’ll be able to retrieve it and gather all the information necessary to determine what happened to Flight 370 as it left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 8.


All the theories about hijacking seem to have been discounted now. What we don’t know is why the plane turned sharply off course shortly after leaving Malaysia en route to Beijing. Nor do we know whether someone purposely took the plane far south, whether it ran out of fuel, whether the Boeing 777 dived steeply into the water or whether it glided into the water, broke apart and sank.

We don’t know what happened on the flight deck moments before communication was lost. We don’t know whether a struggle occurred or whether the two-man flight deck crew simply decided to end it all right then.

The world awaits the fate of the individuals on board, along with those they left behind.

The satellite pictures of those two objects spotted 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia don’t tell us much. They might have sunk by now, leaving searchers with no visual clues with which to work.

This, folks, is one gigantic aviation mystery.

They’ll be talking about it for many years — even after they find that flight data recorder. They’d better find it soon. The batteries are running out. When they die, the “ping” stops.

Then what?

Let's end Flight 370 hijacking theory nonsense

I cannot help but think of the families, friends and loved ones of 239 individuals.

These are the people most affected by the ongoing tragedy surrounding Malaysian Air Flight 370. The plane disappeared March 8 after it took off from Kuala Lumpur. Search crews now are looking for something spotted from a satellite; the sighting is about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

Meanwhile, some talking heads have thrown out idiotic theories about what happened to that airplane. A few of more idiotic notions — such as one offered on Fox News by retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerny — suggest the plane was hijacked, taken to some secret location and is being “weaponized” to do some horrific damage to some unknown target.

All the while, those who are awaiting word of their loved ones’ fate sit in shock. They are grief-stricken. They are confused. They are hanging on to any tiny nugget of hope that those who are lost will be found — alive. They know in their heads that possibility is virtually zero. Yet they cling desperately absent any proof that what the satellite saw is wreckage from Flight 370.

Can’t we put a cork on the nonsense theories that have been kicked around, if only for a little while we the authorities go about the grueling task of searching and finding what’s left of the aircraft?

Once they locate the wreckage, it’s a near certainty they’ll find the flight data recorder aboard the ship somewhere at the bottom of the ocean. Once they do, they’ll know the truth, all of it — and those loved ones will have the closure they seek.

Let's stop the hijacking theory on Flight 370

Let’s clear the air right now.

Malaysian Air Flight 370 was not hijacked and flown to some remote location where no man has been. I keep hearing that thesis kicked around on cable news shows from so-called “experts.”

Allow me this brief primer on why I think the hijacking theory is bogus.

Hijackers take planes for one reason: to gain publicity for whatever cause they want to promote. It could be merely for themselves. But, hey, that’s a cause too.

The Boeing 777 disappeared 10 days ago. If someone had hijacked the bird and its 239 passengers and crew, we would know it by now. Heck, we would have known about it the moment it landed. That’s how hijackers do it.

The second reason the hijacking theory is bogus is that even though the satellite technology so far has failed to find any sign of the plane, you need to land these birds on land. To do that you are necessarily going to fly through radar grids that will detect them. Some control tower on Planet Earth would know where the plane has landed and that information would be made public the moment it touched down.

This mystery is deep, baffling, maddening and it is terribly tragic for the families awaiting news of their loved ones aboard Flight 370.

The hijacking theory, though, needs to be dismissed as the joke it has become.

Theories abound over Flight 370 fate

Everyone seems to have a theory about what happened to Malaysian Air Flight 370.

With those theories, the emotions of those most intimately involved — the family members and other loved ones of the 239 people aboard the jetliner — are pulled and pushed in every direction imaginable.

My heart breaks for those who are waiting for some sign, any sign, of the fate of those on board the Boeing 777.


Was the plane hijacked?

Did someone on board sabotage the aircraft?

Did the plane lose cabin pressure and fly on for hours before crashing?

Did the Triple Seven crash into the ocean, into the jungle, the Himalayas … where?

Is it sitting on a remote airfield in the middle of nowhere?

All these theories are being kicked around on various print and broadcast media.

No matter how this story turns out, there will be some serious questions to ask the authorities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where Flight 370 originated en route to Beijing, China.

I don’t know, nor will I dare predict, how it will end. It well might be that the plane crashed somewhere and it’s just taking the world an inordinately long time to detect the wreckage. It well might be a cut-and-dried mechanical failure of some sort.

You can rest assured, though, that everyone who proclaims some expertise on airline safety will venture ideas, theories and recommended solutions.

This story is going to remain on our conscience for a very long time after searchers find the airplane — intact or in pieces.

Meantime, let’s pray for strength for the loved ones who must endure this torture.

Flight 370, where are you?

The ongoing search for a missing Boeing 777 has become just about the strangest story I’ve ever heard.


A jetliner takes off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. It flies less than an hour then radio and radar contact is lost. The assumption is that the plane crashed into the Gulf of Thailand. The search begins for wreckage. None is found. Not only that, no one can account for why the plane lost contact. There was no may-day signal sent out.

Now it seems that everyone on the planet has theories about what happened to Malaysia Air Flight 370 and the 239 people on board.

My goodness, this story is giving me a serious headache.

The loved ones of those aboard need closure but authorities are now more confused than ever about the fate of the plane.

* If it plunged into the ocean at 500 mph, it would have broken up and something would have floated to the surface. Those “flotation devices” the passengers sit on would be seen.

* If it crashed on land satellites could have seen the wreckage from space. Lord knows Earth orbit has enough surveillance craft circling the globe.

* If someone deliberately turned off the transponder tracking signal, then for whom is that individual working?

* If someone hijacked the airplane and landed it in, say, Pakistan or Afghanistan, how does someone keep secret the presence of a massive transcontinental jetliner?

* Doesn’t someone almost always take “credit” for hijacking an airplane?

The hijacking theory is starting to get some traction from “experts” who claim to know such things. Of all the theories out there, the hijacking seems the least plausible. “They could have landed it in the middle of nowhere,” a colleague told me this morning. My response was that there really is no such thing these days as the “middle of nowhere.” Technology enables the entire planet to be seen by someone.

The U.S. Navy has joined the search, along with ships from India, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Air crews from the United States and China are looking over many tens of thousands of square miles of territory — over land and water alike.

This mystery is deepening and is getting downright scary.

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.