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.
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.
Sixteen days after a Boeing 777 disappeared, the grieving families of the 239 people on board have a semblance of closure.
Finally, it has come.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced today that Flight MH 370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, far from any possible landing sites.
The Malaysia Air flight took off March 8 from Kuala Lumpur, reportedly took a sharp turn to the west and then apparently headed south over the ocean. Flight crews and satellites have spotted debris that searchers think belongs to the jetliner.
Still, theories — legitimate and crackpot — are being bandied about regarding what happened to the jetliner. Searchers hope to obtain the vital information contained in the flight data recorder that lies at the bottom of the ocean. Once they collect that recorder, they’ll learn the truth about what happened to MH 370.
But today’s announcement carries a bit of mystery itself. The Malaysian government reportedly sent — get ready for this — text messages to family members informing them their loved ones are lost and presumed dead.
I’m trying to grasp why the government felt the need to inform these grieving individuals about this tragic outcome in such a seemingly heartless fashion. It’s likely they’ll have to explain that one to an inquiring worldwide community.
But the family members and loved ones now know what they’ve feared all along.
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.