With the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the world holds its collective breath. Where is the plane? What happened to its 239 passengers? Was this terrorism? Mechanical failure? Or something else entirely?
The flight simply vanished sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning during its route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were no reports of turbulence or rough weather, and its last known position had the plane flying at 35,000 feet. According to air traffic controllers in Vietnam, the plane ended contact approximately 120 nautical miles east of Kota Bharu, although it’s possible the plane attempted to turn around before crashing.
Conspiracy theories abound, of course. Whenever a mystery of this magnitude breaks onto the public scene, the temptation to turn an event into an X Files-style investigation goes viral. Here, then, is what we know – the nine weirdest facts associated with this tragically missing flight:
The Plane Probably Sank in Shallow Waters. According to Bloomberg News, the plane “seems most likely to have gone down [in waters] about 50 meters (165 feet) deep.” So why hasn’t it been found? The black boxes have almost undoubtedly survived, and microphones can pick up the automatic pinging that follows on black boxes sinking beneath the water.
The Plane Would Have Been Tracked. According to safety expert Paul Hayes, “One assumes that Malaysian air-defense radars would be watching approaches to their airspace, and they need to be asked to have a look.” The plane did not check in with Vietnamese authorites when it exited Malaysian airspace. The plane also has emergency locator devices aboard, which should have activated upon the plane breaking up.
The Debris Should Have Been Found. It’s certainly odd that no debris from the plane has been found. Hayes says that if the airplane had fallen apart while flying, there would be a huge debris field easy enough to spot. But it’s missing. Reports of a floating door being spotted have been thrown out as inaccurate.
There Were Apparently Iranian Illegals On Board. The BBC has now reported that there were two Iranians on the Malaysia Airlines flight – and that they bought fake passports for purposes of illegal immigration to Europe. More specifically, the two wanted to enter Germany and Denmark, respectively. The two actual passports belonged to 30-year-old Austrian Christian Kozel and 37-year-old Italian Luigi Maraldi. Many observers have speculated that perhaps the two illegally-traveling Iranians may have had terror connections. So far, there has been no evidence that they wanted to do anything illegal other than immigration. The man who booked the tickets for the two men, Kazem Ali, is now being sought by authorities. According to Malaysian civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, one of the men who boarded the plane illegally looked like soccer player Mario Balotelli. Balotelli is black.
Some Passengers Didn’t Get On The Plane. Five passengers who were booked for the flight did not get on the plane. Their luggage was removed beforehand, even though they checked in. The Malaysian government is investigating.
The Chinese Are Pissed. While there are 45 ships and 22 aircraft ranging from Chinese to American searching for the flight, the Chinese government is enraged with Malaysia; that’s because two-thirds of the people aboard the flight were Chinese nationals. The Chinese-run Global Times ran an editorial on Monday stating, “The Malaysian side cannot shirk its responsibilities. The initial response from Malaysia was not swift enough.”
It Could Have Something to Do With Terrorism. Or Drugs. China says that the plane disappearance could be related to terrorism: “The fact that some of the passengers on board were travelling with false passports should serve as a reminder to the whole world that security can never be too tight, at airports in particular, since terrorism, the evil of the world, is still trying to stain human civilisation with the blood of innocent lives.” So far, no terrorist group has claimed credit for the plane going down. Some outlets have speculated that “the passports have been used multiple times after theft by drug smugglers on the same route.”
There Are Conflicting Reports on the Shape of the Aircraft. The aircraft collided with another aircraft while on the ground in 2012 and broke off a wingtip. Nonetheless, the plane was signed off on 10 days ago, according to CEO of Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly Airlines Ignatius Ong. Both pilots were experienced and have flown for the airline for years.
Relatives Say Passenger Cellphones Are Still Online. Relatives have been saying they can call passenger cellphones, which are still online; they say that accounts are still showing up on the Chinese instant messenger service QQ.
So, where is the plane? At this point, it’s anybody’s guess. But as the facts continue to pile up, the case becomes more mysterious, not less.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.