Malaysia’s New Straits Times published a blockbuster report this week that investigators searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may begin to reconsider the possibility that the plane successfully landed, rather than crashing into the Indian Ocean.
The report only cites anonymous sources “within the team that is based in Kuala Lumpur” searching for the plane, which indicates that the new theory might be exclusive to the Malaysian search teams and not shared with other large national coalitions, such as the main search group led by Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston. These sources told the New Straits Times that “they were revisiting… the possibility that the Boeing jetliner had landed somewhere else.”
During the week of March 24, investigators declared officially that the plane’s voyage had “ended in the Indian Ocean,” with no possibility of survivors. The declaration was met with waves of protests from the relatives of passengers onboard, who demanded more evidence that the plane did indeed crash.
“The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370,” the source told the newspaper, though adding that the possibility that the plane was being hidden by a foreign government was “absurd.” At the same time, the New Straits Times notes that the radar data provided by all the countries involved in the search is incomplete, and quotes a source as saying that the information used to narrow the search to the southwestern Indian Ocean was “selective data.”
As the search continues, one source told the paper that investigations using the underwater American drone Bluefin-21 were based entirely on “scientific calculations since day one,” including radar pings alleged to come from a manmade object that matched the frequencies of flight recorders and black boxes. Bluefin-21 has currently undergone nine missions on the ocean floor and found nothing of interest.
In the nearly two months since Flight 370 disappeared, a number of varied theories have surfaced on the whereabouts of the plane. A report that the plane had been spotted by natives in the Maldives–as well as a report from an Australian oil rig worker that the plane flew over him in the direction of the Philippines, have both been discarded. China’s multiple reports of spotting debris in the southwestern Indian Ocean have led nowhere, with the New York Times reporting that China’s efforts have only “frustrated” the search. Malaysian Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim raised the specter of a Malaysian government conspiracy, while Iranian state propaganda blamed the CIA for the plane’s disappearance.
As the plane’s disappearance hits the 45-day mark, relatives of the passengers on Flight 370 begin to explore legal options. CNN reports that American courts do not allow lawyers to reach out to the relatives of plane crash victims until 45 days have passed; as today is Day 46, attorneys are expected to contact relatives and help with legal options in American courts, including potential class action suits against the plane’s American manufacturer, Boeing. The case is significantly hurt in court by the lack of a wreckage site, however, as no evidence can indicate whether mechanical failure prompted the crash–or even if there was a crash at all.