The two month mark approaches and few signs have led investigators to any new evidence on where missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have crashed. With ever more directions in which to point the blame, a former Malaysian Prime Minister has called for manufacturer Boeing to face consequences for the plane’s disappearance.
In a column in the Malay Mail, former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad responds to the recent detention of Malaysian Airlines employees by Chinese relatives of the passengers of Flight 370, insisting that the relatives have taken to targeting the wrong people. “The loss of the plane is due to the makers Boeing,” he writes, insisting that the plane’s security measures were clearly insufficient, as it was able to disappear from radar.
Mahathir insists several times that the flight crew must have been “incapacitated” in some way, and that, even if the pilot sought to commit suicide, the rest of the flight crew would have intervened if they could. He does not delve into whether investigators should be seeking answers for how the crew and passengers could have been disabled on a massive scale; instead, he calls for Boeing to explain why they “[built] an aircraft that can disappear in mid-air so completely.”
The former Prime Minister also appears skeptical of the search itself, though much less obviously so than he appears skeptical of Boeing’s technology. He questions whether it is possible for the plane to have “remained intact on crashing and sank with no trace and no one launching the lifeboat doors,” questioning, by saying “we are told” the lifeboat doors exist, whether Boeing placed lifeboats in the plane at all. “Can one believe this plane quietly floated down into the raging sea and sank conveniently in the deepest part (seven miles deep) of the Indian Ocean?” he asks rhetorically.
“Either Boeing technology is poor or it is not fail-safe,” Mahathir writes, “I would not like to fly in Boeing aircraft unless Boeing can explain how all its system can fail or be disabled.”
Boeing, an American company, has already been targeted for lawsuits by a relative of one of the passengers in Chicago, and could be the target of class action lawsuits in the United States over the missing plane. Without any wreckage, however, it is near impossible to determine whether the plane’s disappearance was a result of mechanical error. Boeing has not responded to Mahathir’s editorial.
Investigators recently expanded the search area for the plane once again, after several voyages to the ocean floor by underwater drone Bluefin-21 uncovered no new evidence that the plane crashed in the southeastern Indian Ocean. In a press conference last week, investigators noted that they were willing to consider revisiting other alternatives than the one that concludes the plane’s voyage ended hundreds of miles off the coast of Perth, Australia, including the possibility that the plane landed somewhere.
In a visit to Kuala Lumpur this week, President Obama praised the Malaysian government for their “tireless” work in searching for the missing plane, noting that the Malaysian government had been “forthcoming” with the information they had received to the United States search teams.