Mystery flight

Like everyone else in the world I’m fascinated by the story of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. With every passing day the mystery deepens. If the lives of so many people were not at stake it would be a fascinating puzzle. It’s more than that though, possibly something darker, almost certainly something more tragic – we just don’t know.

There must have been hundreds of thousands of conversations about this in the office, bars and dining rooms around the world in the last week. I know I’ve accounted for about 20 of those conversations, which in fact are more aptly described as speculations. One friend conjectured that an alien hijacking was as good a theory as any. Tongue in cheek I suggested it might be the work of Spectre, much like we would see in the James Bond movies of the sixties and seventies.

Of course the reality that it crashed was always the simplest and most likely outcome, regardless of any evidence supporting. Strangely as the days have gone by that has become less obvious. I know I’ve expected every day the news that debris had been spotted and the black box recorder located. Instead the news has become more twisted by the hour.

As it stands right now it appears the jet was hijacked, though by whom and for what purpose is unknown. We know it changed course radically, and that it reportedly descended to 5,000 feet to avoid radar (many of the reports are contradictory and vague, and subject to question). By all reports transponders and communication equipment were turned off. But what’s happened since?

The easy speculation is that it crashed or was ditched into the sea by the hijackers. Unless it was pure accident that seems unlikely. Why would the hijackers go to such extravagant lengths to secure the plane if they were only going to ditch it into the sea? If it crashed, should we have found some debris somewhere? In any case, wouldn’t the organisation responsible for this have made themselves known by now? Hijacking a plane without telling anyone about it seems a bit beside the point.

The alternative is that it landed somewhere, meaning therefore that the 240 passengers on board survived that long at least. It seems amazing to think that the jet might be sitting on some undiscovered tarmac somewhere. That sounds like something from Capricorn One, weirdly unlikely, but… Once more though, if that’s the case why no news – what are they waiting for?

It truly is a mystery straight out of The Twilight Zone. It’s amazing to think that we may never learn the truth. Whatever that might be you have to think all on board the plane have most likely perished.

In this day and age it’s surprising to find how easily a big plane can disappear with nary a trace. In a way it’s reassuring. I’m one of those people who rail against omnipresent surveillance and tracking. I want my privacy. Apparently it can still exist.

The other interesting question to come out of this is how Malaysia will change. For a lot of years Malaysia has flown under the radar (no pun meant, but apt). That’s suited the Malaysian government, which is generally paternalistic, and democratic only in as much as it suits. Corruption is not uncommon, and ineptitude generally met with a shrug of the shoulders – not surprising in a country when the best man is unlikely to get the job unless he is Malay.

Suddenly Malaysia is under the spotlight. In the harsh glare over the last week much has been exposed to the world. That matters little except in as much Malaysians themselves become aware of it. I’ve no doubt that the Malaysian government will be keeping a lid on much that is happening, especially the bits that reflect badly on them. I suspect if the rank and file of the Malaysian people saw what the rest of the world is now seeing that there may be a substantial shift in sentiment. It’s easy to be boss in your own back-yard, but tougher when the neighbours over the fence start making comments and pointing out the flaws in your system.

There’s a fair bit yet to be played out in this story yet. Fascinating to ponder how it might turn out. I wouldn’t be surprised if in fact this was something aimed at the Malaysian government – but then maybe I’m reading too much into this.

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