Title : Let's Pray for the Missing Aircraft (Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370)

In case some of you have not followed the news recently, on last Saturday (8th of March) a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER carrying a total of 227 passengers and 12 crews has vanished from radar screens on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.


The Airline loses contact with plane between 1-2 hours after takeoff. No distress signal and weather is clear at the time.


Here are the details gathered so far:

8th March (Saturday)

  • Missing plane last has contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.
  • Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam says plane failed to check in as scheduled at 1721 GMT while flying over sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Flight tracking website shows plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from website's tracking records a minute later while still climbing.
  • Malaysia search ships see no sign of wreckage in area where flights last made contact. Vietnam says giant oil slick and column of smoke seen in its waters.
  • Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight, are not in fact on board. They say their passports were stolen. Sunday,

9 March (Sunday)

  • Malaysia Airlines says fears worst and is working with US company that specialises in disaster recovery.
  • Radar indicates flight may have turned back from its scheduled route to Beijing before disappearing.
  • Interpol says at least two passports recorded as lost or stolen in its database were used by passengers, and it is "examining additional suspect passports".
  • Investigators narrow focus of inquiries on possibility plane disintegrated in mid-flight, a source who is involved in the investigations in Malaysia tells Reuters.

10 March (Monday)

  • The United States review of American spy satellite imagery shows no signs of mid-air explosion.
  • As dozens of ships and aircraft from seven countries scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, questions mounted over whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down the Boeing airliner.
  • Hijacking could not be ruled out, said the head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe, adding the missing jet was an "unprecedented aviation mystery".
  • The disappearance of the Malaysian airliner could dent the national carrier's plan to return to profit by end-2014, equity analysts said. Shares in MAS hit a record low on Monday.

11 March (Tuesday)

  • Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble names the two men who boarded jet with stolen passports as Iranians, aged 18 and 29, who had entered Malaysia using their real passports. "The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident," Noble said.
  • Malaysian police chief said the younger man appeared to be an illegal immigrant. His mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with authorities, he said.
  • Malaysian police say they are investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery, along with the possibility of a hijacking, sabotage or mechanical failure.
  • Malaysia's military believes missing jet turned and flew hundreds of kilometres to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a senior officer told Reuters. The jet made it into the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest shipping channels, along Malaysia's west coast, said the officer.
  • A Colorado-based company has put "crowdsourcing" to work in search for a missing jet, enlisting Internet users to comb through satellite images of more than 1,200 square miles (3,200 square km) of open seas for any signs of wreckage.

12 March (Wednesday)

  • The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet expands to an area stretching from China to India, as authorities struggle to answer what had happened to the aircraft that vanished almost five days ago with 239 people on board.


Some Interesting Things that You May or May Not Know!

While we focus on the things that we don’t know about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370,

the tragedy has revealed some important truths. Some of these disconfirm widely held assumptions about the modern world.

So here are some truth that you may or may not know about the missing airplane.

Unwatched Geography

Contrary to public expectations, huge expanses of air and sea space remain largely unwatched and not subject to surveillance. Satellite surveillance capabilities mythologised by movies like Enemy of the State – where fugitives are tracked as they run down streets – really don’t exist. The challenges faced by broad-area surveillance of millions of square kilometres of open ocean and remote desert are immense.

Hiding by not emitting signals

Someone on the MH370 wanted to hide the aircraft’s movements and did so by disabling electronic systems that transmit data. When these systems are turned off, the world’s air-traffic control systems cease to have any use. Mostly, search and rescue efforts are for people who want to be found. A conundrum is what, if anything, can be done to locate aircraft that don’t want to be found?

Ineffective air defence networks

Before MH370 turned west into central Asia or the Southern Ocean, it was flying north-east in some of the world’s most heavily tracked airspace. Some of that journey may have been below the range of radars, but not all. If radars did track the aircraft, it seems that command and control systems did not clearly report it. That should sound alarm bells in south-east Asia.

Better search and rescue (SAR)

No one should minimise the huge difficulties involved in a SAR task like this, but although countries were quick to deploy assets to the search effort, much of this has been wasted due to poor co-ordination and inefficient information sharing. This comes after years of discussion, planning and exercising around improving humanitarian assistance and disaster response in Asia-Pacific forums. The region must take decisive steps towards a more effective crisis response capability.

Big brother is not watching you

The use of stolen passports by two Iranian passengers on flight MH370 points to a much larger problem. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data shows that well over 180,000 Australian passports have been lost or stolen in the past five years. After 9/11 Interpol introduced a world-wide database of lost or stolen passports, now containing details of more than 40 million passports, but Australia has very rarely consulted it. Collecting data is one thing, but using it to good effect to manage security is a vastly more challenging task.

Globalisation makes us one big (unhappy) family

The passenger list of flight MH370 shows 14 nationalities (15 if you count the Iranians travelling on stolen passports) on one largely unremarkable flight in Asia. Travel, trade and telecommunications link the world more closely than ever before, with the result that no crisis is ever truly localised and no border is ever truly closed. The impact of globalisation has spread much faster than the abilities of countries to manage the consequences. 

Terrorism feeds on publicity

To be effective, terrorists need to publicise their crimes to build fear and (in their view) prompt sympathy-building counter-reactions. As such the events surrounding MH370 don’t fit a terrorist pattern. To promote a cause it would be more likely that terrorists would use the aircraft’s communications to broadcast demands, or indeed use the aircraft as a weapon. If terrorists were involved, perhaps they were keeping a tactical silence until reaching a planned destination, but one would expect them to go public at some point.

Human motivation is hard to understand

It is possible that, with persistence, MH370 will be found. It took two years to recover the black box from Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009. But even if the black box is ultimately found from MH370, technology can only go so far in helping us understand human motivation. The final radio communication, “all right, good night”, as MH370 flew into uncharted darkness over central Asia or the southern Indian Ocean, may be the only puzzling insight we ever get into the human causes of this tragedy.

Malaysia flight 370 031014

So all in all, let's all pray for the missing aircraft and the passengers who boarded it.

Referece : Link 1

               Link 2

Credits to Miyanlove for helping me out with this blogpost.