MH370, flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, has gone missing.

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Not much to say other than it doesn't look good. Probably the worst air crash in over a decade, and it happened on one of the safest planes in the world. The reddit thread is a good place for updates. The latest is that Vietnamese authorities may have detected its transmitter 120 miles south west of Ca Mau province, putting it in the water roughly along its flight path.

edit: News of the detection by Vietnamese authorities may not be true.

And so far still no news. Damn. I actually didn't think this was possible.

Still nothing? Wow, that does seem impossible to me.

So far this is all eerily similar to Air France flight 447, where it also took a day or two for anyone to find evidence of the crash. Here's hoping that this has a happier outcome, though at this point it seems pretty unlikely :/

The Guardian has a good live blog providing updates. Oil slicks consistent with a plane crash may have been found in the water.

What is so mystifying is how catastrophic the communications failure was. All electronics failed seemingly instantaneously? And unlike Air France 447, they were flying in good weather. I flew that route once and my wife did countless times.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

What is so mystifying is how catastrophic the communications failure was. All electronics failed seemingly instantaneously?

I can easily guess at a number of failure modes that could cause a sudden loss like that. True, there's going to be multiple redundant systems that should preclude common-mode failures that take them all out, but even the best engineered system has vulnerabilities, and even a fully independant redundant system is susceptible to the long-shot of co-incidental failures striking simultaneously.

Terrorism aside, my first guess would be catastrophic structural failure, or an uncontained loss of a fan blade i.e. the engine sheds a fan blade, which exits the nacelle and strikes either the fuselage or the wing, which can rupture fuel tanks (with the obvious explosion risk) or sever electrical or hydraulic lines.

Yeah, as someone who flies a lot I know it's not that dangerous but stuff like this... yeesh.

At first this didn't really pay much attention to this, but now it's starting to become really scary.

It's pretty crazy in this day and age how little detail we have.

I wonder if this a test of new bombs? Al Quaeda has used SE Asia as a testbed before, and one of their goals was to put planes down in deep water to increase the terror and confusion. The stolen passports worry me.

Such a sad event.

alexjg42 wrote:

At first this didn't really pay much attention to this, but now it's starting to become really scary.

For what it's worth, remember that literally tens of thousands of flights have happened since you first heard about this, and nobody's talking about those. The media prospers via eyeballs, and they get eyeballs by making things that are far away, and completely disconnected from your life, seem real, pressing, and dangerous. You see this with every tragedy: they try to make it personal, like it happened next door, and I think we really do internalize these terrible things as being something that happened to people we know, not to strangers halfway around the world.

Further, we fear plane crashes more than many forms of disaster, because there's nothing we can do; all we can do is sit there and hope the pilot figures it out. This makes it seem even scarier, though of course pilots get a huge amount of training, and are typically very, VERY good. If I start to get worried on a plane, I remind myself of that... the guy or gal up in the cockpit is truly an expert, far better than I ever could be, and they want to get home safe, too.

We're in a very great deal more danger driving to and from the airport than we are in the air. But we have the illusion of control there, so we're not as scared as we should be, especially considering our relative lack of skill. We should be worried in the car, not in the air, but nearly all of us get it exactly backward.

Still hard to say if this means anything, but the tickets purchased by those holding the stolen passports appear to have been purchased together. Some unconfirmed reports of a third stolen passport as well.

Malor wrote:
alexjg42 wrote:

At first this didn't really pay much attention to this, but now it's starting to become really scary.

For what it's worth, remember that literally tens of thousands of flights have happened since you first heard about this, and nobody's talking about those. The media prospers via eyeballs, and they get eyeballs by making things that are far away, and completely disconnected from your life, seem real, pressing, and dangerous. You see this with every tragedy: they try to make it personal, like it happened next door, and I think we really do internalize these terrible things as being something that happened to people we know, not to strangers halfway around the world.

Further, we fear plane crashes more than many forms of disaster, because there's nothing we can do; all we can do is sit there and hope the pilot figures it out. This makes it seem even scarier, though of course pilots get a huge amount of training, and are typically very, VERY good. If I start to get worried on a plane, I remind myself of that... the guy or gal up in the cockpit is truly an expert, far better than I ever could be, and they want to get home safe, too.

We're in a very great deal more danger driving to and from the airport than we are in the air. But we have the illusion of control there, so we're not as scared as we should be, especially considering our relative lack of skill. We should be worried in the car, not in the air, but nearly all of us get it exactly backward.

It's not the plane crash that scares me, it's the details emerging that I find spooky.

Ah, sorry, I misunderstood.

alexjg42 wrote:

It's not the plane crash that scares me, it's the details emerging that I find spooky.

So, I'm not seeing the spookiness in there. Not trying to be combative, just curious.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary, for a plane crash. Incidents over water are notoriously difficult to decipher, because the evidence sinks without trace.

Jonman wrote:
alexjg42 wrote:

It's not the plane crash that scares me, it's the details emerging that I find spooky.

So, I'm not seeing the spookiness in there. Not trying to be combative, just curious.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary, for a plane crash. Incidents over water are notoriously difficult to decipher, because the evidence sinks without trace.

The bit about two people on the plane with stolen passports gives credence to the idea foul play may be at work.

In the 1990's, Al Queda had a group out of the same general area that was planning to drop upwards of 10 large American bound jetliners in the Pacific simultaneously. While that plot failed for various reasons, I doubt they've given up on it. This may be a test of a new technique; or, it could be an anti-Chinese act of terror.

The reason I'm skeptical of mechanical or electronic failures is that it's unlikely - not impossible - to lose everything so quickly as to prevent any signals from getting out in a rapid descent from 35,000 feet. Also, it happened not long after the plane finished it's climb-out, which is usually when the passengers are released to move around if they want. That's suggestive.

garion333 wrote:
Jonman wrote:
alexjg42 wrote:

It's not the plane crash that scares me, it's the details emerging that I find spooky.

So, I'm not seeing the spookiness in there. Not trying to be combative, just curious.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary, for a plane crash. Incidents over water are notoriously difficult to decipher, because the evidence sinks without trace.

The bit about two people on the plane with stolen passports gives credence to the idea foul play may be at work.

Pretty much what garion333 said and adding to that everything that Chairman_Mao has informed us about.

I would think that of all of the places to kick a hornet's nest, China is the last country you want to provoke through terrorism.

garion333 wrote:
Jonman wrote:
alexjg42 wrote:

It's not the plane crash that scares me, it's the details emerging that I find spooky.

So, I'm not seeing the spookiness in there. Not trying to be combative, just curious.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary, for a plane crash. Incidents over water are notoriously difficult to decipher, because the evidence sinks without trace.

The bit about two people on the plane with stolen passports gives credence to the idea foul play may be at work.

Thing is, there are millions of stolen passports out there, being used for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with terrorism. (Drug smuggling, human smuggling, illegal immigration...) For instance, from this BBC article: "When an Air India plane crashed in Mangalore in 2010 en route from Dubai, with the loss of 158 lives, as many [as] 10 fraudulent passports were recovered." The fact that a couple of people were travelling together on stolen passports doesn't mean much.

Add to that:

A) Nobody's found any traces of the wreckage yet. If it blew up in midair, then there should be a widely-spread debris field, with enough pieces floating far enough that something would have been found by now. That suggests the plane was still in one piece when it hit the water, which suggests some sort of control failure rather than a bomb..

B) Nobody's claimed responsibility yet. The point of a terror act, generally speaking, is to advance the political goals of the perpetrators, and there's not much profit in an act of terrorism that everybody thinks was an an accident.

So while terrorism certainly can't be ruled out yet, there's really not a lot of evidence to support it over all the other possibilities. We just don't know enough at this point to make meaningful guesses.

The oil patches they found were traced to a ship and not actually connected with the airplane.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Still hard to say if this means anything, but the tickets purchased by those holding the stolen passports appear to have been purchased together. Some unconfirmed reports of a third stolen passport as well.

Apparently there's an Iranian connection to this but the link was to a financial times article so I can't read the full thing.

Benjaporn Krutnait, owner of the Grand Horizon travel agency in Pattaya, Thailand, said the Iranian, a long-term business contact who she knew only as “Mr Ali”, first asked her to book cheap tickets to Europe for the two men on March 1. Ms Benjaporn initially reserved one of the men on a Qatar Airways flight and the other on Etihad.

But the tickets expired when Ms Benjaporn did not hear back from Mr Ali. When he contacted her again on Thursday, she rebooked the men on the Malaysia Airlines flight through Beijing because it was the cheapest available. Ms Benjaporn booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines via a code share arrangement.

A friend of Mr Ali paid Ms Benjaporn cash for the tickets, she said, adding that it was quite common for people to book tickets in Pattaya through middle men such as Mr Ali, who then take a commission.

Dixie_Flatline wrote:

A) Nobody's found any traces of the wreckage yet. If it blew up in midair, then there should be a widely-spread debris field, with enough pieces floating far enough that something would have been found by now. That suggests the plane was still in one piece when it hit the water, which suggests some sort of control failure rather than a bomb..

B) Nobody's claimed responsibility yet. The point of a terror act, generally speaking, is to advance the political goals of the perpetrators, and there's not much profit in an act of terrorism that everybody thinks was an an accident.

So while terrorism certainly can't be ruled out yet, there's really not a lot of evidence to support it over all the other possibilities. We just don't know enough at this point to make meaningful guesses.

I know I'm certainly not thinking it's a bomb. More likely they got into the cockpit and pushed down on the controls. Of course, I'm assuming their planes haven't been fitted with locked cabins, etc.

And the point about stolen passports is valid, but it doesn't exactly clear up the fact that they could be used for nefarious purposes.

But, yeah, you'd expect a group to jump forward if it were terrorism.

If it blew up at 35000 feet,I think the debris field would be extremely vast and almost impossible to spot, which one of the officials said as well. If it hit the water fast enough, the surface tension is as hard concrete, and debris would be much easier to find.

At least one of those stolen passports was held by a 19-year old Iranian kid flying to meet his mother in Germany so he could seek asylum there. No terrorism link there.

Also, a useful site dedicated to debunking some of the more overheated theories floating around.

Missing Malaysian plane 'flew off course for an hour at low altitude'

This, according to two senior Malaysian military officials--maybe you wanted to mention this earlier? The Malaysian government is doing a terrible job releasing information.

You know, at this point, if the Malaysian government showed up with airplane debris, I wouldn't believe it was that flight until they'd checked the serial numbers.

From the BBC:

Mr Hussein also denied a report in the Wall Street Journal that the plane had sent engine data to the ground for more than four hours after it lost contact with air traffic control.

He said that his team had spoken to Malaysian Airlines and Rolls-Royce, the engine's manufacturers, who both said the report was "inaccurate".

"The last transmission from the aircraft was at 01:07 which indicated that everything was normal," Mr Hussein said.

I dunno what's going on here, but something is deeply weird. I'm sure the WSJ had a good source, so why would that suddenly be denied?

This is starting to feel like an active coverup of some kind.

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