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Andrew Godden

Malaysia Airlines 777-200ER Missing In Flight

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A developing situation with a Malaysia Airlines 777-200ER, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, MH370, losing radar and radio contact with ATC.  Contact was lost approximately two hours into the flight, over the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam.  There was a total of 239 people on board, 227 passengers and 12 crew.

 

Unconfirmed reports from the Vietnamese Navy state the aircraft crashed into the South China Sea off the coast of South Vietnam.  Other reports of the aircraft landing in southern China are untrue.

 

The nationalities of the passengers is predominantly Chinese (153), but also includes Malaysians (38), Indonesians (7), Australians (6), Indians (5), and Americans (4) amongst others.

 

The Captain has 33 years with the airline and has 18,365 flying hours whilst the First Officer has been with the airline for seven years and has 2,763 flying hours.

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Lots of speculation by so called experts on our news channels, as you say, it's developing news.

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Stolen European Passports on Missing Plane

 

http://news.yahoo.com/stolen-european-passports-missing-plane-150519884.html;_ylt=AwrBEiJtMxtTYW8AUjTQtDMD

 

Two passports, one Italian and one Austrian, both stolen in Thailand over the last year, are reported to have been used by pax aboard this flight. Engaging in some of that speculation that some dislike, this raises the possibility of terrorism.

 

John

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Stolen European Passports on Missing Plane

http://news.yahoo.com/stolen-european-passports-missing-plane-150519884.html;_ylt=AwrBEiJtMxtTYW8AUjTQtDMD

Two passports, one Italian and one Austrian, both stolen in Thailand over the last year, are reported to have been used by pax aboard this flight. Engaging in some of that speculation that some dislike, this raises the possibility of terrorism.

John

 

That's worrying John, there has been several attacks in China. There was a knife attack at a train station not long ago, 29 people dead? 

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Yes, that knife attack (final toll was 33 dead, I think) was by "Muslim separatists", i.e. terrorists. Most of the news media reporting suppressed the "Muslim" part.

 

The recorders are going to be pretty interesting if and when they are recovered.

 

John

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Any air crash is a horrible thing to hear about, I feel for all the everyone involved. I hope they find something to give some sort of closure to all those families.   

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This one is beginning to look strangely....strange. There has been no debris identified even though it's in an area where there are oil/gas rigs and thousands of small fishing boats at work. The water is fairly shallow, less than 100m. There is at least one report of a military radar (doesn't say whose) that reported a "turnback" and was using primary return, not transponder data. There is beginning to be some speculation that there may have been a successful hijack and diversion to somewhere. By all accounts there should have been about 5-6 hours of fuel remaining at that point. If taken, a 777 can fly a long way on that much go-juice. All very soft and fuzzy so far but the lack of debris a few hours into daylight of the second day in a pretty heavily fished area seems a bit puzzling.

 

There have been no eyewitness reports of a "fireball" even though the WX was clear and there were following AC and lots of eyeballs on the water. That doesn't mean the crews were looking outside or the fishermen were star-gazing but it seems as if conditions were ideal for someone to have seen something.

 

That doesn't square too well with a catastrophic event at cruise altitude, too quick for communications. I suppose that could happen without a fireball, but would expect one. Any other scenario would have offered the opportunity for a Mayday. Debris, if found will be telling.

 

The two hour flight time is wrong - contact was lost at ToC, a little less than an hour from takeoff. The area is between Malaysia and the south tip of Vietnam, slightly closer to Malaysia, in the Gulf of Thailand. IF the area is correct, recovery of the recorders should be relatively easy.

 

John

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It's all very strange, I know that part of the world quite well having been there a lot in the navy,  It is a pretty busy sea area so anything untoward would have been spotted. The fact that no Mayday call was sent out seems to indicate a catastrophic failure of some sort as a mere engine failure would have given the crew plenty of time to send out a distress call. If it was a terrorist attack then it's possible that the flight crew had been killed before they could transmit anything. Either way I think it will be some time before we know anything. In the meantime our thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved in the tragedy.

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Nothing there that looks like debris to me. The oil slicks have pretty much been discredited as either algae blooms, coral spawn or heavier oil types - jet fuel only produces a light, rainbow effect sheen; none of that seen.

 

One photo of a square white object with a hole in the middle taken from a Vietnamese search AC (not on this site) has been determined not to be from a 777.

 

There's nothing yet that convinces me there is any credible report of wreckage found.

 

John

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If it didn't crash, then where the hell did it go, you can't hide several hundred tons of airliner without someone noticing it ! And it wasn't fitted with a cloaking device so that rules out Klingon or Romulan abduction. It was last seen at 35,000 ft and if it came down under control it would have been seen by various radars.  :wacko2:

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You have to wonder, even with the transponder off, it would be hard to fly a 777 under the radar.

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No debris yet. It's obviously down somewhere. If there's no debris where they're looking, they're in the wrong place.

 

One POSSIBILITY is a successful hijack, rapid, controlled descent and low level flight to who-knows-where. ADS-B in the area is supposedly blind below about 30,000', so not inconceivable to get from 35,000' to < FL300 in a minute or so. (ADS-B data via FR24 has provided the most credible ground track of the flight so far...)

 

At the end of the fuel or before, it comes down, controlled or otherwise, on a runway or otherwise, in one piece or otherwise, but not where the searchers are searching. It's all kind of far fetched, but so is the thought of it breaking up at 35,000' over thousands of fishing boats and a few dozen oil rigs and large ships and nobody finding one scrap of identifiable wreckage after 2-1/2 days. I saw a reference to a couple of dozen search AC (daylight only) and over 40 surface search vessels. WX is near-perfect. Surface currents are fairly low there, reported ~ 0.1 m/s. If that crew is not seeing anything, it seems likely they're in the wrong place. I'm not saying this is what actually happened, just that nothing so far has ruled it out and with two stolen passports aboard, something is fishy.

 

John

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Something does feel wrong with this one.

 

Many are comparing it to the Air France crash over the Atlantic, but unlike that one this bird was, as far as I can understand, with in radio coverage with ATC when it disappeared, so a Mayday would have been heard. So unless the plane just disintegrated in midflight that sort of rules out a mechanical failure in my mind. 

 

The info on the two stolen passports, and some reports of a third passenger on the manifest being alive and kicking in China does raise a couple of red flags too...

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I flew the route on the sim last night, from 35,000 ft you can actually see the tip of Vietnam and the coast of Malaysia, that aircraft was in sight of land throughout the crossing of the South China Sea. Someone MUST have seen something, you cannot lose a dirty great aircraft like that.

 

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And I read another report today speculating on catastrophic failure / disintegration being the reason for the lack of a debris field.  I can't remember such an instance where complete vapourisation occurred with a 305,000 lb aircraft.

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Very unusual for the 777 with it's proven track record (The SanFran is down to pilot error).  If it is maybe terrorism, then contact from a terror group would have been made by now. 

 

What ever has happened was immediate as no mayday was made, maybe that could be explained by a 100% full electrical failure and rapid decent.  An electrical fault could result in, no transponder contact, losing course direction, etc.,

 

Maybe it will be found hundreds of miles off course as time goes forward. 

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New tidbits... the two tickets purchased for the stolen passport users were arranged by an "...Iranian business contact..." of the travel agency where they were purchased, paid for in cash, supposedly for two clients looking for cheap flights to Europe. Earlier tickets on different flights for the two were not picked up and were cancelled. The later set of tickets, the ones used for this flight, had onward destinations in Europe, via Amsterdam, one to Frankfurt, one to Copenhagen. No clue whether there was any intent to actually fly onward or not. Having an onward ticket permits a traveler to transit China with a passport only, no visa required, so if there was nefarious intent, the onward tickets may have been a ruse to avoid the need for Chinese visas.

 

The terminal video shows the holder of the Italian passport to be black.

 

There's a report of a large debris field about 50 NM off the coast of Vietnam, approx. SE of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). No confirmation of that yet.

 

There's some speculation of an explosive decompression (structural failure, collision with something, bomb) that affected the transponder or that the crew accidentally turned off the transponder while in the final throes of hypoxia and the plane flew onward for a while, perhaps still on autopilot, more or less on the original flight plan path before coming unglued or coming down off the Vietnam coast - or somewhere else if this latest debris field doesn't pan out. It's as plausible as anything else right now.

 

It's clear the transponder signal went away about at waypoint IGARI where a flight path turn was supposed to occur. The last credible data point indicates that the track changed from the 25 degree course to IGARI to 40 degrees, but not all the way to the 65 degrees called for in the flight plan to proceed to BITOD.

 

The ADS-B tracking and SSR lost contact at that point and that single data point indicating a 40 degree track may have just caught the turn in progress.

There may have been skin paint registering/recorded on military PSR in the area but if so, no one is going public with that information, no doubt at least in part because of not wanting to reveal details of their system's capability.

 

Interestinger and interestinger...

 

John

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Or as the King of Siam was once heard to say, "Is Much Puzzlement!"   (you need to be of a certain age to know that quote!)

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I'm beginning to wonder i that aircraft has come down on the Vietnam mainland an no-ones saying anything. Whole batallions got lost in that country 40 years ago! It hasn't changed that much.

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I've just read that most all of Vietnam south of Ho Chi Minh City has been pretty much stripped of trees and is one vast rice paddy, populated heavily enough that a crashed airliner is not going to go unreported. I'm sure that further north and west things are more wooded, rural and sparsely populated. If it made it that far, or to some other heavily enjungled place, what you propose is as plausible as anything else that's been suggested.

 

Another possibility is that it was accidently brought down by someone's military (e.g. missile, fighter intercept, accidental collision with a UAV or a shadowing aircraft) and they are not too keen on fessing up to it. "Face" is everything in that part of the world and no government is going to willingly admit to having egg on its face.

 

John

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