. By T.V. Antony Raj.
Boeing 777-200ER Malaysia AL (MAS) 9M-MRO, the missing aircraft (Source: Laurent ERRERA from L’Union, France)
On Saturday, March 8, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at 00:21 MST (March 7, 16:21 UTC) with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board. It was a scheduled six-hour flight to Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, China. This international passenger flight operated by a Boeing 777-200ER was also designated under a codeshare agreement as China Southern Airlines Flight 748 (CZ748).
Fliight path of Malaysia Airlines MH370 (Source – Sailsbystars)
At 07:24 MST, Malaysia Airlines issued a media statement confirming that the aircraft was last seen on Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar at 02:40 MST (March 7, 18:40 UTC) at 6°55′15″N 103°34′43″E, approximately 100 miles (180 km) North of Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. After that the aircraft ceased all communications, and the transponder signal was lost just before it was to be passed off to the Ho Chi Minh Area Control Center in Vietnam. Authorities in Thailand and China informed their Malaysian counterparts that the aircraft had not entered their airspace.
According to the military radar of Malaysia’s air force, the aircraft might have changed course and turned back toward Kuala Lumpur before disappearing and officials don’t know why the plane would have turned around. The pilots didn’t tell ATC that they were doing so.
Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, pilot of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (Source: beforeitsnews.com)
Fariq Abdul Hamid, First officer of Flight MH370. (Source: beforeitsnews.com)
Malaysia Airlines said the 12 missing crew members on the flight were Malaysian. The plane’s pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old has been with the airline for over 30 years, and the plane’s first officer Fariq Hamid, a 27-year-old joined the airline in 2007.
Malaysia Airlines said the plane’s pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old who has been with the airline for over 30 years, and the plane’s first officer Fariq Hamid, a 27-year-old who joined the airline in 2007 are Malaysians.
Of the 227 passengers on board, there were 154 from China and Taiwan, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French, three from the U.S., and others from Indonesia, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Austria, Italy, and the Netherlands. Among the passengers were a delegation of respected painters and calligraphers, employees of an American semiconductor company, a group of Buddhists returning from a religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur, a three-generation family, nine senior travelers and five children less than five years old.
What puzzles all is the fact that before vanishing from the radar screens the aircraft did not relay any distress signal, or convey any indications of bad weather or technical problems; and it was carrying a sufficient amount of fuel for an additional 7.5 hours of flight.
The Aviation Herald website reported that Subang Air Traffic Control lost radar and radio contact with the aircraft at 01:22 MST and officially advised Malaysia Airlines at 02:40 MST that the aircraft was missing. But, a Malaysia Airlines spokesperson said that the last conversation between the flight crew and air traffic control in Malaysia had been around 01:30 MST, and stated that the plane had not disappeared from air traffic control systems in Subang until 02:40 MST, which is long enough for the plane to have been flying across Vietnam.
The ATC requested another Malaysia Airlines flight, en route to Japan that took off about half an hour ahead of MH370, to contact the unresponsive aircraft. The captain established contact with the crew of MH370 just after 01:30 MST, but reported that he could not hear them clearly as they were ‘mumbling’.
A joint search-and-rescue effort by American, Australian, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, and Vietnamese authorities, is now under way mainly over the South China Sea.
On March 8, Vietnamese Navy reported that they located oil slicks in the Gulf of Thailand, about 50 nautical miles (93 km) south of Vietnam’s Thổ Chu Island.
On March 8, Vietnamese Navy reported that they located oil slicks in the Gulf of Thailand, about 50 nautical miles (93 km) south of Vietnam’s Thổ Chu Island. One oil slick, was between 6 and 12 miles (10 – 20 km) long. A Vietnamese Civil Aviation Department aircraft spotted two large oil slicks that authorities suspect might be from the MAS jetliner. The slicks, each between 6 and 9 miles (10 – 15 km) long and 500 meters apart, were spotted 140 nautical miles (260 km) south of the Thổ Chu Island off southern Vietnam.
On March 9, Vietnamese aircraft spotted what they suspected was one of the doors belonging to the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 off southern Vietnam. Since it was too dark to ascertain whether the object was part of the missing plane, they decided to investigate the site in the morning. However, on Monday, Vietnamese officials said that they had not been able to locate the object spotted on Sunday that was thought to be part of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane.
Officials are now investigating the possibility of a midair disintegration.
How did this aircraft with with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board disappear without any trace? In the following video Aviation expert David Gleave explains how a plane can ‘vanish’ off radar and what clues investigators will be looking for in the search for the missing plane and the mystery deepens.
This disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 without a trace reminds me of the Bermuda Triangle, The Devil’s Sea, and the vile vortices where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, is an undefined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
The Dragon’s Triangle, also known as the Formosa Triangle, and the “Pacific Bermuda Triangle”, is a region of the Pacific around Miyake Island, about 100 km south of Tokyo. The Japanese call it the Ma-no Umi meaning the Devil’s Sea. The Dragon’s Triangle, is one of 12 Vile Vortices, originally plotted by Ivan T. Sanderson. The size and area varies with the reports that originated from the 1950s. Various reports locate it 68 miles (110 km) from an unspecified part of Japan’s east coast, 300 miles (480 km) from the coast, and one report places it near Iwo Jima which is 650 nautical miles (750 miles; 1,200 km) south of mainland Tokyo.
Charles Berlitz, author of books on paranormal phenomena, states in his entertaining book The Dragon’s Triangle (1989) that in the peacetime years between 1952-54 Japan lost five military vessels with over 700 crew members. The Japanese government then sent a research vessel with over 100 scientists on board to study the Devil’s Sea, and that vessel too vanished. According to Berlitz, that sea region was officially declared a danger zone on Japanese maps.
However, in 1995, Larry Kusche published his book “The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved” in which he mentions that the Japanese research vessel that Berlitz mentioned was named Kaiyo Maru No 5. It had a crew of 31 aboard. While investigating the activity of an undersea volcano, Myōjin-shō, about 300 km south of the Devil’s Sea, it was destroyed by an eruption on September 24, 1952. He also stated that the “military vessels” mentioned by Berlitz were fishing vessels lost between April 1949 and October 1953. Some of them were lost outside the Devil’s Sea, far away from the Japanese mainland, between Miyake Island and Iwo Jima, 1200 km to the south. He also points out that hundreds of fishing boats were lost around Japan every year.
The Vile Vortices is a term referring to twelve geographic areas or twelve vertex points of a planetary grid that are alleged by Ivan Sanderson to have been the sites of mysterious disappearances. He identified them in 1972 in an article published in Saga magazine titled “The Twelve Devil’s Graveyards Around the World.”
Ten of Ivan Sanderson’s 12 vortices set at regular intervals around the earth. The North and South Pole account for the 11th and 12th vortices.
Sanderson asserts that twelve “vortices” are situated along particular lines of latitude. The best known of the so-called “vortices” is the Bermuda Triangle. Others include Algerian Megaliths to the south of Timbuktu, the Indus Valley in Pakistan, especially the city of Mohenjo Daro, Hamakulia Volcano in Hawaii, the “Devil’s Sea” near Japan and the South Atlantic Anomaly. Five of the vortices are on the same latitude to the north of the equator; five are on the same latitude to the south. The other two are the north and south poles.
Now, the location where the aircraft was last seen on Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar at 02:40 MST (March 7, 18:40 UTC) was at 6°55′15″N 103°34′43″E, approximately 100 miles (180 km) North of Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. This location is 2,632 nautical miles (3029 miles; 4874 km) from Tokyo (24°47′N 141°19′E), and 2415 nautical miles (2779 miles; 4472 km) from Iwo Jima (24°47′N 141°19′E) and is a bit far away from the Dragon’s Triangle and not near any of Ivan Sanderson’s vile vortices.
So, up to now, the mystery of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 (Flight MH370) continues.