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MISSING 370: What could have happened

Publication Date : 16-03-2014

 

Malaysia has confirmed that someone deliberately changed the course of Flight MH370, which has been missing for over a week. But its fate and location remain unclear.

Here is a look at various scenarios on what could have happened.

Hijacked by the pilots, crew or one or several of the passengers

Investigations are now focused on the 239 people who were on board.

A key question being looked into is whether any of the crew or passengers have expert flying skills. Analysts suggest that only someone with experience and deep knowledge of the plane could have shut down its communications and tracking systems, and divert it to a new path.

Plane landed in a remote unknown area with passengers and crew held hostage

This has not been ruled out, though no group has yet gone public with its demands. It is, however, extremely difficult to conceal a plane as big as the twin-aisle Boeing 777-200ER.

The plane has landed but none of the passengers are alive

If the aircraft was taken to 45,000 ft, which is higher than the usual cruising altitude of 35,000 to 37,000 ft, it is possible the hijackers did so to depressurise the cabin quickly.

Turning off the air conditioning at the same time would have left no survivors except the hijackers, who would have prepared themselves with oxygen masks.

MH370 did in fact crash

That the aircraft was diverted by "deliberate action" does not necessarily mean it has not crashed.

Michael Daniel, a retired United States Federal Aviation Administration official, said: "It's guesswork right now but my own sense is that there is a higher chance it's in the water than land. You would need a landing strip long enough for the Boeing 777-200ER, and someone would have seen it had it landed somewhere."

 

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