Flight MH370 not only took a sharp left turn, possibly a U-turn, after it lost communications with the ground, the missing Malaysia Airlines plane plunged to 12,000 feet and kept flying at that low altitude until the flight ended, most likely in disaster.
The new information about the Flight MH370 altitude drop was reported by CNN Sunday night, based on data given to the network by a military source, just hours before Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that investigators are now sure the Malaysia Airlines plane crashed into a desolate region of the Indian Ocean and there were no survivors.
Razak Announcement Leaves Questions Unanswered
The Inquisitr had a full report on Razak’s tragic announcement earlier this morning. His news is, of course, devastating for relatives of the missing — and for the world, which has been watching the Flight MH370 tragedy unfold in slow and frustrating fashion over the past 16 days.
But the mystery remains. How and why did the Kuala Lumpur to Beijng flight end up thousands of miles off of its route, headed nowhere toward China or even toward Malaysia, but in a trajectory for the South Pole?
On-Board Catastrophe, Not Criminal Act, Now Seen As More Likely
Experts told CNN that the new information about the Flight MH370 drop to 12,000 feet —which comes from military radar data, the network’s report said — seems to indicate that there was some sort of on-board emergency, such as a fire or an explosion or something else catastrophic, that caused the pilots to make the sharp turn back.
The possibility that the plane was diverted as the result of some kind of criminal act — which has been a major focus of the Flight MH370 investigation for at least the past week — now seems less likely, the experts told CNN. But no possibilities can yet be ruled out.
CNN‘s own aviation analyst called the altitude-drop news “a game changer.”
“Now we have no evidence the crew did anything wrong,” Miles O’Brien said Sunday. “And in fact, now, we should be operating with the primary assumption being that something bad happened to that plane shortly after they said good night.”
Former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo agreed.
“This scenario would fit what a pilot would do in the event of a catastrophic on-board event, such as a rapid decompression, a fire, an explosion,”” she explained. “That’s what you would have to do, descend, get down and turn around and try to get back to an airport that could accommodate an ailing plane.”
Sudden Drop In Cabin Pressure Could Cause Pilots To Fly Low
By flying at 12,000 feet, the pilots may have been compensating for a sudden drop in cabin pressure, which at 35,000 feet would kill everyone on board but at a much lower altitude would be survivable.
Or the the Flight MH370 pilots could have been trying to avoid other planes as they flew along a heavily trafficked corridor, hoping to make it to Langkawi International Airport in Malaysia, the nearest airport with a landing strip long enough to accommodate a Boeing 777-200.
The plane did not land and Langkawi, however, and from what investigators apparently now believe and based on Razak’s announcement Monday morning, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continued in the air heading south for thousands more miles until, possibly running out of fuel, it ditched in the Indian Ocean.