Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 seemingly vanished into thin air over a month ago, proving once again that truth is often stranger than fiction.
Also proven once again is the relentless optimism of searchers who, despite lead after lead and hope after hope being crushed, continue their diligent and professional work in their search for Flight 370.
Of course at this point, any new optimism must drag with it a heavy load of caution, but new “pings”, hopefully from the lost Malaysia Airlines jet, have been heard and are being pursued.
CBS News reports two new “pings” detected by Ocean Shield, an Australian ship that has been searching for Flight 370. The signals may be being emitted from one of the Malaysia Airliner’s black boxes and the Australian official overseeing the search, Angus Houston, is hopeful that these latest “pings” might finally lead to Flight 370’s location.
“I’m now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future,” said Houston at a news conference in Perth. “But we haven’t found it yet, because this is a very challenging business.”
Two other “pings” from the same area last week are also believed to potentially be signs from Flight 370. At the same time, one search official reportedly said that if they’re searching for a needle in a haystack, they believe that they have now at least found the haystack.
“I believe we are searching in the right area,” said Houston. “But we need to visually identify aircraft wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of (Flight 370).”
The Chicago Tribune reports that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it disappeared March 8th. A chaotic search involving several countries ensued and ultimately has lead to the conclusion that the Malaysia Airliner inexplicably flew thousands of miles off its Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing route and crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Time has been critical throughout the search for Flight 370, the batteries which would power any signals to searchers, expected to last only 30 days. That deadline is now past.
As for what actually happened to Flight 370, authorities can only speculate. Some evidence points to the plane being taken over and diverted by someone that knew what they were doing, while mechanical problems and evasive actions by the pilots to save the plane can’t be ruled out.
The closest estimate investigators have been able to draw from satellite data is that Flight 370 went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean around 1,400 miles off the coast of Perth.
Not all agree with this conclusion, however.
One of them is Sarah Bajc, partner of Philip Wood who was a passenger on Flight 370. A text and picture believed to be sent by Wood 10 days after Flight 370 disappeared originated from an island, Diego Garcia, out in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Bajc spoke with CNN‘s Erin Burnett Tuesday night:
“I think the general perception amongst the families is that the timing of these pings is awfully coincidental with the batteries wearing out,” said Bajc. “So all of us pretty well agree that until there is the bulk of the plane and the bulk of the bodies discovered and a black box intact, we won’t believe that it’s final evidence.”
Bajc reaffirmed her belief that the plane is still “intact,” saying, “I still believe it because there isn’t any evidence to the contrary. And actually, most of the circumstantial evidence I believe points towards an abduction of this plane… I don’t know why and I don’t know by who, but I’m convinced that that plane was taken by somebody.”
If Bajc is correct, hopefully the passengers of Flight 370 can be found soon.
If not, hopefully the latest “pings” will give answers to Bajc, and others, about what really happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Image via Bing