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20 Freescale Semiconductor Employees On Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the nothing-good-about-this dept.

China 190

NeverVotedBush writes with news reported by CNN that a passenger manifest for the flight that went missing on its way from Malaysia to China indicates that "Twenty of the passengers aboard the flight work with Freescale Semiconductor, a company based in Austin, Texas. The company said that 12 of the employees are from Malaysia and eight are from China," and writes "Apparently, at least two passengers used stolen passports to board."

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190 comments

Cargo (2, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | about 4 months ago | (#46438077)

The plane was carrying a cargo of 400 million dollars in Bitcoin. nuff said.

Re:Cargo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438161)

The plane was carrying a cargo of 400 million dollars in Bitcoin. nuff said.

I other news, a LARGE NUMBER of random H1-B "employees" - but look, not American citizens - actually had moving violations and paid fines last year.

WOW!

No American aboard ... move along, folks ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438201)

As there is no American aboard that plane, move along, there is nothing to see here ...

Re:No American aboard ... move along, folks ! (2, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#46438213)

As there is no American aboard that plane, move along, there is nothing to see here ...

Not so. There were three Americans in the group of 239 that died on that flight.

The premise of your comment is ignorant.

Re:No American aboard ... move along, folks ! (3, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 4 months ago | (#46438275)

Hold on a sec we don't know if they're dead yet. I mean they could have been abducted by aliens you know.

Re:No American aboard ... move along, folks ! (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#46438375)

No, alien abductions only seem to happen to the most stupid people you ever meet. There were way too many smart people on the plane to have the alien encounter (cause aliens are scared of smart people).

Re:No American aboard ... move along, folks ! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438775)

No, alien abductions only seem to happen to the most stupid people you ever meet. There were way too many smart people on the plane to have the alien encounter (cause aliens are scared of smart people).

Also, all alien encounters seems to be limited to what US government can cover up, the aliens doesn't seem to be interested in the rest of the world.

Re:Cargo (5, Insightful)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#46438781)

And we learned that you can board a plane with passport that was stolen and REPORTED stolen on an airplane, as long as you leave your shampoo at home an remove your shoes before boarding.

Re:Cargo (4, Insightful)

gtall (79522) | about 4 months ago | (#46438787)

In Malaysia.

Was there any ACARS data? (5, Informative)

stoploss (2842505) | about 4 months ago | (#46438083)

I watched a documentary about Flight 447 (the Airbus flight that was lost off Brazil) and they mentioned that modern planes send tons of position and other data per flight. Seems the current system is called ACARS [wikipedia.org] .

Anyway, from a probability perspective it seems highly unlikely that a plane would disappear from radar precisely at the time that a data transponder stopped sending position fixes, unless, you know, the plane crashed right there.

I mean, the media makes it sound like the search radius is "flight speed * remaining potential flight time at current fuel burn rate".

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 months ago | (#46438111)

So far there is no debris at all. Thats pretty amazing considered where it was last seen. It either didn't crash, or didn't crash where the search is.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (3, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#46438189)

So far there is no debris at all. Thats pretty amazing considered where it was last seen. It either didn't crash, or didn't crash where the search is.

Not "amazing" at all if the jet was VAPPORIZED by a small thermonuclear device placed on the jet by the same NSA operatives that brought down the Twin Towers.

CO-INKY-DINK?

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 months ago | (#46438211)

Aren't they the same guys who make Steve Guttenberg a star?

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 4 months ago | (#46438745)

Doubtful, they didn't even manage to hold back the Electric Car, and I'm not going to call "Rigged!" on the Oscars just yet...

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46438251)

placed on the jet by the same NSA operatives

lol I love it; used to be everyone thought the CIA was doing things, now it's the NSA. The conspiracy theory has evolved.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (3, Insightful)

Bugamn (1769722) | about 4 months ago | (#46438535)

That's what the CIA wants the commoners to think.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438311)

Does becoming vappor hurt more than becoming vapor? I'm pretty sure it's painless if it happens quick enough, though it's difficult to determine since vappor hasn't been studied.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438361)

Not "amazing" at all if the jet was VAPPORIZED by a small thermonuclear device placed on the jet by the same NSA operatives that brought down the Twin Towers.

CO-INKY-DINK?

wow are there really people this clueless? Using a nuke to destroy a plane...... the world is a very big place and a plane is quite small by comparison even if it crashed exactly where the transponder stopped that a huge search area not to mention sea trenches (which can hide large objects even from low level sweeps) Ocean currents and tidal forces also debris are simple a case of the fact the plane is intact when it went down, there are many many reasons why this can happen that have nothing to with sabotage, 25 - 30 people each day are caught using "fake" passports are those people all terrorists too?

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 4 months ago | (#46438539)

Hand moving above head from front to back.
Whosh

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (4, Insightful)

JustOK (667959) | about 4 months ago | (#46438585)

ACARS doesn't send position data, ADS-B does. The area where this plane went down doesn't have good ADS-B coverage. www.flightradar24 is a good site to learn more.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 months ago | (#46438637)

ADS/CPDLC [nec.com] runs over ACARS and definitely sends position data. Believe me, I used to code this stuff for a living.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (2)

JustOK (667959) | about 4 months ago | (#46438703)

What do you mean, "runs over ACARS"? ADS-B is similar but not the same as ACARS. ACARS is on 131.55 MHz, ADS-B is 1090 MHz, for one.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 4 months ago | (#46438665)

So far there is no debris at all. Thats pretty amazing considered where it was last seen. It either didn't crash, or didn't crash where the search is.

Latest I've heard was that Vietnamese boats found two large oil slicks - but no debris yet...

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 4 months ago | (#46439117)

The last known position was over the ocean.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (4, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#46438139)

It could be more complicated then that.

Suppose an electrical fault cause the loss of coordinate transmission while it also lost navigation and the pilots were forces to fly manually and blindly for a while before they lost all control and the plane crashed. A jets under ideal conditions can glide around 70 or so miles from 35000 feet in the air.

So if the jet lost portions of the planes controls in stages, it could be quite a large search radius from the last known position and it could be close to the limit of the fuel range if they could still control the engines (doubtful as most everything is fly by wire and a catastrophic electronics failure likely would consume that too).

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (4, Insightful)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 4 months ago | (#46438287)

The only problem with the thought of losing portions of the planes controls in stages, the first two or three would have had to have quickly knocked out the transponders, the pilots radio (separate from the transponders) and the backup radio (separate from the transponders and the primary radio) before affecting anything else on the plane that would have caused the pilots to message someone on the ground that bad things were happening. Transponders disappearing usually gets a call from someone on the ground, which the pilots would respond to if they could. Needing to switch to a backup radio will have the pilots letting someone on the ground know in short order. If you assume they lost electrical system power due to total engine failure (which would merit a fairly rapid SOS call as a result), that still wouldn't prevent the ram air turbine from generating the power needed to send a distress call.

It isn't unreasonable to start from an assumption of catastrophic failure of the airframe and start your search on that basis while investigating other possibilities in parallel. It could also be due to a pilot or co-pilot deciding they wanted to take the plane down, however, since the transponder can be disabled from the cockpit (Think Egypt Air MS990, though that was never declared officially to be a pilot suicide), but then the plane would have quickly shown up as a transponder-less blip on multiple radar systems, since that air space is quite well covered along the flight path and to both the south and west. To the north east, it should have been picked up at Con Son, unless it really was under control to head back south east towards Riau Islands. Chances are good, whatever direction it went, including straight down, either the Malaysian or Vietnamese govts. will eventually announce the radar tracks they watched it on, given that the last transponder point had the flight only ~250 km from the closest Malaysian airport (not to mention Malaysian Navy ships out on normal patrols) and about 1/2 of that from a Vietnamese naval base which it would have flown directly over if it had continued on path.

Hmm, just checked Google News for an update. Reported in the last 30 minutes, the Malaysian military is saying the plane appeared to turn back south according to radar.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (2, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#46438325)

An electrical fault would not cause the main systems, the backups, the transponders and the emergency beacons to all simultaneously fail. In fact, in the event of a power failure, a ram air electrical turbine generator drops out of the belly of the plane to provide electrical and hydraulic power. Something catastrophic or something deliberate happened to that plane.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438333)

All modern airlines have a battery backup system in case the APU were to malfunction or some other problem caused main power loss. So many systems would have to independently and simultaneously fail for this to happen. So far no wreckage has been found, just an oil slick. Sounds like whatever happened did so in the air since you would expect a very tight and confined debris pattern had it impacted the water in one piece.

Previous /. story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438607)

I think this may have been mentioned on /., yeah it was [wasn't being sarcastic]

I really do not care about these crashes, so I will stay dumb on this, there were American Pilots that were used to training these Asian Pilots, and they found out these Asian Pilots rely solely on the Auto Fly and really have no idea how to actually fly the damn plane(s)?

Are there still analog instruments on these planes? I think so? So if a fault happens in the planes system they can still relay via radio to the tower, and use the instruments to at least keep themselves in a general direction!

I dont disagree with you, the fact of the 'real' matter is that, this is going to happen when you have unskilled pilots, that freak out because they weren't properly trained to handle these types of situations.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 4 months ago | (#46438167)

Apparently, at least two passengers used stolen passports to board.

Sudden catastrophic decompression could lead to structural collapse of the entire fuselage destroying an aircraft almost instantly. Lack of any distress signal possibly indicates that the pilots did not have enough time to do so . IMHO Investigators should have a careful look at the airport where the boarding took place.

Having said that , The possibility of pilot error or mechanical faliure cannot be completely ruled out at this point.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#46438229)

IMHO Investigators should have a careful look at the airport where the boarding took place

As I live and travel a lot within Asia, I can tell you that many airports in Asia, particularly those in Indonesia and in Malaysia (and also in Thailand) are so lack in any security procedure that any suicide bomber can board a plane easily.

And in Malaysia as well as in Brunei and in Indonesia, I have seen with my own eyes that they let women who cover up their faces passing through checkpoint and boarding planes.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438409)

The stolen passports are of course something to look at but for all we know, it could be quite common in that part of the world and what people seem to forget is that a stolen passport is not an explosive. Heck, if you're a suicide bomber there, you could just as well use your own passport when they don't have TSA type no-fly lists. The fact that no organization has yet claimed responsibility is another reason why i have a hard time suspecting foul play. Many times a bunch of (incompetent) terrorist groups claim responsibility for what is clearly an accident. And then there's the question of what entity wants to target Malaysia or the Malaysian government - it's their flag carrier so that's whom any attack would be considered to be against. Or possibly China considering the substantial number of Chinese passengers and the fact that it was a code share flight with China Southern.

Pilot error is the most common cause so any time when nothing is known about a crash (like now) that's what I would put my money on unless I considered betting on the cause to be in terribly bad taste. Or pilots terribly mishandling a large or small problem - like AF447...

Based on slightly more qualified speculation on pilot forums, a suspect is Boeing's ADIRU since in 2005 a Qantas 777 made a rapid nose dive when the unit "went nuts" due to a software glitch but that has of course been patched long ago. Another suspect is the thrust reversers since the system in the 777 bears some resemblance to the one in the 767, which caused a Lauda Air 767 to completely disintegrate suddenly when the left engine thrust reverser suddenly deployed in the air. But that too was fixed long ago. In the 767 too. Finally, this particular aircraft was involved in a ground collision a few years ago - its wingtip hit the rear of a parked A340 - but based on the pictures of the event, even if the wingtip were to suddenly break off again, it would not make the aircraft completely unflyable. At least not to the vicinity of an airport to attempt an emergency landing. And of course plenty of time to talk to ATC.

Another possibility is of course another Egyptair 990 (pilot suicide) but we already know more about this particular aircrew since Richard Quest flew in the jumpseat with them when making a business travel program for CNN just a week ago and both seemed very, very satisfied with their lives. The captain was an experienced training captain and the copilot in the process of transitioning to the 777 from another Boeing (767 IIRC but I could be wrong).

However, the good thing is that we're likely to get the black boxes a lot sooner than from AF447 since the water is much shallower. Parts of the search area are even "shallow" enough to be within the maximum depth for professional divers (100m).

You gotta understand ... (3, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#46438221)

... from a probability perspective it seems highly unlikely that a plane would disappear from radar precisely at the time that a data transponder stopped sending position fixes, unless, you know, the plane crashed right there ...

You are talking from a perspective of a Western folk who has no idea what is going on in other parts of the world.

The airplane belongs to the Malaysian Airline System (MAS). The plane took off from the KLIA airport, again, of Malaysia. That radar which did the tracking (actually there were 4 radars doing the tracking) were all operated by ... Malaysians.

Furthermore, the pilot and first officer of that plane were from Malaysia.

Everything points to the same thing - Malaysia - a country whereby RACE means everything.

That pilot is a Malay. The first officer is also a Malay. Both of them graduated from MARA college, a college which has produced the kind of graduates that the private sectors of Malaysia do not want to hire.

The reason is simple:

Graduates from the MARA college (now promoted to become a "university") are all from the Malay race (you need to be a Malay before you can enroll into that college, btw) - which essentially means ... MARA takes in people who are NOT qualified to go to college any where else, and award them college degrees even if they can't do anything right.

In such context - your "probability perspective" will never work as the whole thing is so skewed out of whack.

Ignorant ranting is unhelpful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438761)

Yes, Malaysia has a race-based discrimination policy (or affirmative-action, depending on how you see it). I'm a victim of this policy too. But that's not why the plane went down. Malays may be in privileged position but Malaysia Airlines is not. They need to pass ICAO safety standards like any other airline. And Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record.

Please spare us your *Malaysia Boleh* bullshit ! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438813)

Yes, Malaysia has a race-based discrimination policy (or affirmative-action, depending on how you see it). I'm a victim of this policy too. But that's not why the plane went down. Malays may be in privileged position but Malaysia Airlines is not. They need to pass ICAO safety standards like any other airline. And Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record.

The airplanes of Malaysian Airline System were maintained by whom ?

By the Malay technicians, inside Malaysia.

How was the Malaysian Airline System being run, since it split up with Singapore Airline back in 1973?

For the past 40 years since the split up, Singapore Airline (SIA) has been doing great, making profits 38 years out of the 40 years.

On the other hand, the Malaysian Airline System (MAS) has been making LOSSES 35 years out of the same 40 years time span.

You want to talk about safety standards ?

How safe is the airplane when the airline itself has been making HUGE LOSSES 35 out of the 40 years since the split-up ?

How much money do you think MAS allocates for the proper maintenance of their airplanes when all the money has been swallowed up by cronies and the greedy employee union ?

And the fact that MAS has a "good safety record" is not due to MAS --- but due to the INCREDIBLY SAFE PLANES that have been built by both Boeing and Airbus.

Furthermore, the same plane that has gone missing had an accident not that long ago --- ended up with a broken wingtip when it collided with another plane, in Shanghai.

And do you know whose fault was it, in that accident ?

MAS !!

It was the pilot (not the same pilot, but yes, another MALAY pilot) of the Malaysian Airline System plane who was the one causing the accident.

Spare us your *Malaysia Boleh* bullshit, please ! This is Slashdot, not some Malaysia's two-bit umno-run pro-government blog.

Re:You gotta understand ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438779)

The pilot had nearly 30,000 hours of flying experience over a long and distinguished career. The first officer had almost 3,000 hours.

Both absent any safety incidents.

Re:You gotta understand ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46439181)

The pilot had nearly 30,000 hours of flying experience over a long and distinguished career. The first officer had almost 3,000 hours.

There is one thing that you guys do not understand ...

The pilots who were graduates of the MARA college are only employed by two international airlines - One is MAS (the Malaysian Airline System) and the other one is Airasia.

Other than these two airlines, no other airlines in this world want to employ them.

Why ?

Because no one will be stupid enough to hand over the fate of hundreds of flying passengers in the hands of the graduates of the MARA college which produces graduates that the Malaysian private sector itself has steadfastly refuse to employ.

Re:You gotta understand ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438957)

That maybe true but they operated internationally.
I have found that other countries tend to correct nepotism to a degree since they at least have their own standards. Believe it or not as a ham buff I have Tahiland to rely on ACARS in HF VUHF alot since the area is really busy in the sky.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438289)

I just recently saw a documentary (wings of hope) about a plane that crashed in peru and they couldn't see the wreckage through the tree canopy.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438355)

There are plenty of possibilities but in order of probabbility:

a) Transponders turned off (eg hijacked)
b) Loss of power/fire
c) Mid-air explosion, debris would fall straight down in a trajectory of the flight path
d) shot down by North Korea, China, someone else
e) loss of cabin pressure , and the plane was not on autopilot.

Like every scenario is a bad one. If you include absurd notions like alien abductions, it's really a question of how does a plane just disappear. Remember LOST? (the tv show)

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#46439089)

"d) shot down by North Korea, China, someone else"

Since it was nowhere near North Korea I think that can be ruled out. Of course Vietnam or China could have shot it down, but the latter seems unlikely.

I am sure they have boats out analysing the oil slicks that were found tto see if they could be from the plane.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#46438635)

I watched a documentary about Flight 447 (the Airbus flight that was lost off Brazil) and they mentioned that modern planes send tons of position and other data per flight. Seems the current system is called ACARS [wikipedia.org] .

Anyway, from a probability perspective it seems highly unlikely that a plane would disappear from radar precisely at the time that a data transponder stopped sending position fixes, unless, you know, the plane crashed right there.

I mean, the media makes it sound like the search radius is "flight speed * remaining potential flight time at current fuel burn rate".

I'm pretty sure we'll find that this is the "religion of peace" again.

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | about 4 months ago | (#46439119)

Agreed

Re:Was there any ACARS data? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 4 months ago | (#46439109)

Anyway, from a probability perspective it seems highly unlikely that a plane would disappear from radar precisely at the time that a data transponder stopped sending position fixes, unless, you know, the plane crashed right there. I mean, the media makes it sound like the search radius is "flight speed * remaining potential flight time at current fuel burn rate".

My reading is that ACARS updates position only few minutes whereas radar update times is faster. As for search area, the initial search area is where the plane disappeared off the coast of Vietnam. The max search area is based on remaining fuel. It is theoretically possible as the plane may have changed courses. Not probable, but possible.

Thank goodness that we know ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438089)

Thank goodness that we know from almost everyone posting on Slashdot that terrorism against passenger aircraft today is impossible, that there are no terrorists, and that no terrorists are ever arrested and prosecuted. What a relief.

Re:Thank goodness that we know ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438113)

Except of course you are conflating "fear of or the risk of terrorism are overstated" with "there is no such thing as terrorism." I could get shot by some nut in public tomorrow, but I'm not going to structure my life or society around the fear of that possibility.

Re:Thank goodness that we know ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438183)

That's great! Now when will you start disbanding the police?

Re:Thank goodness that we know ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438255)

Yes, clearly the mere existence of any sort of law enforcement is equivalent to the actions of the US in "response" to terrorism. Law enforcement is already (ideally) limited despite this increasing the risk of criminal harm to innocents, and we rightfully criticize law enforcement agencies when they overstep their bounds. Now we can obviously admit that the police are often able to act immorally or function in a less than beneficial fashion, but that flaw doesn't create an excuse for the creation of other abusive powers.

Also I'd gladly trim the police force tonight, but I don't have the ability to do so. Oops, I guess your criticism falls flat - unless you were joking, in which case you totally got me! =)

Re:Thank goodness that we know ... (1)

Sun (104778) | about 4 months ago | (#46438145)

No, that is not what everyone on slashdot are saying.

What we are saying is:

  • Terrorism is extremely rare.
  • People who brings a water bottle on board because they want to drink it are extremely common

So, to falsify the common slashdot knowledge, you'd have to show all of the following:

  1. The plane was downed by a terrorist attack
  2. The terrorists were not the passengers boarding with false passport (else traditional airport security was supposed to locate them),
  3. and..

  4. The terrorist were using some sophisticated water based bomb assembled on board, or smuggled stuff in their underwear.

Assuming 1 is true and the rest is false, pre-9/11 airport security was all it was supposed to take to prevent this plane from going down.

Shachar

Two people with stolen passports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438091)

At least they didn't let anyone smuggle in an oversized water bottle.

Re:Two people with stolen passports? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 months ago | (#46438117)

I think it was the second Flying High! (Airplane) movie where an old lady gets grilled while dudes with guns walk through the scanners.

No problem taking liquid on board (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#46438241)

In Indonesia as well as in Malaysia I myself have carried out "experiments" when I board a plane.

I put plastic bottles (some time one, some time more than one) and filled them up with liquids, and then put them into my luggage and also carry on luggage.

They let me pass. No problem.

And as I have mentioned in another comment - I have seen with my own eyes that the airport security officers let people (supposedly female) who cover up their face to pass the security checkpoint (without having to reveal their true face) and board the planes (all the while with their face covered).

That is why I say, in Malaysia and in several other Asian countries, it will be very easy for any terrorist to board the plane.

Re:No problem taking liquid on board (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438371)

In other words, Malaysians are not afraid of their own shadow.

Re:No problem taking liquid on board (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#46438877)

I put plastic bottles (some time one, some time more than one) and filled them up with liquids, and then put them into my luggage and also carry on luggage.

Did you also include the large mixing pump system necessary for binary explosives? Douche.

And this means...? (1)

Kichigai Mentat (588759) | about 4 months ago | (#46438107)

Do we know who these employees were? Do we know what this means for Freescale? For all we know these were accountants and advertising execs, and have no real long-term effect on the company.

Now don't get me wrong, that's not to say that the loss of these people is any less bad, but I have to wonder if we're overestimating the importance of the fact that there were Freescale employees on the flight.

Re:And this means...? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 months ago | (#46438115)

The entire company could be killed next year by a disease transmitted by a dirty telephone.

Re:And this means...? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#46438223)

The entire company could be killed next year by a disease transmitted by a dirty telephone.

And no wouild have noticed...

Re:And this means...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438119)

They know who was on the flight. They are contacting families first.

Re:And this means...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438141)

Most companies don't put multiple important people on a single airplane.
I don't remember what company but a while back something like this happened where the entire leadership was wiped out in an air crash.
Now at least the big companies spread it around. The drones still get to fly together though.

Re:And this means...? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 months ago | (#46438171)

In theory that's correct, for instance our company has a policy that a manager and no more than two of his direct reports can be on a flight together, but the number of times that policy is violated when a bunch of the bigwigs are taking the chartered jet to a meeting far away makes it a bit toothless in reality. Who's going to fire the CEO and a bunch of EVP's?

Re:And this means...? (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 4 months ago | (#46438373)

God fires them from the job of "living humans" when the plan crashes?

Re:And this means...? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 4 months ago | (#46438149)

Well, we keep bitching about "why is this non-tech news on /.?", so they had to find a tech angle in order to get the story on here.

Re:And this means...? (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#46438227)

I notice that, as a ONE MILLION id Slashdot poster, you have a HUGE record of high karma posts? Or are you just another CUNT?

Re:And this means...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438543)

I notice that, as a ONE MILLION id Slashdot poster, you have a HUGE record of high karma posts? Or are you just another CUNT?

I'd go with another CUNT

Re:And this means...? (1)

petsounds (593538) | about 4 months ago | (#46438181)

According to Freescale's statement [freescale.com] , eight of the individuals were Chinese employees and twelve were Malaysian. My guess is that they were probably management and Process Engineers traveling to a factory in China to oversee production of a new product.

Summary needs a slight rewrite (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438147)

Freescale Semiconductor did not write that blurb about the stolen passports and the way it is displayed here makes it seem that there is a connection between the passports and the company's employees.

Re:Summary needs a slight rewrite (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 4 months ago | (#46438383)

per Fox news not only is this connected, but Freescale execs KNEW about it and encouraged it, even to the point of making sure everyone on the plane was wearing the company-required "highly explosive" jackets, that have an 80% chance of combustion if more than three of them come within 30 feet of each other.

Re:Summary needs a slight rewrite (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 4 months ago | (#46439017)

The stolen passports likely have nothing to do with Freescale, but in regards to those passports, they've already determined that the two tickets purchased for those two identities where purchased at the same time - they have consecutive ticket numbers. Further, and oddly, the two had different final destinations.

A conceivable theory is that they were terrorists with explosives in their checked in baggage. The plan was for the explosives to detonate later than they did (but something caused one to detonate prematurely), thus taking down two flights and not just one. Further, they may have intended to disembark or not board those final flights while intending their luggage to continue on (perhaps they did a test run and found that luggage was not properly removed from the plane if a passenger did not board a connecting flight at the destination Chinese airport). There was a Chinese terrorist attack in the last couple weeks (the mass killings with knives) and this plane was carrying almost all Chinese citizens, and it was headed for China. If that speculation is correct, two planes would have been destroyed, doubling the amount of Chinese that were killed, and the destruction would have happened over China, thus potentially causing collateral damage.

Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (5, Interesting)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 4 months ago | (#46438163)

Granted, it has been a while since I worked for the part of Motorola that became Freescale, but I am fairly certain there were rules against the maximum number of employees that could take any one flight. I think it was 2 for executives and 6 or 8 for regular employees. Situations like this, rare as they are, was the reason. I wonder if Freescale still has those rules and ignored them, or didn't copy them over. Any current employees have insight?

I hope the families receive meaningful information as to what and why this happened, and don't have to spend a year or longer wondering (at least for the what, why usually takes a lot longer with airline crashes).

The 777 is one of the safest commercial planes in the aviation history, with only one accident with fatalities prior to this. Having just flown on a 777 (Cathay Pacific) out of Kuala Lumpur less than 30 days ago, however, I will say that their airport security was very lax. When I set off the metal detector and was wanded, the security person stopped at the first thing that might have set it off (I had left a metal-bodied pen in my shirt pocket) and didn't go on to find I also forgot to take out my cell phone and earphones from a different pocket (cargo pants). That was just for entry to the main concourse, though. To actually get on the plane, Cathay Pacific required a secondary screening that was much more rigorous from what I observed of how they dealt with other people (I remembered to put away my pen and phone that time). Malaysia Air did not do a secondary screening for a domestic flight when I boarded in Sandakan a few days earlier, but the concourse screening was also more intensive.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 4 months ago | (#46438337)

Pffff. I flew into KL a few weeks ago and I gotta say security was ridiculous. My plane had to stop to refuel and about five times before landing they warn you over the air that if you have any drugs on you when they land you'll be executed (the plane WAS from Amsterdam). Everyone had to disembark (and we weren't allowed to take any baggage). Then through metal detector + xray + pat down for everyone. Seemed a tad overkill for a plane refueling. I mean, I get security before entering a plane, but landing midlfight and asking everyone to disembark for another security screening?!?!?!?

On another note (and what I thought was interesting), I had one of the worst landings ever there. They didn't slow down to land and wheels down felt like the bottom of a loop-de-loop on a roller coaster. I wondered if this was due to the fact that we flew in for landing over mountains and they needed to cut a few thousand meters quickly.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438419)

You're only executed if you are convicted with intent to sell. Small amounts just get you jailtime.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 4 months ago | (#46438451)

That may be so but that's not what they said in the cabin.

They announced five times in slightly different ways "drug traffiking gets the death penalty, capital punishment in malaysia for drug traffiking, etc."

And on the boarding cards, getting off at the arrival gate, etc., there were signs saying the same thing in BIG RED LETTERS.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46439031)

Executed? Really.
For drugs?

How about foreigners?

They need to start doing that shit in flights to the United States, hah.
"Murder will get you the death penalty!"

I'll bet'cha that tourism will drastically decrease.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (1)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 4 months ago | (#46438949)

A) The point under discussion was security on the way out, not on the way in. Since you were just passing through, perhaps airport security was given a heads up to look for something specific to your flight? You did say you were coming from Amsterdam, after all. Arriving into KL from Hong Kong, my flight had no additional screening, and immigration procedures into and out of Malaysia are the easiest I have ever dealt with in any country (you don't fill in any paperwork, they take it all off of your passport matched up with flight manifests). For reference, I am at about 1.8M air miles (not including all the free trips I took) and in the process of filling up my 4th extended passport (where they add an additional 24 pages). Regardless, concourse security at KLIA was the laxest I have ever experienced post-9/11 anywhere in the world I have traveled.

B) You must not have flown into KL International airport, there are zero mountains within 30 kilometers of the airport (and those are big hills, more than mountains) and zero mountains on any approach path that doesn't try to land at 90 degrees from the airport (typically an unhealthy approach to any runway). Or maybe you have a different concept of what is a mountain from me.

C) Those hard landings are not uncommon when pilots allow the ALS to land the plane with even mild wind shear present. Or poor pilots blame the ALS, at least.

D) Drug trafficking means possession with the intent to sell. Mere possession of small quantities of heroin or marijuana is rarely considered trafficking, even in Malaysia. [about.com]

Since you can't do it anymore in reality, find a flight simulator that models the old Hong Kong airport runway approaches, or find YouTube videos that show airplanes passing at close to the same levels as high rise building while performing 40-60 degree turns to line up with the runway (there used to be a rooftop restaurant famous for plane watchers) on the top of mountains, then having to dive down rapidly to not overshoot the runway (a low fuel, passenger loaded 747 at 225 tonnes needs roughly 1675 meters of runway to land by the book IIRC, and the longest runway at Kai Tak was 1664 meters and those 747s were landing all day long), frequently while crabbing heavily to deal with heavy cross-winds. I can say I miss that experience... now. Ex-Navy pilots said it was the closest thing to trying to land a 747 on an aircraft carrier with a cross wind that they could imagine. Wikipedia has a good explanation of various approaches. [wikipedia.org]

Uh, doesn't every company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438353)

I haven't heard of a single company that doesn't have limits on how many employees can travel with the same aircraft/bus/hovercraft/whatever. It's simple, quite cheap risk management.

Re:Uh, doesn't every company? (1)

Grumpinuts (1272216) | about 4 months ago | (#46438393)

OK Try IBM. Worked for them in the 90's, some of us got flown out from the UK to a recognition event in San Diego. There must have been 30 of us on the same flight. They tried to get the other 20 making up the same party on the same flight but it was full.

Re:Uh, doesn't every company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438435)

You didn't specify how high up the ladder you were. I mean, losing a VP suddenly affects the share price whilst 200 interns has hardly any impact. Hence the rules are different for different positions. Simply the fact that there were 50 of you in total means that you weren't key employees, if you were on the same level. It's not nice to say it but it's true that different peoples' lives are a lot less important than others.

Re:Uh, doesn't every company? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 months ago | (#46438673)

OK Try IBM. Worked for them in the 90's [...] There must have been 30 of us on the same flight. They tried to get the other 20 making up the same party on the same flight but it was full.

Was IBM doing one of their so-called "Resource Actions" at the time . . . ?

Did your manager look surprised when you returned from the event . . . ?

Bond Villain Voice: "Ah, Mr. IBMer! . . . I wasn't expecting you . . .

Re:Uh, doesn't every company? (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 4 months ago | (#46438861)

Really? A trading company I worked for would routinely have 20-50 employees on the same flight for company-sponsored weekends away.

Re:Uh, doesn't every company? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#46439165)

I haven't heard of a single company that doesn't have limits on how many employees can travel with the same aircraft/bus/hovercraft/whatever. It's simple, quite cheap risk management.

A previous company I worked with put 180 of the 250 employees on the same flight to a company gathering - the other 70 came by another plane. Even at say a max limit of 40 you'd need seven planes instead of two and when each route has one plane/day either you need to fly them in stages or fly to other nearby cities and have them shuttled in, it would be a huge logistics nightmare. And I don't know any company I've worked for that wouldn't load up a rented bus full of employees. I think the alternative would be to never, ever go offsite with your employees for any meeting, never arrange any social gathering with organized transport and I think such a company would quickly die because people don't want to work there. YMMV.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (2)

mpfife (655916) | about 4 months ago | (#46438363)

I think there is good reason to believe if something tragic has happened - that it was an accident. Usually when terrorists destroy something - they immediately give notice and announce how and what they've done. We haven't seen that so far.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 4 months ago | (#46438387)

"how they dealt with other people" via throwing them into an operating jet turbine intake!

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#46438421)

Granted, it has been a while since I worked for the part of Motorola that became Freescale, but I am fairly certain there were rules against the maximum number of employees that could take any one flight. I think it was 2 for executives and 6 or 8 for regular employees. Situations like this, rare as they are, was the reason. I wonder if Freescale still has those rules and ignored them, or didn't copy them over.

Most likely it was scrapped - plane crashes being rare things, it's easier and cheaper to book a single flight for everyone. I mean, that could mean booking easily 4-5 flights for something that probably only happens once a year or less, and the chances of that flight being "the one" is so low that the added expense isn't worth the cost.

Planes are highly reliable pieces of equipment, much more so than even just 30+ years ago. We understand risks much better, and airspace is generally well controlled and monitored. So that policy might've been necessary back in the days, but these days, it's so unlikely that the company would rather save the money.

Just this time, unfortunately, they lost the bet.

Pffff. I flew into KL a few weeks ago and I gotta say security was ridiculous. My plane had to stop to refuel and about five times before landing they warn you over the air that if you have any drugs on you when they land you'll be executed (the plane WAS from Amsterdam). Everyone had to disembark (and we weren't allowed to take any baggage). Then through metal detector + xray + pat down for everyone. Seemed a tad overkill for a plane refueling. I mean, I get security before entering a plane, but landing midlfight and asking everyone to disembark for another security screening?!?!?!?

Well, technically, the plane is in Malaysia and they'll treat even a fuel stopover as entering the country.

And Singapore and Malaysia are pretty much drug free - they execute anyone carrying any drugs. Zero tolerance - get caught and it's to the firing squad. Very quick, swift justice. You might get a few extra days with some consular assistance.

They treat drug smuggling very seriously. Every vehicle passing through gets inspected.

Re:Motorola used to have rules against that, IIRC (1)

quietbob (548819) | about 4 months ago | (#46438777)

I just flew out of KL last night on a Malaysia Airlines flight (another 777), less than 24 hours after MH370.

I think they've tightened things up a little - forgot a couple of coins in my pocket at the first screening and set off the detector, got the full pat down. Then at the gate they were screening again immediately before boarding and doing it thoroughly. First time in this part of the world I've seen them making people take off watches & belts.

Seemed to be a few more uniformed guards around than usual, even a few between the gate screening and the airbridge which I don't recall seeing before.

Other than that everything seemed to be business as usual.

My guess is bomb... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438179)

Reason why it would be a bomb is that the plane disappeared from radar without sending message to controllers. Thus the breakup of the plane is so quick that pilots couldnt send message. Only thing that can cause quick breakup of whole plane is a bomb or missile. And bomb is more likely.

Also they think there is two unknown persons on board with false passports. Maybe they never boarded the plane or left too early, and werent in the plane when it crashed. False passports sounds exactly like what is needed to get bomb on board.

Tech news, much? (1)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 4 months ago | (#46438313)

I dunno. I realize things around here have somewhat changed; hell, I'm pretty new here, anyway. I would rather not be the "is this really news for nerds?" guy. Actually I haven't noticed that slogan printed on this site since certain changes were implemented.
But while this is newsworthy, hoping that the discourse will evolve into a meritorious discussion of the technologies in use during such flights, the tech and techniques intended to prevent this specific kind of situation, and/or interesting details about the methods/tech used to aid in the resulting search seems a bit optimistic.

As far as the article goes, there's a lot to be suspicious of...it's certainly not normal to have this happen with everything that goes into making, controlling, and tracking those planes. Still, mistakes and failures occur. I am interested to know what they eventually find.

Re:Tech news, much? (-1, Flamebait)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 4 months ago | (#46438343)

How right you are -- and since you are here, whining and complaining about who you "don't want to be" but who you clearly are. perhaps you'd be happy if they added the slogan "news for sanctimonious jag-offs", just for you.

Re:Tech news, much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438555)

Is a "jag-off" someone who jerks off in a Jaguar?

Re:Tech news, much? (2)

stoploss (2842505) | about 4 months ago | (#46438403)

I dunno. I realize things around here have somewhat changed; hell, I'm pretty new here, anyway. I would rather not be the "is this really news for nerds?" guy. Actually I haven't noticed that slogan printed on this site since certain changes were implemented.

Actually, the mandatory on-topicness for tech news on Slashdot died on 11 Sep 2001 [slashdot.org] . That topic got thousands of posts from "the audience" (*cough*), and tech relevance forever after took a back seat to potential ad impressions for proposed content.

I know, I know, people always point to the "...stuff that matters" part of the slogan. However, that's a retcon construction, as proven by the fact that the content was on-topic for years before they chose to digress. It's like how the U.S. Constitution is basically now encompassed by the "General welfare means the federal government has an unlimited mandate to do whatever they want" and "everything is interstate commerce" retcons while practically everything else in the document is considered optional.

I guess it's refreshing that Dice ditched the slogan, since it hasn't been applicable in years.

Fuck Beta.

Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438315)

This flight it full of mysteries, how did two people board with stolen passports, and who were they really? It must have exploded to "vanish" from radar. They should have seen the plane break apart and fall, not vanish. Why are navy ships having such a hard time locating the data recorder pinger? I wonder what Freescale product will be affected? This one is curious!

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438407)

Airlines don't check if passports have been stolen even though some countries keep track of this sort of thing. One of the passports was even reported stolen by its original owner much earlier.

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438721)

Radar doesn't give altitude data, and over the ocean altitude beacons do no reach to shore. So, despite the fact that you can get satellite Internet service on an aircraft over the middle of the ocean, there is still no technology that exists that would allow a Mode C or Mode S transponder to communicate position or altitude data to the global ATC system while outside of radio communication.

What kind of employees were they? Sales? Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438341)

I know it sounds mean and heartless but while my heart goes out to the families, I do have to ask
what kind of employees were lost. I am invested in Freescale .. I really hope it was
just people that are easy to replace (please, no offense intended, nobody is truly replaceable
outside of the business paradigm. However there is a business cost to replacing people
and sometimes replacing just one developer can be extremely hard and take a long time
and then some on top until that person is up to speed and productive).
I honestly hope that nothing happened to the technical talent or anyone else whose absence
would otherwise set projects back.

Of course I would also hope for that everyone on that flight was somehow found and
rescued, perhaps on an island in the area.

Re:What kind of employees were they? Sales? Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438563)

Please Tell me it was sales and marketing
Signed Pissed Off Engineer

Stolen passports? (1)

Alexey Solofnenko (3400941) | about 4 months ago | (#46438385)

Two people used stolen passports and this article is about some Freescale guys. Should not those two people be the main point of the story?

Re:Stolen passports? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438711)

It's a big deal for a struggling semiconductor company like Freescale to lose that much talent in one go.

It has been suggested on al-Jazeera that the two in question were Iranian terrorists and that this was a terror attack to retaliate against US sponsorship if Israel's program of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists.

That's the link to be explored here.

Re:Stolen passports? (1)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#46438897)

That sounds rather farfetched. Terrorists blowing up a Malaysian plane traveling to China because the US and/or Israel are killing Iranian scientists? Seriously? In case you haven't heard, China has been having a bit of a terrorism problem of its own lately, which makes a lot more sense.

Re:Stolen passports? (1)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#46438879)

It's up to four or five now, which is certainly enough to hijack a plane. However, I have also heard that the pax with stolen passports were flying onward to Amsterdam, and supposedly drug smugglers like to go in packs, so it's also possible that these were just drug smugglers.

Remember the TV show "Lost"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46438803)

Just follow the Dharma Initiative supply plane dropoff and you'll find these passengers...

Re:Remember the TV show "Lost"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46439123)

You sad fucking excuse for a human being ...
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