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Malaysian Flight Disappearance 'Deliberate'

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the hope-dwindling dept.

Transportation 436

An anonymous reader writes "Malaysia's Prime Minister announced at a press conference that Flight 370, which disappeared a week ago, was diverted as a result of 'deliberate action.' The investigation has now focused in two ways: first, they're looking more closely at the passengers and crew, and second, they've narrowed the search for the plane down to two corridors. One stretches from Kazakhstan to northern Thailand, and the other goes from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. 'That conclusion was based on a final signal from the plane picked up on satellite at 8:11 a.m. on March 8, nearly seven hours after ground control lost contact with the jet, he said.'

The Prime Minister said the plane's communications system and the transponder system were both disabled early on during the flight. The time of the plane's final satellite contact would have put its fuel reserves very low. 'Police on Saturday morning drove into the residential compound where the missing plane's pilot lives in Kuala Lumpur, according a guard and several local reporters who were barred from entering the complex. ... Experts have previously said that whoever disabled the plane's communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience. One possibility they have raised was that one of the pilots wanted to commit suicide."

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Placing a bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491589)

Whether this article or the previous one on religion will receive more comments. Probably the religion one but this will give it a run for the money. Guessing 300 comments

Re:Placing a bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491607)

I think it'll be this one. We shall see...

Re:Placing a bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491695)

oh yeah? I am willing to bet that I will not never ever make a bet in my life.

Re:Placing a bet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491757)

Apparently you aren't too familiar with the war between the science fanbois and the religious nutters.

Re:Placing a bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491769)

Well if religion is good for your brain, and some muslim criminal masterminds cooked up a plan to hijack this plane, fill it with sarin, and crash it into downtown Beijing, I'd say those were some pretty smart muslims to pull something like this off. This is something straight out of a plot of a movie. If we manage to foil it, there will be a blockbuster movie about it that makes Captain Phillips look like a home movie.

I'm not saying it was aliens... (0)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 4 months ago | (#46491605)

but it was aliens

Watch out (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491645)

Whatever country the hijackers are from better watch it because US bombs will be coming there way (especially so if the country has oil or other natural resources)

Re: Watch out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491871)

Would the US back China if they struck the terrorist country first?

Re:Watch out (5, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | about 4 months ago | (#46491915)

Whatever country the hijackers are from better watch it because US bombs will be coming there way (especially so if the country has oil or other natural resources)

So we learned nothing from the 2001 US bombardment and invasion of Saudi Arabia then?

Re:Watch out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491919)

They're from the Ukraine, and plan to use the plane to deliver a few nukes they didn't hand over in the '90s to Moscow.

Suicide By Jet Plane (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46491689)

It's happened before.

It sure must take a selfish fuck, but they're out there.

Re:Suicide By Jet Plane (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#46491875)

Every act of suicide is an act of selfishness.

However, many supposed 'suicides' especially by younger people, are actually just acts of auto-erotic asphyxiation [wikipedia.org] gone wrong. Which are also, very much, acts of selfishness.

That's right: Little Johnny didn't mean to kill himself. But the family wants it to read as a suicide in the public record.

Re:Suicide By Jet Plane (4, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#46491929)

I would disagree on that matter. For starters, a suicide might be to provide insurance money for one's family (a la Death of a Salesman), or to protect a state secret ( a la every spy-related work with a poison pill or similar device). More realistically, though, someone may be in a great deal of suffering due to an inoperable condition, and one's loved ones would likely feel better knowing that the one they care about isn't suffering anymore.

Re:Suicide By Jet Plane (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 4 months ago | (#46492085)

many supposed 'suicides' especially by younger people, are actually just acts of auto-erotic asphyxiation [wikipedia.org] gone wrong.

A junior high school classmate of mine managed to off himself that way. He did it outdoors, in some woods, and was found first by children so there was a crowd, including reporters, by the time the police got there. Nobody said anything about "suicide" -- the cops put on a show of hunting for a "crazed sex fiend" until it faded out of the papers.

Suicide By Jet Plane (4, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | about 4 months ago | (#46491921)

If you want to commit suicide, why not ditch the plane straight down? Why would you plot a course somewhere into the middle of the Indian Ocean?

If you didn't want it to look like suicide, why not ditch into rural China? There has to be some way a professional pilot could make it look more accidental.

Re:Suicide By Jet Plane (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491993)

If you want to commit suicide, why not ditch the plane straight down? Why would you plot a course somewhere into the middle of the Indian Ocean?

If you didn't want it to look like suicide, why not ditch into rural China? There has to be some way a professional pilot could make it look more accidental.

What if you're suicidal but still want to troll the entire world?

Re:Suicide By Jet Plane (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 4 months ago | (#46492091)

Well, a person who takes hundreds of people with them in their suicide probably has things going on in their heads that we'd find difficult to understand. Suicidal people sometimes commit suicide in ways that are planned and designed to look like accidents.

Of course we don't know that it was suicide. It could just have been an unusually unreasonable highjacker who didn't understand that the 777-200 had shorter range than for example Wikipedia lists because it wasn't fully fueled for the relatively short flight to Beijing.

Re: Suicide By Jet Plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46492055)

All of this has happened before.
And it will all happen again.

http://youtu.be/c5obUPl8frk

first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491691)

Boom.

Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491771)

Boom baby boom (dumbass)

Three thoughts... (4, Interesting)

davidmcg (796487) | about 4 months ago | (#46491693)

1. Why are cockpit voices recorded only in the black box? If other data from a plane is constantly being sent for maintenance purposes, while in flight, why do planes not also not relay cockpit voices to some storage system, for just such a situation? CCTV keeps footage for a few hours or a few days, why is this kind of valuable data not also routinely stored? 2. I don't know how low you have to fly a plane to fly "under the radar" but isn't is possible that the pilot or a hijacker flew the plane below radar to somewhere where it is now on the ground? 3. One other possibility: the plane was shot down, and the country that did it, realizing the mistake, is participating in the search to cover up. Militaries have shot down civilian jets before. The Soviet Union and the USA have both done so.

Re:Three thoughts... (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#46491733)

even the maintenance part is a separate paid service that the airline wasn't paying for. imagine how much the remote voice recording will cost

Re:Three thoughts... (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 months ago | (#46491917)

The maintenance data stream is also incredibly restricted by bandwidth, so a continuous audio stream at a fidelity which can cover voices in the cock pit *and* instrument activation noises (something people talking about CVR use often miss), you are talking about a data stream that often isn't viable.

Re:Three thoughts... (3, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about 4 months ago | (#46492027)

Which is a fair point, but it could still broadcast it's GPS location and altitude every five minutes. If I rent a $20,000 dollar car from Hertz it lets them know where I am with their car. Why airlines let planes costing hundreds of millions fly around the globe absent similar technology is surely a little strange?

Re: Three thoughts... (2)

Mitsoid (837831) | about 4 months ago | (#46492145)

It does...

The problem is the range of the transponder broadcast is roughly 100 miles (1ghz frequency). When a plane goes off the coast, they quickly go out of range off any listening posts...

The US and Europe are both working on a new system for taking over water... Using satellite support probably... But for now, after 100 miles out to sea, radar is the primary method of tracking

Re:Three thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491741)

I'm not sure it would count as a mistake. If the hijacker(s) had turned off all the tracking devices, and were flying silent, there's a good chance that they were shot down by one of the countries they flew over. China, for example, might have shot down the plane for fear of terrorism. They might be covering up what they know to save face.

Re: Three thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491897)

China doesnt fear attacking terrorists.

RE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491873)

1) It is expensive. To get the always-on you need satellite communication, which isn't cheap -- especially if you are taking about doing it for however many thousands of flights in the air. Also, it wouldn't stop a hijacking or intentional act by a pilot. Plus, it would be easy to defeat by breaking the mic's in the cockpit.

2) Unless the places it is flying over have military radar active at all times, once the transponder was disabled, it wouldn't show up on most civilian radar, as these typically use the transponder response to the radar ping instead of the actual primary radar reflection.

3) Possible, but unless the country is really, really good, no cover-up will be successful, as Malaysia, and more importantly China, are not going to just let this slide.

does it add up? (4, Interesting)

nblender (741424) | about 4 months ago | (#46491703)

Lets say you were a pilot with intent to commit suicide (and take everyone with you; ignoring the sociopathy involved in that)... Why go through the effort of 'hiding' the plane? Turning off the transponder and comms, changing altitude and direction, and flying for a few more hours? The plane was already over the ocean, easy to dive it straight down. Less than a minute and it's done.

My intuition says that someone wanted a 777 and wanted to hide it.

Re:does it add up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491829)

Yes, the behavior of the aircraft is very strange if the theory is to be pilot suicide. Why continue to fly for many hours? Why climb to 45000 first? But we've seen a long history of political whitewashing of events around airline crashes, starting with TWA-800 where the official stories were not credible, and did not match evidence and eyewitness accounts.

It remains to be seen whether the official story in this case will be credible.

Re:does it add up? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46491841)

My intuition says that someone wanted a 777 and wanted to hide it.

Had to hide the theft to get it.

But is stealing a plane full of people the easiest way to get a jet?

It seems like you're asking for an order of magnitude more search and rescue operation versus an empty plane. It seems likely someone wanted the jetload of civilians if taking the plane was the mission.

Re:does it add up? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#46491955)

A jetload of citizens seems to be without a great deal of utility. I would think there are significantly less conspicuous means of getting equal amounts of people. I would speculate that, if the passngers were the intended targets, that it was only a few of them that were important to whatever organization staged this operation.

Re:does it add up? (1)

Guy From V (1453391) | about 4 months ago | (#46492033)

Getting the craft into the air to any destination whatsoever that seems out of the ordinary would be the single most difficult part of this theoretical heist to pull off, so the people on board would be a contingency to have to deal with just to be able to get the plane.

Re:does it add up? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#46492063)

But is stealing a plane full of people the easiest way to get a jet?

Well, assume the pilots were willing to take orders; The job is then easier than going to flight school and it involves less people than hiring a pilot. If you also want the people it's safer than conducting two separate jobs.

If the pilots have the expectation of being ransomed instead of flown into a building they might well cooperate in the hopes of preserving their own lives as well as the lives of the passengers. Once someone has broken into the cockpit it's easy enough to crash the plane and kill everyone on board without any special knowledge, so there's every reason to suspect that the pilots would cooperate in that scenario.

Re:does it add up? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#46491883)

Landing a 777 takes a significant airstrip. Really significant. Once there, it's not simply a taxi to some secluded spot. If your scenario is true, the plane should be visible by satellite.

Re:does it add up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491927)

You are overlooking the obvious. A super villian in an enormous, jet powered zeppilin. It is just a matter of time before someone pops up in a video on youtube asking for one million dollars in ransom.

Re:does it add up? (1)

sshir (623215) | about 4 months ago | (#46492105)

Are you sure about this? I mean, if you're not planning for subsequent take-off then your runway may be much - much shorter. Remember, a few months ago, Boeing transport landed in a wrong airport.

Re:does it add up? (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 4 months ago | (#46492121)

Landing a 777 takes a significant airstrip. Really significant. Once there, it's not simply a taxi to some secluded spot. If your scenario is true, the plane should be visible by satellite.

Well, maybe the highjacker thought that the plane had longer range than it actually had. In that scenario we're looking at painstakingly scanning the ocean with sonar to find the wreckage.

Re:does it add up? (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 4 months ago | (#46491885)

Maybe if there was some insurance trickery going on? Say someone on the plane took out a huge life insurance and then hijacked the plane - there won't be any payout if it's a suicide. However if the plane is never found, then no-one can prove it was a suicide or foul play...

Re:does it add up? (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 4 months ago | (#46491951)

I mostly agree with you - I also feel there was some ulterior motive (hijacking / ransom / obtaining the hardware, etc). However, there are still very likely suicide scenarios that could explain the evidence.

Why do people stand on the edge of a bridge and contemplate for hours before killing themselves? Why do people do "suicide by cop"? Because not many people have the nerve to actively cause their own death. The pilot(s) could have disabled tracking and just kind of flown around for a while (upping the ante and the stakes - trying to get beyond some point-of-no-return), and passively commit suicide by simply sitting back and waiting for the plane to run out of fuel and thus crash. The reason they would have turned off the tracking devices is to prevent intervention of some kind (scrambling military jets to see why the plane was off course and not communicating, etc).

Then there is also the suicide martyr religious fanatic type situation, where the intention was to not just kill themselves, but take something else out in the process. Does anyone know if Israel was within range of the jet, or if the course deviation took it in that direction?

Re:does it add up? (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 4 months ago | (#46492111)

To answer my own questions, Flight 370 was a Boeing 777-200ER. See the "ER"? That means Extended Range. It has a range of 7,700 nautical miles (compared to the non-ER version with a range of 5,235 miles). The distance from Kuala Lumpur, where the flight originated, to Jerusalem (simply chosen as a place in Israel) is 4,729 miles - well within Flight 370's range of 7,700 miles. Note that the plane first flow north for a while before changing direction, so the overall flight would have been longer than 4,729 miles, which would have put it out of the range of a regular (non-ER) 777. Interesting that the plane that just happened to disappear was an Extended Range version (or are they simply more common? I don't know).

Also, the final northwest heading was towards the middle east, which aimed it squarely at a number of political / religious hotspots (Israel, Pakistan, Kashmir area, etc) where there are ongoing suicide attacks taking place on a daily basis (Pakistan at the moment). As for the plane actually reaching Israel, that's pretty much impossible. It would have had to have flown over Saudi Arabia / Iran to get there, and surely the unidentified plane would have been intercepted by one of those two countries. Then of course the Israelis would have shot it down for certain had it actually made it close to their border.

Re:does it add up? (1)

Tom (822) | about 4 months ago | (#46491991)

Why go through the effort of 'hiding' the plane?

So they don't shoot you down. If you wanted to commit suicide in this matter, you probably don't want just the plane, you want to fly it into something (9/11 probably gave you the idea).

So no, it doesn't add up - unless some nation shot it down and doesn't want to admit it. But that's as much speculation as anything else.

Taklamakan Desert (2)

AmbiLobe (2999721) | about 4 months ago | (#46492143)

Look in the Taklamakan Desert, 50 miles South of the Silk Road. Or turn a blind eye to the obvious landing expanse.

Ter'rists... or ALIEMS? (3, Funny)

pla (258480) | about 4 months ago | (#46491705)

Damnit Scully, we had it this time! We had it, had them, and those bastards took it away from us!

They landed on any of a hundred small island airstrips with the full knowledge of the Malay government, and by now that alien's body has made it back to the Pentagon and out of our reach.

It's pretty obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491707)

Terrorists took it. They landed it somewhere they could temporarily store it to refuel, repaint and arm it with whatever weapon they plan on using.

Re:It's pretty obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491725)

What country are you from so that we can know which terrorists you are talking about.

Tracking (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 4 months ago | (#46491719)

It slightly blows my mind that companies (airlines) would buy a piece of hardware that costs hundreds of millions of dollars, which is incredibly mobile and used to travel thousands of miles at a time, with a huge amount of liability (billions potentially), and not include any kind of built in, always-on, hard-wired tracking device. Especially in this day and age. We're just talking about pinging tiny little packets of positional data every few minutes.

Re:Tracking (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491783)

not include any kind of built in, always-on, hard-wired tracking device

They experimented with hard-wired positional tracking, but the cables became very long.

Re:Tracking (1)

thoth (7907) | about 4 months ago | (#46491817)

include any kind of built in, always-on, hard-wired tracking device

How would you guarantee such a tracking device resists all possible sabotage efforts?

Re:Tracking (2)

chalkyj (927554) | about 4 months ago | (#46491863)

I'm not sure you need to guarantee it resists all possible sabotage efforts. It just needs to not have an "off" button in the cockpit and be located in an inaccessible area of the aircraft. I assume the answer to this question is simply that the planes involved are probably fairly old, and that new planes do indeed have features like this. If I can buy a car with that sort of feature for anti-theft I'm sure putting it on a plane can't be terribly difficult.

Re:Tracking (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 4 months ago | (#46491905)

Communication is much easier for a car - you can use the cellular network. Not so much for a plane, where you need to use satellite comms.

Re:Tracking (1)

chalkyj (927554) | about 4 months ago | (#46492015)

It's harder because putting satellites into space is harder than building cell towers but since both these things have already been done I'm not sure you're making a terribly relevant distinction. Modern aircraft have tracking systems that use satellite networks, the only real question is why is the pilot apparently able to disable it?

Re:Tracking (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 4 months ago | (#46492103)

But the price tags are also differet my several orders of magnitude.

A GPS tracking device that broadcasts its location via satellite costs $100 plus a small monthly subscription. Obviously that isn't going to have cleared all the regulations for avionics, but it still shows the hardware cost is minimal and there's no need to rely upon cellular networks. Indeed the plane in question was already broadcasting hourly to the irridium network. So that bit of the hardware already exists.

Off button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491997)

But the off button does serve a purpose. Sometimes transponders malfunction and send false data to ATC/pilots. In this case, they have to be shut off. I understand that it makes it easier for a terrorist to take control of a plane. but without a way to switch it off if it malfunctions, there could be severe problems flying the plane.

Re:Tracking (1)

tshawkins (1239974) | about 4 months ago | (#46491869)

Put it in end of the wing, try getting at that when the plane is in flight. Self contained, self powered tracker. Run for 7 days on an external charge. No connection to internal systems or power supplies.

Re:Tracking (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#46491971)

I would connect it to an internal power supply so that it can run without using the power, but have an independent backup power supply so it can run those 7 days in the event of even intentional sabotage.

Re:Tracking (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 4 months ago | (#46492031)

It may be useful to have data capture from internal systems - things like engine temperatures, control positions, etc.

Re:Tracking (1)

tshawkins (1239974) | about 4 months ago | (#46492133)

This is where it all starts getting too complicated again, there are already other systems that do that and they got disabled, when you start adding functionality and connectivity you add significant vulnerability. It should be a very simple standalone, inaccessible device, serving one simple task. Answering the question "where the fuck has my $123 MILLION plane got to".

Re:Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491903)

We already can't guarantee the airplane will never crash either so what's your point?

Re:Tracking (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46491939)

include any kind of built in, always-on, hard-wired tracking device

How would you guarantee such a tracking device resists all possible sabotage efforts?

Put it on the outside of the plane.

Re:Tracking (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#46491959)

How would you guarantee such a tracking device resists all possible sabotage efforts?

There is no "guarantee" against "all possible efforts" for anything ever, so that is a ridiculous requirement. But you could make it reasonably impervious to sabotage by placing it somewhere inaccessible from inside the plane, and difficult to reach even from outside. Such as the top of the tail fin.

Re:Tracking (4, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#46491965)

How would you guarantee such a tracking device resists all possible sabotage efforts?

That kind of mindset seems to be common in Slashdot. "If something is not completely perfect, it's completely useless." Many times comes up in security-related articles.

Re:Tracking (1)

Tom (822) | about 4 months ago | (#46492025)

How would you guarantee such a tracking device resists all possible sabotage efforts?

Not all possible, but 99% of them: Make it inaccessible from the inside of the aircraft.

blows my mind (2)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 4 months ago | (#46491831)

"It slightly blows my mind that companies (airlines) would buy a piece of hardware that costs hundreds of millions of dollars, which is incredibly mobile and used to travel thousands of miles at a time, with a huge amount of liability (billions potentially), and not include any kind of built in, always-on, hard-wired tracking device. Especially in this day and age. "

Most airlines do, just not the Malaysians.

what economic value in tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491851)

Why would a company do this? it doesn't increase revenue, reduce costs, etc. The value of such real time tracking would be exceedingly limited except in a situation like this. And in this situation, the value is somewhat sketchy.. maybe you'd save some search costs because you'd find the wreckage sooner, but everyone's using this as a big training exercise, so they'd be spending that money anyway.

Re:what economic value in tracking? (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 4 months ago | (#46491985)

We're talking about equipment which even at aviation specs isn't going to be very expensive. The extra phone operators the airline hired to deal with the fallout could probably have paid for it ...

After the 9/11 transponder shit we should have learned something, sure rewiring the existing transponders would present lots of cost and risk ... but installing a new separate system designed to be relatively low power so it could run on batteries would not.

Re:Tracking (1)

Schrambo (737251) | about 4 months ago | (#46491881)

I'm only new to the technology but I do believe ADS-B is the new fangled thing that promises to solve all of the plane tracking problems.

Re:Tracking (1)

SJ2000 (1128057) | about 4 months ago | (#46491961)

Only if it's turned on.

Another Saudi Arabian. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491759)

Why is USA so much in love with this gays'-and-women's heads chopping nation? Oil...? Petrodollars? :-]]]]]]

we're all thinking it, I'll come out and say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491767)

db couper

This plane was stolen for money. IMHO (1)

Hey_Jude_Jesus (3442653) | about 4 months ago | (#46491773)

A 777-2000 is worth 230 Million dollars. The pilot(s) could sell it for $23 million dollars and live high off the hog. I think every airline better put in an automatic beacon using satellite and/or HF radio to know where every plane is at all times and the pilot(s) can't turn it off. There was another plane stolen in Angola by a mechanic ten years ago. It was never found. I'm sure that guy is living very well also. This is organized crime. IMHO. YMMV.

Re:This plane was stolen for money. IMHO (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491847)

The pilot(s) could sell it for $23 million dollars and live high off the hog.

Yes - there's a huge black market in 777s.

Re:This plane was stolen for money. IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46492053)

It's in a chop-shop right now, up on blocks, getting stripped.

Nuke bomb theory (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491787)

The plane was deliberately stolen and was landed somewhere in the middle east or Africa. It could be at an abandoned airfield or an improvised one in a desert area, hidden in a hangar or hidden by an improvised cover. It is being fitted with a stolen nuclear bomb as we speak. The passengers and crew have most likely all been killed.

A Boeing 777 200EL has sufficient range to reach the east coast of the USA and deliver the nuke in a suicide strike. The terrorists involved could have maybe purchased or stolen a smaller jet like a Gulfstream. However, even the highest-end Gulfstream does not have sufficient range to reach the USA. A large commercial airliner is perfect for this job.

Logistical issues such as refueling with Jet-A fuel and hiding the plane from satellite and aerial surveillance would have to be overcome to pull this off.

If I'm right, God help us.

Re: Nuke bomb theory (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491899)

Except that it is extremely easy to buy (or steal) a used commercial or cargo aircraft without going to all the trouble of hijacking and mass murder and evading the air forces and navies of half the planet. And it would be even easier to sail a nuke-laden yacht into any number of east coast harbors. Why would a terrorist go to all this trouble when there are much easier and less risky ways of accomplishing the goal you describe?

Re: Nuke bomb theory (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#46491933)

dry run for a bigger attack

Re: Nuke bomb theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491937)

To do so would likely require the searching of the entire aircraft, csrgo included, for mobile phones and other such gps locators. All it takes is one of those to hit a cell tower and its ame over. Military would have the cell information for everybody on that plane and searching for any beacon they would put out.

Look for skid marks (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#46491793)

When a jet lands it lays down quite a lot of rubber. A search for new skid marks on roads near water in countries with poor military radar (Bangladesh?) might indicate where the plane put down. Evidence of a recently placed fuel dump might also be worth a search.

A 9/11 type attack might be the aim here. I'm wondering how well a carrier group could defend itself against a diving attack. Also, how may of our embassies are close enough to the ocean that the host country Air Force might not have time to react to a low altitude offshore approach?

Re: Look for skid marks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491963)

Carrier groups have sophisticated defenses that are designed to shoot down small, fast, and maneuverable threats like fighter jets and incoming missiles. A commercial airliner on a suicide run wouldn't get within 50 miles of a carrier before it was shot down.

Re: Look for skid marks (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#46492007)

Pretty sure commercial aircraft get much closer to carrier groups when the groups get close to flight lanes. In port, distances are more like a couple of miles. Look at Pearl Harbor, for example.

Himalayas (2)

HarryCallahan (673707) | about 4 months ago | (#46491801)

Maybe he wanted to see Mt Everest, close up.

Terrible Links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491803)

Both links suck. One is from the NY Times, which is paywalled. The other leads to some generic "select your state" bullshit from the AP. Garbage. Does anyone even TRY to RTFA anymore?

Helios flight disaster. (5, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#46491839)

There are very few clues. Some tantalizing pings, between 4 to 6 on the satellites, some delay in transponder being turned off etc are the bare facts on which these elaborate theories are being spun. But I keep thinking about the Helios flight [wikipedia.org] disaster. The maintenance crew had left the cabin pressurization in "manual" mode. The pilot did not notice. The plane warned about cabin pressure. But the pilot was confused and continued to climb to cruise altitude. Deprived of oxygen, all of them died when the oxygen ran out. Pilots never put on the mask and died soon. Plane without pilots, may be with a few passengers alive for half an hour longer, flew on auto pilot for several hours. One crew member, a flight attendant, a former navy diver was seen in the cockpit lugging a (probably empty oxygen) cylinder by the chase planes. Eventually ran out of fuel and crashed in the mountain.

It is possible somehow both pilots lost control of the plane and it flew on auto pilot, following whatever route was programmed into it.

Re:Helios flight disaster. (4, Informative)

robinsonne (952701) | about 4 months ago | (#46491867)

But then the transponder would have still been on...

Re:Helios flight disaster. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#46492003)

If one pilot decides to something funny, and the other pilot figures it out and a tussle breaks out, and if one of them survives, but with serious injury... As I said there are no easy theories ...

Re:Helios flight disaster. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#46492079)

Is it possible for a malfunction in the cockpit to disable the transponder? Of a control, for example?

It is the Russian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491849)

I bet this is an act of Putin's and the plane is somewhere at an abandoned runway of Kazahstan. They will blame the Chechens for the hijackings helping their Ujgur compatriots against Chinese occupation. Then tomorrow or a few days later (after Crimea wote for secession) Russians will all of a sudden find it, escape the passengers. China will be thankful and will ignore U.N. sanctions against Russia and Russia will have a casus belli for bombing Groznij. But again it is just me making conspiratorial theories. ;-)

Re:It is the Russian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46492159)

Or even simpler: a couple Russian spies took over the plane and scuttled it to make a big news story to distract from Crimea. I don't see Crimea news on my news stations, only some missing plane. Crimea is being invaded by a foreign government and everyone in concerned about a plane.

what is missing is that mutliple govs. know. (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 months ago | (#46491855)

Look, that area is contentious and has LOADS of satellites flying overhead. IOW, loads of pix were taken. It should be easy enough to subtract the KNOWN flights from those sats. and see what remains.
BUT, nobody is coming forth with that.

The most entertaing theory yet (1)

koan (80826) | about 4 months ago | (#46491901)

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (also marketed as China Southern Airlines flight 748 through a codeshare) was a scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, when on 8 March this Boeing 777-200ER aircraft “disappeared” in flight with 227 passengers on board from 15 countries, most of whom were Chinese, and 12 crew members.
Interesting to note, this report says, was that Flight 370 was already under GRU “surveillance” after it received a “highly suspicious” cargo load that had been traced to the Indian Ocean nation Republic of Seychelles, and where it had previously been aboard the US-flagged container ship MV Maersk Alabama.
What first aroused GRU suspicions regarding the MV Maersk Alabama, this report continues, was that within 24-hours of off-loading this “highly suspicious” cargo load bound for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the two highly-trained US Navy Seals assigned to protect it, Mark Daniel Kennedy, 43, and Jeffrey Keith Reynolds, 44, were found dead under “suspicious circumstances.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/2-... [cbsnews.com]

Both Kennedy and Reynolds, this report says, were employed by the Virginia Beach, Virginia-based maritime security firm The Trident Group which was founded by US Navy Special Operations Personnel (SEAL’s) and Senior US Naval Surface Warfare Officers and has long been known by the GRU to protect vital transfers of both atomic and biological materials throughout the world.

Upon GRU “assests” confirming that this “highly suspicious” cargo was aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on 8 March, this report notes, Moscow notified China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) of their concerns and received “assurances” that “all measures” would be taken as to ascertain what was being kept so hidden when this aircraft entered into their airspace.
However, this report says, and as yet for still unknown reasons, the MSS was preparing to divert Flight 370 from its scheduled destination of Beijing to Haikou Meilan International Airport (HAK) located inHainan Province (aka Hainan Island).
Prior to entering the People Liberation Army (PLA) protected zones of the South China Sea known as the Spratly Islands, this report continues, Flight 370 “significantly deviated” from its flight course and was tracked by VKO satellites and radar flying into the Indian Ocean region and completing its nearly 3,447 kilometer (2,142 miles) flight to Diego Garcia. (large enough runway)

Critical to note about Flight 370’s flight deviation, GRU experts in this report say, was that it occurred during the same time period that all of the Spratly Island mobile phone communications operated by China Mobile were being jammed.
China Mobile, it should be noted, extended phone coverage in the Spratly Islands in 2011 so that PLA soldiers stationed on the islands, fishermen, and merchant vessels within the area would be able to use mobile services, and can also provide assistance during storms and sea rescues.
As to how the US Navy was able to divert Flight 370 to its Diego Garcia base, this report says, appears to have been accomplished remotely as this Boeing 777-200ER aircraft is equipped with a fly-by-wire (FBW) system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface allowing it to be controlled like any drone-type aircraft.

However, this report notes, though this aircraft can be controlled remotely, the same cannot be said of its communication systems which can only be shut down manually; and in the case of Flight 370, its data reporting system was shut down at 1:07 a.m., followed by its transponder (which transmits location and altitude) which was shut down at 1:21 a.m.
What remains “perplexing” about this incident, GRU analysts in this report say, are why the American mainstream media outlets have yet to demand from the Obama regime the radar plots and satellite images of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea regions as the US military covers this entire area from Diego Garcia like no other seas in the world due to its vital shipping and air lanes.

Most sadly, this report concludes, the US is actually able to conceal the reason(s) for the “disappearance” of Flight 370 as they have already done so after the events of 11 September 2011 when the then Bush regime “disappeared” American Airlines Flight 77 and its 64 passengers and crew after falsely claiming it hit the Pentagon, but which was confirmed by the CNN News Service not to have happened.

Not my personal theory but one of the most entertaining I have read, possible pretence for a war with Iran.

Re: The most entertaing theory yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46492009)

Tom Clancy eat your heart out.

Stealing an aircraft is rare and difficult. (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#46491935)

Some pilots have defected with their planes. If you do not count it as "theft" of aircraft it is very difficult to steal an aircraft. In my memory only this guy [tripod.com] managed to do it. But he had the advantage of becoming invisible if electricity passes through him and he had a remote controlled steel hand too. [wikipedia.org]

Five Years, On An Island (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491941)

Perhaps the pilot, or a hijacker wanted to offer once in a lifetime experience for the passengers: stranding on a mysterious island, somewhere in the South China Sea, hiding from a bunch of mercenaries wanting to destabilize China's stock markets and becoming a planefull of mysterious hooded heroes, fighting against those who are failing cities all over.

Plane probably hijacked for jihadi ops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46491953)

I read on Debbie Schlussel [debbieschlussel.com] how she thinks the plane was probably hijacked by Muslims on board to one of the Jihadi hotspots in the world, like maybe Somalia or Pakistan.

I agree w/ her basic theory, but think that this was an inside job. The pilots probably turned off the transponders and then flew for the next several hours. They could have gone to a number of nearby Jihadi spots, not necessarily as far as the Kazakh-Turkmen border:

- Mindanao, Philippines, for Abu Sayyaf/MILF

- Any Jemiah Islamiya/Lashkar Jihad base in Indonesia, including Aceh

- Yala, Thailand, which has a Malay backed Muslim insurrection

- Arakan region of Bangladesh/Myanmar, in support of anti-Myanmar Jihadi activities in the area

The idea behind it was probably to get such a plane down and study it so that they could figure out how to hijack future such planes and use them for 9/11 style attacks, except bigger in scale. One idea might have been to smuggle the plane into the hands of Jihadis in Pakistan or elsewhere, in return for weapons or other material that could be used in any of the above regions.

Worst Case Scenario (4, Insightful)

Idou (572394) | about 4 months ago | (#46491975)

How hard would it be to make this plane "reappear" as another plane with a flight destination of New York City? It would seem like a legit flight (might have to make another plane disappear, but you have already seemed to master that trick once).

Of course, by then you have had time to retrofit the plane with your crude nuke you have put together (hell, you have the entire space of the 777 to fit the thing, so it could more primitive than the trinity test. . . ). You could then deviate the flight only at the very last minute to the best possible position to detonate for maximized damage (fighter jets would have no time to respond).

Probably being paranoid here, but why else would you need a 777 that could only be used for a short time before being discovered?

Re:Worst Case Scenario (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46492171)

Here is some fictional writing I saw on reddit. It is a crazy story....... http://pastebin.com/d97LkvF7

        What is the craziest way the mystery of Flight 370 could end? by Brutussin AskReddit

        [–]z3ndog 423 points 19 hours ago

        Iran's Trojan Horse

        The pilot's wife and 2 kids were kidnapped and the pilot was contacted via his cell 15m before takeoff with pics of his family, tied up, gagged, with knives to their throats by masked bad guys. He was given instructions to turn off the transponder, turn to the west, and allow the 2+ Iranian terrorists (fake passports) into the cockpit.

        Immediately prior, the two terrorists removed a 250W High Power Waterproof OEM Signal Jammer with Omni-directional Antennas from their overhead luggage and activated it, effectively jamming all cell phone transmissions.

        The plane was directed to fly west across Malaysia and then redirected north to Myanmar's (Burma) Hanthawaddy International Airport in the Bago Region; Myanmar which is located about 50 miles (80 km) away from Yangon. This is a remote airstrip that was under construction and not expected to be opened until 2018; however, which was controlled by Syrian Islamists.

        The plane landed without incident and was taxied to a hanger under contruction where it was boarded by more Islamists with fully automatic weapons, including a highly trained Iranian Military pilot and 3 member flight crew. The Maylasian pilot and crew were taken outside and executed in a manner visible to the passengers. The pilot's wife and kids were simultaneously killed and subsequently buried in a remote field after the plane landed.

        The plane's communication electronics were completely disabled (turned off the satellite transmissions that tipped off authorities that the plane had not crashed and in fact this oversight was reported in the news). Once this was completed, the plane lifted off and turned to fly south across the Bay of Bengal and around the tip of India... then turned northwest over the Arabian Sea enroute to Iran. The plane was subsequently landed at Gonbad-e Qabus airport (also underconstruction) in the north eastern section of Iran.

        The hostages were moved to a remote prison to be held indefinitely.

        The plane was stripped of all Malaysian air identification and paint. It was then repainted to the specs of an Turkish Airlines 777 plane. The plane was retrofitted with military grade electronics (including electronic countermeasures (ECM) and radar warning (RWR) systems, chaff/flare dispensers; all pulled from a retired F14 Tomcat based in Iran from 2003). Additionally, the jet was equipped and armed with a fully operational nuclear bomb from Iran's now functional nuclear weapons program using the 240 pounds of 84% enriched Uranium from Natanz. This device was expected to produce a yield of 22 kiloton (40% bigger than Little Boy) and have an effective blast radius of 4.5 miles.

        Only April 14th, the Islamists bribed a local official at Trabzon (TZX) Turkey to enable the swapping of the Turkish Airlines TK 2837 airplane with the nuke equipped 777 that will now utilize the transponder from 2837.

        The plane departed TZX and skipped the scheduled landing in IST. Upon arriving near JFK, the plane's transponder was turned off and rapidly descended to 5000 feet with ECM activated... The FAA repeated the same mistake from 9-11 and doesn't notify NORAD about this anomoly as they investigated the details of the missing flight TK 2837. The plane turned southwest and proceeded across Philadelphia and towards the ultimate destination of Washington DC, where 4 F16's are scrambled from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base.

        As the fighters approach flight TK 2837, they noticed the ECM pod below the left wing of the 777 and declared the flight hostile. NORAD confirms via Presidential WH hotline that VP Joe Biden had authorized the shoot down of the 777. As the fighters engaged for a AIM-9 Sidewinder missile shot, the Iranian pilot deployed the chaff & flares causing the missile to miss... by this time the flight was within 3 miles of Washington DC... The pilot activated the trigger mechanism on his flight stick to the nuclear device causing an immediate detonation almost twice the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima causing catastrophic damage across Washington DC and the eastern seaboard.

        The End of the World as we know it and the beginning of WW III...

        Map Distance http://americablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/range-of-malaysia-air-flight.jpg

        Burnma Islam connection https://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/arabs-send-more-terrorists-to-burma-to-create-an-islamic-state-many-attempts-have-been-made-to-send-jihadists-to-myanmar/

        Jamming device http://www.jammerall.com/products/250W-High-Power-Waterproof-OEM-Signal-Jammer-with-Omni%252ddirectional-Antennas.html

        Landing Area (refueling) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanthawaddy_Airport

        Retrofitting/Staging Airport http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonbad-e_Qabus_Airport

        Iran's Nuclear Program http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_program_of_Iran

        Iran F14's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F-14_Tomcat

        Iran's nuclear capability http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_program_of_Iran

        Little Boy yield http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boy

        9-11 FAA & F16 scramble http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._military_response_during_the_September_11_attacks

Malaysia recruits witch doctors to find flight 370 (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 4 months ago | (#46491977)

Of course! Magic coconuts! Why didn't we think of this sooner?

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/malaysia-recruits-witch-doctors-find-missing-passenger-jet-article-1.1720770

Summary available (1)

spacefight (577141) | about 4 months ago | (#46492011)

There are tons of rumours spreading in mass media, most of it are not true or are outdated sooner or later. A good writeup is this article on AeroInside.com: http://www.aeroinside.com/item... [aeroinside.com]

But they KNOW it crashed (1)

rjejr (921275) | about 4 months ago | (#46492077)

First they lose the plane comepltelty, then it's found to maybe still be in one piece for 4 or 5 hours later with the engines still running, and it's over the Indian ocean, o rmaybe not, or maybe Bengal, and maybe it was was 45,000', or 25,000, and all this contradicting info is still coming out SEVEN DAYS LATER. Yet still thru all this all I ever hear any talking head say is - we know it crashed, even if they keep changing what body of water it crashed into. If they've gotten all this wrong before how does anybody know it crashed!?!?

Cui bono? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46492117)

Having stapled my tin foil hat to my head, exactly who benefits from this mystery? I'd say the CIA, which is in the hot seat for spying on their minders. Does the CIA have ECM/ECCM and suitable aircraft? Could they intercept, misdirect and cloak a 777 whilst jamming comms? Could they later 'discover' it to reinforce their importance? Or perhaps they intend to save it for a later false flag operation. It could have reached Diego Garcia. Just saying.......

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