By Ashish Dave
It was 8th march, 2014, as usual the airport seemed normal at Kuala Lumpur, a flight was set to take off at 12:42 PM, the planned destination for that flight was Beijing Capital International airport. It contained 12 Crew members and 227 passengers, most of the passengers were Chinese; of the rest, 38 were Malaysian, and in descending order the others came from Indonesia, Australia, India, France, the United States, Iran, Ukraine, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Russia, and Taiwan.
Pilot who was flying was Fariq Hamid, 27 year old, this flight was a training flight for him, the last one, after this he was set to be fully certified, another person was Zaharie Ahmad Shah, he was the main pilot and also the trainer for Fariq Hamid. Zaharie was handling the radios where Fariq flew the flight.
After departure from Kuala Lumpur, at 1:01 PM, Zarine reported that they had leveled off 35000 feet, a bit unusual as the pilot was supposed to report when they left the altitude, not at arriving one. Sooner after that at 1:08 PM, the flight set out across the south china sea towards Vietnam, again Zarine reported that the plane leveled 35000 feet. ( was that a decoded message that, he was not supposed to report that again )
At 1:19 PM, as the plane was about to enter the vietnamese air-traffic jurisdiction, the controller at Kuala Lumpur radioed “Malaysian three-seven-zero, contact Ho Chi Minh one-two-zero-decimal-nine. Good night.” Zaharie answered, “Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero.” He did not read back the frequency, as he should have, but otherwise the transmission sounded normal. It was the last the world heard from MH370.
The plane did not check in with Ho Chi Minh or answer any attempts that were raised to them. Let me give you an overview of the radars that are used to track a plane so that I can explain to you the path of the MH370.
One of the radar is called secondary radar, to make it similar imagine a signal that is being sent from a plane which includes information like the altitude or the airplane’s identity, so this radar depends on the signal that is being sent from the airplane itself. Another radar is called primary radar which does not depends on airplane’s signal, this radar relies on simple, raw pings off objects in the sky, The advantages of the primary radar are no on-board equipment in the aircraft is necessary for detecting the target and can be used to monitor the movement of vehicles on the ground.
Now that we understand the radars, at 1:21 PM just after the plane crossed the vietnamese airspace, the symbol representing it’s radar dropped from the secondary radar, The Kuala Lumpur station did not notice that the plane just disappeared from the secondary radar due to heavy air traffic but when they did, they assumed that the plane is beyond its range and in hands of the Ho Chi Minh. The question that arises here is that how come the airplane’s radar just dropped it’s signal after crossing the vietnamese airspace, was it planned ?
On the other side, Ho Chi Minh was supposed to contact Kuala Lumpur immediately if the plane is late by 5 minutes or more, but they contacted them after 18 minutes which means the plane was not on any radar for 18 whole minutes. What ensued was an exercise in confusion and incompetence. Kuala Lumpur’s Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre should have been notified within an hour of the disappearance. By 2:30 a.m., it still had not been. Four more hours elapsed before an emergency response was finally begun, at 6:32 a.m.
Initially, the search was started in the South China sea, an international effort by 34 ships and 28 aircraft, but they found nothing in that area. After some days that data collected from the secondary radar showed that the plane turned to the southwest, flew back across the Malay Peninsula, and banked around the island of Penang. From there it flew northwest up the Strait of Malacca and out across the Andaman Sea, where it faded beyond radar range into unknown.
On March 15, a week after the disappearance, an British satellite company called ‘Inmarsat’ disclosed the MH370 had continued to link up with their satellite for six hours after the it disappeared from the secondary radar however they can not provide the exact location but they did determine that it might be somewhere between Java southward into the Indian Ocean to southwest of Australia and the other stretching northward across asia from vietnam to turkmenistan.
It shows that the initial search conducted was at the wrong place, the south china sea. The initial search of surface waters ended in April 2014, after nearly two months of futile efforts, and the focus shifted to the ocean depths, where it remains today.
The first piece of debris was not found until July 29, 2015, when the right wing flaperon was discovered on a beach on the French island of Reunion, about 3,700 km (2,300 miles) west of the Indian Ocean area that was being searched by Australian authorities. Over the next year and a half, 26 more pieces of debris were found on the shores of Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and Mauritius.
Three of the 27 pieces were positively identified as coming from flight 370, and 17 were thought to have likely come from the plane. Two pieces came from the cabin interior, suggesting that the plane had broken up, but whether the plane broke up in the air or on impact with the ocean could not be determined. Study of the Réunion wing flaperon and a piece of the right wing flap found in Tanzania showed that the plane had not undergone a controlled descent; that is, the plane had not been guided to a water landing. The debris locations were used to narrow the search area in the Indian Ocean, since some possible crash sites would have been unlikely to produce debris that would have drifted to Africa.
The government called off their search in january, 2017, An American company, Ocean Infinity, received permission from the Malaysian government to continue searching until May 2017, when the Malaysian Transport ministry announced that it would call off that search. In July 2018 the Malaysian government issued its final report on flight 370’s disappearance. Mechanical malfunction was deemed extremely unlikely, and “the change in flight path likely resulted from manual inputs”.
In a world of technology where each moment of a person could be tracked by social media, a whole plane just vanished and no one knows where it is. Questions like what if the Ho Chi Minh had contacted Kuala Lumpur just after 5 minutes when the plane did not arrive there instead of 18 minutes or what if Kuala Lumpur had started the rescue search earlier, would it make any difference?. It all remains a mystery to us how and why MH370 disappeared.
So what are your thoughts on this :).
Was it planned or was it just a strange coincidence….