The plane departed from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8, with its destination being the Beijing Capital International Airport. The last known location of Flight 370 was near the east coast of Kota Bharu, and soon after it failed to check in with Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control.
Malaysia’s military officials have stated that they believe the plane may have turned around and flown west shortly after losing contact with Malaysian air traffic control.
“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” a senior military officer said.
Someone inside the cockpit, believed to be the co-pilot, made Flight 270’s last verbal communication with air traffic controllers at 1:19 a.m., saying, “All right, good night.”
Recently information has emerged that states there was a programmed change in direction entered at least 12 minutes before the plane’s co-pilot signed off to air traffic controllers.
Authorities have not produced much evidence to substantiate any theories, despite multiple parties scouring the seas surrounding the plane’s route, which has reportedly widened into an area the size of Australia.
Speaking of Australia, possible debris was found in the southern Indian Ocean, launching an investigation. According to Australian officials, the larger of the objects measured up to 79 ft long and appeared to be floating in water several thousand meters deep, and the second object was reported to be about 16 feet) long. Unfortunately, these allegations do not hold much air, due to the many previous claims of found debris that have not been verified or proved.
“The entire search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles,” Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said. “This is an enormous search area. And it is something Malaysia cannot possibly search on its own.”
As of this week, a U.S. ship has withdrawn from the search; however, Malaysian officials seem to be warming to offers of help from American intelligence agents, and there are several FBI agents on the case.
While there have been rumors regarding terrorism and the two men using false passports, nothing has been reported to confirm these allegations.
Rigorous background checks of everyone on the plane have failed so far to discover anyone with a motive, whether political or criminal, to hijack or deliberately crash the plane, according to Western security sources and Chinese authorities.
Unfortunately, the more time that passes, the more difficult Flight 370 will be to find. Debris will be shifted and dispersed, and the more resources that will have to be devoted to the case. Given the lack of achievement thus far, success does not seem eminent.
One hope may be the flight recorder, which emits an ultrasonic beacon that could be picked up by submarines, but it only has a battery life of 30 days.
“After 30 days, the flight recorder goes blank and we go blind,” said Michio Kaku, a physics professor.
As the clock ticks and the days go by, investigators don’t get any closer to discovering the lost plane. Meanwhile, the phrase “it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack” seems to be particularly accurate.