Flight 370 passengers may still be alive; 'pirated' Boeing 777 may return to skies as stealth nuclear weapon
The idea that Flight 370 passengers and crew may still be alive is not a bizarre theory. Even Reuters is now reporting that U.S. authorities have stated, "...it's also possible the plane may have landed somewhere."
Here's the evidence in support of this emerging "piracy" theory of what may have happened to Flight 370 and why the people who may have diverted it might also be planning on turning it into a weapon:
Five critical pieces of astonishing supporting evidence that Flight 370 passengers may still be alivePlease understand that I do not wish to create false hope for all those families who have greatly suffered through this ordeal. My heart goes out to them, and we can only hope these 239 passengers and crew are, indeed, being kept alive somewhere to be used as a bargaining chip for ransom or political purposes. Here's the substantial evidence in support of this theory:
• Fact #1: No crash debris has been located, despite an exhaustive search
The search for debris has involved over two dozen nations and is unprecedented in aviation history. If the plane had crashed in the ocean anywhere near its intended flight path, the debris almost certainly would have been located by now.
• Fact #2: The plane's transponder appears to have been manually turned off several minutes before other communication systems stopped transmitting
As the Associated Press reports, "...key evidence for 'human intervention' in the plane's disappearance is that contact with its transponder stopped about a dozen minutes before a messaging system quit."
This almost certainly means someone deliberately disabled the transponder (the device which transmits location to air traffic controllers).
Why would someone do that? Because they don't want to be tracked as they change course and take the plane to a new destination.
A Reuters article adds more detail:
Analysis of the Malaysia data suggests the plane, with 239 people on board, diverted from its intended northeast route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and flew west instead, using airline flight corridors normally employed for routes to the Middle East and Europe.
This adds some evidence to the idea that the plane may have been diverted to the Middle East. Together with the suspicion of stolen passports and the identities of those who traveled with them, this starts to paint a more clear picture in support of piracy as the underlying explanation, with possible ties to Iran (see more below).
What's especially fascinating to me in all this is that once the transponder was turned off, this massive aircraft apparently went into "stealth mode" where nobody could track it. Although this seems to defy the laws of physics and radar, we cannot argue with the fact that the plane was apparently untraceable as it flew for four hours after the transponder was turned off.
• Smoking Gun Fact #3: The plane's engines continued to broadcast performance data to satellite for four hours after radar contact was lost
This fact is really the smoking gun in all this. The Wall Street Journal has posted an excellent investigative article revealing that Boeing's own people have confirmed the plane kept flying four hours after disappearing off radar. As the WSJ reports:
The investigators believe the plane flew for a total of up to five hours, according to these people, based on analysis of signals sent by the Boeing satellite-communication link designed to automatically transmit the status of certain onboard systems to the ground. Throughout the roughly four hours after the jet dropped from civilian radar screens, these people said, the link operated in a kind of standby mode and sought to establish contact with a satellite or satellites. These transmissions did not include data, they said, but the periodic contacts indicate to investigators that the plane was still intact and believed to be flying.
Obviously, this system cannot continue to transmit data if the plane has crashed or exploded. The existence of these signals is very nearly conclusive proof that the aircraft continued flying and did not crash or explode. This eliminates most of the scenarios which would result in the death of passengers, and it strongly supports the piracy / hijacking scenario.
• Fact #4: The mobile devices of many passengers continued to stay online for days after the disappearance
The Washington Post has reported that phones of Flight 370 passengers were active and online for several days following the disappearance of the plane:
...a few relatives said they were able to call the cellphones of their loved ones or find them on a Chinese instant messenger service called QQ that indicated that their phones were still somehow online. A migrant worker in the room said that several other workers from his company were on the plane, including his brother-in-law. Among them, the QQ accounts of three still showed that they were online, he said Sunday afternoon. Adding to the mystery, other relatives in the room said that when they dialed some passengers' numbers, they seemed to get ringing tones on the other side even though the calls were not picked up.
This evidence also fits the piracy theory remarkably well. If the plane was diverted and landed with passengers alive, their mobile devices could have indeed stayed online by automatically connecting to cell towers. The pirates or kidnappers may have overlooked this and failed to confiscate and destroy the mobile devices, allowing them to connect as long as they had battery life remaining.
• Fact #5: Black box transponders are not broadcasting homing signals because the plane never crashed
Normally, when aircraft crash into the ocean, their black boxes emit homing signal transmissions so they can be located. But no signals were ever detected from Flight 370 black boxes.
Now that seems to make sense: if the plane was hijacked / pirated, then it never crashed and the black boxes are still intact, sitting on the aircraft. This may be why they cannot be found (and why there is no wreckage or debris).
Could passengers still be alive?If the plane kept flying for four more hours, then it was obviously being piloted with an intent to take it somewhere for some specific purpose. Anyone sophisticated enough to disable the transponder in-flight would have also been sophisticated enough to plan the final destination and landing of the aircraft.
As Reuters now reports:
Military radar data suggests a Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown hundreds of miles off course, heightening suspicions of foul play among investigators, sources told Reuters on Friday.
Anyone pirating a jetliner and diverting it to another location really only has two key assets to work with: The aircraft itself, and the passengers onboard.
Obviously, acquiring a large aircraft like a Boeing 777 would be a huge asset for terrorist groups who could turn it into a weapon. If this is the intent, then the passengers on board would most likely be killed, as they would serve no particular purpose to the hijackers. Sadly, this remains one of the possible outcomes of piracy, and I don't want to publish any false hope that might mislead families who have lost loved ones. Realistically, the odds of the passengers being alive right now are probably no better than 1 in 3, in my estimation. But that's better than zero chance.
A second possibility is that the passengers themselves are going to be used as bargaining chips in an elaborate K&R (kidnap & ransom) scheme. It's also possible that selected passengers have special value in some way we don't yet realize, and only they will be kept alive as bargaining chips while the others are killed by the hijackers. Sadly, this is another likely outcome of all this.
And yet, despite all the very negative possible outcomes, there does remain a legitimate scenario in which the passengers and crew of Flight 370 remain alive at this very moment, long after their plane was diverted to an unknown location and safely landed. If this is the case, then we would expect to sooner or later hear from the hijackers with their list of demands for the safe return of the passengers. Such demands, if they ever materialize, would no doubt be multinational in nature.
On the more pessimistic side, if the hijackers only sought the aircraft and not the passengers, then we will probably never hear from them until the day a Boeing 777 flying without a transponder in "stealth mode" delivers a terrorist weapon of some sort to whatever city is being targeted.
Turning a Boeing 777 into a nuclear, chemical or biological weaponA Boeing 777 is a very large aircraft and can obviously be outfitted with a wide variety of weapons systems by anyone with sufficient knowledge and technical skills (not to mention a soul of pure evil).
According to the Boeing website, the 777 has a "revenue payload capacity" of 112 tons, or about 102,000 kg.
With that sort of enormous carrying capacity, a Boeing 777 could be outfitted with elaborate, high-volume chemical spraying weapons, air-dropped biological weapons or of course a nuclear weapon capable of destroying an entire city. Technology also exists to remotely control large aircraft, and Iran in particular has already demonstrated its technical ability to seize control of U.S. military drones through a process of GPS-spoofing. In support of this feat, Russia just recently "electronically captured" another U.S. drone over Crimea.
Shockingly, the next time the world sees this aircraft may be when it deploys itself over a city like Tel Aviv and detonates a large nuclear weapon at altitude. The reason I deliberately choose Tel Aviv in this example is because there appears to be a possible link with Iran in all this, and the Iranian government leadership has reportedly said it wishes to see Israel wiped off the map. The elaborate nature of this aircraft piracy, if indeed this is the true explanation, also smacks of state-sponsored involvement. This is not the kind of operation that can be pulled off by a couple of yahoos trying to score some quick cash.
The fact that this aircraft was able to fly undetected for at least four hours after the transponder was turned off means the plane can very effectively be used as a "stealth" weapon of sorts, and it could theoretically be deployed over major cities across Europe, Asia, the Middle East or even North America.
Where is Flight 370 now? Pakistan, Iran both potentially in range of the landingAccording to this Boeing web page, the 777 has a cruising speed of around Mach .84, or around 650 miles per hour.
If the aircraft cruised for four hours after the transponder was turned off, it could have flown nearly 2600 miles, putting it just within reach of Pakistan, and possibly even southeast Iran if it flew at a slightly higher speed and had sufficient fuel. The Iran Shahr Airport, located less than 100 miles from the border of Pakistan, is conceivably within range and sits at an altitude of around 2,000 meters. This airport has a runway length of 7,711 feet, and according to page 16 of this document on the Boeing website, the required runway length for landing a Boeing 777 is less than 7,711 feet as long as the runway is not wet. This is true even if the aircraft is fully loaded and flying at maximum weight.
The aircraft was actually designed to take advantage of shorter runways. Even Boeing itself says the 777 "uses a new semi-levered gear, which allows it to take off from fields with limited runway length."
Thus, Flight 370 could have conceivably and successfully landed in Iran. Remember, too, that the aircraft was "using airline flight corridors normally employed for routes to the Middle East and Europe," according to Reuters (link above).
This flight path, however, would have put it directly over India, and it is difficult to imagine the Indian government not noticing a Boeing 777 aircraft flying over its airspace without a transponder. Then again, the Malaysian government seems to have no idea where the plane went, either, and so we may be dealing with regional military incompetence on these matters, or possibly some amazing new stealth technology that was somehow deployed on the plane.
To help explain where this aircraft could have gone, I put together this flight range map, showing the possible locations where Flight 370 could have flown in the four hours after it disappeared from its intended flight path: