It’s been two weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 went missing, and even though many leads have come and gone over the course of the 14-day period, we’ve basically been at square one all along. We’re still asking the question that’s been driving us mad since March 8: where the hell is this plane? But even with more than 25 countries looking for the aircraft and a whole lot of speculation as to where it went, the truth is we may never know what transpired on the potentially fatal flight to Beijing. There are almost as many theories as there are questions on MH 370’s whereabouts. Here are some of the wilder ideas about what happened to the flight.
10. It turned into a “zombie plane/ghost plane”
Some think the aircraft may have flown for hours after everyone on board died from fumes or loss of cabin pressure. Could the plane have drifted on its own before exhausting all fuel and crashing? Though CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux says the “zombie plane” theory isn’t totally outrageous, it’s unrealistic given the “behavior of the plane and the crew” of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, as the plane soared to 45,000 feet and turned around. That said, the description itself doesn’t sit well with many people given the grave nature of this search.
“I really don’t like the term ‘zombie plane,'” said William Waldock, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “That connotes a sinister aspect to it. But, I’d prefer it to call it a ghost plane. But, we have seen things like this before.”
9. It was swallowed up by a black hole
CNN has considered a lot of unusual things about MH 370, including the possibility of a black hole and supernatural involvement. Last week, Don Lemon questioned on behalf of Twitter users whether black holes, the Bermuda Triangle, or a Lost-esque scenario played any role in the disappearance, stating, “I know it’s preposterous, but is it preposterous, do you think, Mary [Schiavo]?”
Schiavo, the former U.S. Transportation Department inspector general, said “it is” a preposterous notion, adding, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe so we know it’s not that. [The] Bermuda Triangle is often weather and Lost is a TV show … I always like things for which there’s data, history — crunch the numbers, so for me those aren’t there but I think it’s wonderful that the whole world is trying to help with their theories and I actually love their theories.”
8. It traveled to a secret island like Lost
Some have likened MH 370 to an episode of series Lost, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2014. Though many have taken to Twitter to crank out tired jokes about the TV drama happening in real life, POLITICO correspondent Ben White said it best when he tweeted, “This is not a freaking Lost episode. These are people’s lives.” It seems the people behind Lost understand this as well. At the TV show reunion last week, MH 370 questions were off limits.
Authorities concluded that two passengers on board were traveling with stolen passports, opening up the possibility of terrorism and hijacking. Malaysian police said these people were probably seeking asylum. If it was indeed an act of terrorism, why hasn’t anyone stepped up to take credit? Or did the supposed terrorists’ plans go awry?
6. Courtney Love found the plane
As more countries joined the growing team to locate the missing aircraft, Courtney Love decided to give it the old college try as well. The celebrity took to Facebook to post a photo taken near Pulau Perak, where she said the plane had been last “tracked”:
Though many were quick to say it’d be insane if she actually found the aircraft, Tomnod promptly debunked the theory and said it was most likely a boat that Ms. Love spotted in the water. Props to her for using her star power to contribute to search efforts.
5. It really wasn’t all that complicated
As even more theories flooded the Internet last week, pilot Chris Goodfellow brought a novel concept to our attention in a Google+ post republished on Wired. What if the disappearance wasn’t a result of something sinister or conspiratorial after all? What if there was merely an electrical fire and the pilot didn’t have time to call for help before passing out? Goodfellow attests the pilot must have changed course because of an emergency on the plane — a fire, perhaps — and headed for the nearest airport. So why didn’t he notify anyone on the ground of the situation? Well, “[a]viate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the mantra in such situations.” In other words, it’s better to act quickly in crisis than waste time calling for help. Goodfellow concluded, “What I think happened is the flight crew was overcome by smoke and the plane continued on the heading, probably on George (autopilot), until it ran out of fuel or the fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed.”
As it goes with many broad statements and explanations, this one wasn’t well-received with everyone. Slate described the viral article “simple—to a fault. Take other major findings of the investigation into account, and Goodfellow’s theory falls apart…[W]hile it’s true that MH370 did turn toward Langkawi and wound up overflying it, whoever was at the controls continued to maneuver after that point as well, turning sharply right at VAMPI waypoint, then left again at GIVAL. Such vigorous navigating would have been impossible for unconscious men.”
4. It landed on a hidden airstrip
I hope the passengers on MH 370 are alive, and if that turns out to be true, the plane landed on a remote airstrip somewhere. The unfortunate aspect of this theory, however, is that it indicates the plane is “waiting to serve a dark purpose in terrorism, crime, or global political intrigue,” according to Forbes writer Donald Frazier. A Boeing 777 would also need at least 5,000 feet for landing space, which is hard to come by in remote parts of the world. Frazier continues, “Taking this aircraft, whoever did it, would require inside knowledge, a professional’s skill at piloting a Boeing 777 — and a complex motive. Anyone like this, the reasoning goes, would have a destination in mind.”
3. The rapture is near
Forget the reality that life is unfair. Anne Graham Lotz, the offspring of well-known preacher Billy Graham, believes the MH 370 tragedy could indicate the end of times. A couple of days after the plane went missing, she wrote in a blog post that this could mean very, very bad things are ahead, “Is this a small snapshot of what the entire world will experience the day after the rapture of the church? Because the Bible is clear. There is coming a moment in time when Jesus will come back to gather to Himself all those—dead and alive–who have put their trust in Him. And on that day, the world will be asking, Where have all the people gone? Not just 239 of us, but millions of us.” I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting really sick of “end of the world” theories, and this one is pretty disrespectful to those with loved ones on the flight.
2. Geraldo Rivera: ‘the plane picked up a ‘secret passenger’
You can always count on Fox News to keep things interesting. Speaking on Fox and Friends, Geraldo Rivera said the plane could have been hijacked in order to pick up a “secret passenger.” Fellow Fox firebrand Bill O’Reilly couldn’t believe the “lunacy” he was hearing and asked Rivera during an episode of The O’Reilly Factor, “Why do you do this? I mean, you’re a good correspondent, uh your whole career you fought to prove that … I’m sitting here at home and I go ‘why is he doing that?’ … Did you go to a psychic, did she tell ya?”
1. Rush Limbaugh: ‘Someone shot down the plane’
Nearly a week after MH 370 made news, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said the plane might have been shot down by an aggressive country that tried to cover up its actions after media outlets began reporting on the story. “How about the jet is flying along and you have a total electronic failure but the engines keep working?” Limbaugh posed to audience members on March 14, continuing, “So then the crew says, ‘We got to get back home. We got to get back to Kuala Lumpur. We can’t fly with no electronics.’ It’s dark, nighttime. They fly over a bunch of unfriendly countries, and they can’t identify themselves, and they’re not identified, there are no lights on. There’s been a total electronic failure. What if some hostile country flew up there and shot it down and then discovered their mistake and nobody wants to admit what happened?” Of course, Limbaugh wasn’t sure whether it’s even realistic to assume a flight can go on without electricity, but he said his “guess [was] as good as any.”
At this point, there are too many ‘guesses’ to keep track of. What we really need is substantial evidence to track down these poor passengers or at least give their family members the closure they desperately need after two hellish weeks of uncertainty, confusion and sleepless nights. For their sake, I hope we figure out what went wrong with MH 370. They shouldn’t have to spend the rest of their lives wondering what happened to their loved ones on a flight that was supposed to be safe.
Share your thoughts on MH 370 in the comments section if you have anything to add.