The Travel Detective

Debunking MH370 Conspiracy Theories

MH_370As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now switches to the Indian Ocean, there is every reason to believe it may take many more days to locate the Boeing 777. Amidst all the MH370 conspiracy theories—and stories that make you believe there are some folks out there who saw too many reruns of “Lost,”—are some sobering thoughts based more on fact and reasonable approaches to possible scenarios.

Investigators (as I previously reported) are continuing to construct psychological profiles of the cockpit crew, to look at their lives and any interesting social, financial, or familial patterns. They are looking deep into their computer hard drives, their email trails, and their bank accounts.

They are talking with their wives, girlfriends, family members, and co-workers. Were there any unusual money transactions in the days leading up to the plane’s disappearance? Was there infidelity in their relationships? Had they been disciplined in any way by the airline for an infraction that might have negatively impacted their career path? Any brushes with the law? Any alcohol or drug use?

Nothing is being overlooked. This is standard procedure by the investigators. Does this mean they suspect the pilots? No. But it doesn’t mean they are not going to look closely into the human factors.

Now, let’s talk about engines and propulsion. There is growing evidence that the engines continued to run for at least three hours after contact with the plane was lost.

Weather: not considered a factor.

Cargo: this is the one area no one is talking about….but the airline, Boeing, and investigators are studying the cargo manifest to see what the plane was carrying in its belly. Were there any prohibited items, like lithium ion batteries, that could have started a toxic fire and incapacitated the crew?

Last, but certainly not least, is the growing mystery about the transponder and why it was turned off—and who might have disengaged it. This one piece of evidence is proving to be the most puzzling of all. At this point, there is no rational explanation as to why anyone would turn off a transponder, and no explanation why someone would intentionally, physically disengage the device. This is the one development that is truly stumping officials, because it threatens to take the investigation to a very dark place.

If the plane is indeed somewhere under the Indian Ocean, it may take weeks—if not months—for it to be found. Then, the real investigation work begins.

So, for the moment, it’s still one huge and troubling puzzle, growing more confusing every day. Again, everything at this point is speculation, and speculation in and of itself can be a dangerous game.

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By PeterGreenberg for