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Monday, March 17, 2014

Malaysian Flight 370: The Ultimate Missing Persons Mystery

     The Malaysian Airlines Boing 777, an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur after midnight on March 8, 2014, disappeared without a trace. The plane and the 239 people aboard are still missing. Searchers from 25 countries utilizing 43 ships and 58 aircraft have not turned up one piece of physical evidence in the case.

     Without a single eyewitness account, or physical evidence, no one knows if this mystery is a mass murder-suicide, tragic accident, or something worse in the realm of terrorism.

     Except for tidbits of electronic evidence regarding the plane's erratic flight path, the media has little to report on. This has led to wall-to-wall speculation. A week after the disappearance investigators are directing their attention to the flight crew, particularly the pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 57 and his 27-year-old first mate, Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

      This line of inquiry, which should have been undertaken much earlier, suggests the authorities have not ruled out the possibility of a hijacking. This has led to speculation that the plane is sitting on some remote and abandoned airfield. If this is the case, it raises the question of whether or not the passengers are alive. If the hijackers are terrorists, probably not. If they are for ransom kidnappers, who knows?

     And if the plane is on the ground somewhere, what is step two of the plan?

     Even if the plane is eventually found on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the case will generate, for generations, conspiracy theories that in number and imagination will surpass the speculation that currently surrounds the JFK assassination. When major crime narratives are riddled with gaps, conspiracy buffs fill in the blanks. Many of the dots they connect will have been created by them.

     This case will end up, regardless of the outcome of the investigation, as one of the greatest mysteries of modern time.


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