In the past 24 hours there have been some positive developments in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet. It now seems most likely that the plane crashed in the Indian ocean. Until the wreckage is found I urge caution as to what might have happened during the flight.
In particular I caution against making the assumption that there was some kind of terrorism involved in the disappearance of that flight. There are many other possibilities to consider.
First of all, the Chinese and the Australians are leading the way in pin pointing what might be wreckage, but to date all we can do is state the obvious, that they have spotted some flotsam in the ocean. We will know more when the ships in that region actually find the flotsam and it gets identified as being part of the missing aircraft but until then, we simply do not know.
Second point to consider here is the alleged telephone call on a telephone that was purchased in secret. My first thought when I heard about this was not that the captain of the aircraft was in touch with terrorists, but that he used the phone to make contact with a secret lover. His current wife is young and she has 2 young children, but he also has adult children. The man is a moderate where Islam is concerned, and his wife is not compelled to wear the usual garb, neither is his daughter. On the other hand, the phone might have been purchased in order to make contact with other members of the Social Justice Party of which he was a member. He was a support of Ibrahim the jailed former Prime Minister who had trumped up charges raised against him by the current regime. Just like the terrorists they fear someone listening into their conversations, but these are not violent or fanatical people.
Third point to consider is the likelihood that something on board the flight went wrong aka some kind of mechanical failure. This leads me back to the bracket of the transponder. Boeing had a notice regarding the transponder bracket for this particular jet. There is a requirement for airlines to do a maintenance check to look for cracks in the bracket. If the check had not been done to date, then there are implications. As far as the flight is concerned, one possible scenario, though unlikely is that the transponder bracket cracked. As a result, there might be a slow decompression that would cause both crew and passengers to lose consciousness. This would lead the plane to keep on flying until it crashed.
The explanation that I have given, although it is most likely what happened, does not explain why the plane was seen to veer off course as though it was returning to Kuala Lumpar. This could be easily explained if one takes into consideration the skill and dedication of the captain of the aircraft. The change in course is an indication that the two pilots recognized that something was wrong and that they were either attempting to return to Kuala Lumpar or at least find a location where they could safely land the jet. The direction of the new flight path does in fact suggest one particlar location. If, after changing course the cabin crew could not control the situation that had developed, and in fact had been rendered unconscious as a result of something happening on board the aircraft, then that could explain the trajectory of the new flight path.
Until the wreckage is located we simply do not know the nature of what happened on board. I believe that it is wrong to start screaming terrorism as some have done, just because the pilot and co-pilot are Muslim. These men are professional people and in the case of the pilot, he was a man dedicated to his family as well as to his job. The fact that he had his own simulator is a sign of how much he loved his job as a pilot. It is not a sign that he was involved in furthering Islam via acts of terrorism. There are other possible explanations and until the wreckage is recovered, and the accident investigation teams get to work, we will not have any definitive answers. Until then, I believe that it is totally wrong to blame either pilot on board for the disappearance of the jet. This includes claims that it was a suicide.
Accident investigations are very thorough and the assigned investigators will get to the truth of what happened. If, after examining the wreckage in minute detail, they cannot find evidence of any mechanical failure, or of say a bomb going off, only then can anyone deduce “suicide”. Too much has been made of the fact that the pilot had certain political affiliations. This man was too professional to allow such affiliations rule his life to the point that he would risk everything to kill so many people. We have to wait and see.