”Whatever you do, Don’t tell anyone.”
-Queens of the Stone Age, “Lost Art of Keeping a Secret”
That doesn’t make much sense, but obviously nothing seems to at the moment. The world lost a plane. Literally lost one; they can’t find it. Sure, debris has been discovered, but that could be anything. It’s the ocean; people throw stuff and pee (what does that have to do with anything?) in it all the time to the chagrin of marine life that is forced to float around with your trash and urine. What did they ever do to humans other than drowning and eating them every once in a while? We do that in bulk every day to their species (except change “drowning” to “land suffocation”). Now apparently we crashed a plane into their home.
Here is brief rundown of what happened: 227 passengers and 12 crew members take off on March 8th; the flight loses contact with air traffic control an hour later; a search begins; the search is widened; allegations against Fariq Ab Hamid and his sexy parties arise; Pouria Nourmohammadi and Seyed Mohmammed Reza Delavar stole some passports to earlier board the missing plane (probably wanted new names); the search is widened even more and 12 countries join in on the treasure hunt; they discover the last known signal (a week later); deliberate tomfoolery is confirmed; more people join in on the search; they discover the flight path was changed (over a week later); insurance payments begin; files in flight simulator were deleted; people see a bunch of things in the ocean in various spots; US sticks their nose in the situation; more floating objects sighted; search continues; relatives are updated as if they haven’t turned on a television in over two weeks; a confirmation of the flight’s fate is narrowed to a specific location; the search is suspended after they found out where it could be (hmm?); transcripts are released; and now they have no clue and are going back to the old criminal investigation scenario (Harjani, 2014).
Realistically, shit happens. There’s always the risk that something is going to malfunction or short out or leak or whatever, or even the pilot could mentally malfunction and have a serious breakdown because of a series of unfortunate events. We shouldn’t be ridiculing plane manufacturers or the psyche of pilots because this rarely happens. There are approximately 93,000 flights across the world daily, and they misplaced one plane. How many times have you looked for your keys today?
However, society loves conspiracies, government cover-ups, airplane theft, terrorist attacks, and conjuring up scenarios that are more media-friendly than a simple mechanical error or carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, when the pilots said, “Good night,” does that mean all communication is turned off and flight controllers just went on break or home for the evening? You think the plane would still be monitored even though the pilots didn’t want to talk to their colleagues anymore. Maybe they fell asleep or maybe they just couldn’t take it anymore? Let’s take a look back at some famous disappearing acts.
Amelia Earhart: The famed disappearance of the woman that pioneered female drive and growth in the air (Smith, 2014). Her fate over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 raised myths about spy operations, alien abductions, and whether or not women can operate any sort of vehicle.
The Bermuda Triangle: The strange enigma that’s bordered by Bermuda, Miami, and Puerto Rico has swallowed ships and aircrafts whole without any explanation (Smith, 2014). As conspiracy theorists look to the galaxies for answers yet again because apparently aliens have nothing better to do in an entire galaxy than mess with our heads, the paranormal phenomenon has focused on the disappearance of US military property from 1945-1963, but maybe the operators and passengers would rather have danced with the girls on South Beach or relaxed on the sands of Bermuda because they wanted to avoid going to Puerto Rico.
D.B. Cooper: The elusive and fraudulent, “Dan Cooper”, hijacked a Boeing aircraft in 1971, somehow extorted $200,000 in ransom, and escaped out the rear exit of the aircraft via parachute (Smith, 2014). The FBI’s conclusion: assuming he didn’t survive the fall. Great work, guys. Not only has this mystery been unsolved, but the story lives on about the coolest mother fucker around (wherever that may be).
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571: In 1972, 45 people disappeared over the Andes (not the mints, the mountain range). All passengers were assumed dead until 72 days later 16 people from the flight remarkably appeared. The 1993 film “Alive” was inspired by these events (Smith, 2014). If you are familiar with the film, it has forever instilled the question to ask when a dinner conversation is dying, “If you were forced to survive, which body part of your friend would you eat first?” I would say the butt or the calf.
Honorable mentions worth looking up: TWA Flight 800, Air France Flight 447, Helios Airways Flight 522, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, Egyptair Flight 739, and BSAA Avro Lancastrian Star Dust (aliens again) (Smith, 2014).
Being that many of these flights happened near or over water, it’s very difficult to discover the key that unlocks the mysteries: the elusive and all-knowing black box (though they are actually orange). Oceans are large, 71% of the earth is covered in water. An aircraft’s black box looks to be around 2’ x 1’. If I was good at math I would take the time to compare the ratio of a needle in a haystack, but hopefully you take the expression as is.
This is a tragic situation, but we could be on the brink of another mystery. Pray for the families of the missing passengers if you pray, stop and think about your loved ones as they travel, and safely arrive and return from your destinations. This shouldn’t change your mind about flying, but considering I’m writing this before I leave on a jet plane, I’m hoping that I’ll be back again.
Spoiler alert: I made it.
Harjani, A. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/101485972 on March 28th, 2014
Smith, O. (2014).Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10702745/Malaysia-Airlines-MH370-10-more-aviation-mysteries.html on March 28th, 2014