Malaysia Airlines 777 Missing

According to CNN, air traffic controllers lost contact with the jet somewhere over Vietnam. The plane would be out of fuel by now, so it looks pretty grim. 239 people on the plane…

Don’t big planes like this one have some sort of beacon?

The Vietnamese navy has confirmed that the plane crashed into the ocean. Ships are on the way.

Prior to this, the Boeing 777 only had three prior incidents resulting in total hull loss, and only two of those were in-flight (the other was a cockpit fire at the gate). And of those two, Asiana 214 was caused by pilot error on the landing. So British Airways 38 is really the only serious 777 crash that was a direct result of a design fault with the plane. That’s a good safety record. Wonder what the hell happened here.

Yes. For that matter, even small airplanes have a locator beacon. Such beacons, however, do not provide pinpoint coordinates and you still have to find the airplane/wreckage in the landscape which, if it went to pieces or is underwater, can be a bit tricky.

Yep, and little planes have them too. It might not be very useful if it is deep in the ocean though.

I think Air France 447 redefined “too deep” into a near-meaningless term, given that they did eventually locate the black boxes and wreckage.

The modern ones are pretty good. They have a GPS receiver/transmitter that sends its position to SAR agencies via satellite. If the beacon is transmitting and in a position where it can be picked up by the satellites (ie not submerged) it is as close to pinpoint accuracy as you can reasonably get. And yes it seems that “too deep” is just a function of how much money you’re willing to spend.

They are now saying that no crash site has been located - looks like that was a garbled report. Still doesn’t look good, obviously.

So far there’s been nothing definitive in the news during the last 10 hours about what happened to MH370. One article reported two oil slicks spotted in the Gulf of Thailand, but I haven’t found other substantiation for that. The route map for MH370 shows that most of the flight path is over land.

This eerily reminds me of AF447 from Jun 2009 and its crash into the Atlantic.

447 went down in a bad storm which was a significant contributor to the crash - what was the weather like along the flightpath for this plane?

Yes, but in that case, at least there were ten or fifteen minutes of pilots trying to figure out a problem. Because that flight was further from land at the time, they didn’t interact with ATC.

This flight was closer to shore, and could/would have interacted with ATC if they were, say, spending the last ten or fifteen minutes trying to figure out a problem. But, unless the authorities are keeping something from us (which is possible at this point, and not necessarily for bad reasons), they DIDN’T. Which, in my surely naïve understanding, almost rules out the kinds of gradual mechanical/instrumentation failure which was a big part of that Air France disaster. Making this flight slightly MORE likely the victim of, say, a bomb (like Lockerbie) or exploding cargo item (like that TWA flight off of Long Island).

Not LIKELY, mind you, just slightly MORE likely than it otherwise would be.

P.S. Broomstick, the weather was perfect. No pitot freeze-overs here.

The AF447 reminder aspect was about its sudden disappearance followed by a long time before finding any wreckage or sign of where it went down.

If the weather was “perfect” then that leaves only three possibilities: either mechanical failure, or pilot error, or both.

If the plane is underwater it will take some time to find, even if the water is relatively shallow. I have no idea of the ocean depth where it went down, so… no clue how long it’s reasonable for a search to take.

La Republica in Italy is reporting that an Italian man listed as travelling on the flight, is in fact alive and well. His passport had been stolen in Thailand. AnAustrian agencyis reporting the same about one of their citizens.

True. Quite reminiscent in many ways.

What gets me and is disturbing are all of cameras shoved in the faces of the grieving family members. That’s probably business as usual for a situation like this, but still.

That makes me want to add a fourth option to Broomstick’s previous suggestions - pilot error, mechanical error, combo of those, and now terrorism.

I’m not familiar with Thailand and stealing passports, but it seems really fishy that two people from the same flight had theirs stolen and were still reported as being on the flight. Poor families.

The passports were stolen a long time ago (six months and two years, if the translations are correct). I think the people whose passports were used were never going to be on the flight. So unless it’s common for people to use stolen passports to sneak into China, it seems suspicious.

If I was a family member I’d take that opportunity to rearrange the position of the reporter’s microphone.

I once knew a woman who’s brother died in as plane disaster in Texas, a downburst at the DFW airport. He was on a flight back to KCMO, where his family was. Two KC tv stations called and tried to get interviews with the family and were told no. One station back off but the other was more persistent, and the family finally had to get rude to make them go away. As my acquaintance said “The only reason they cared about him was that he died with a bunch of other people, and they wanted a local angle on the story.”