by Lauren Fredericks
Twenty-six countries are united in the search for Flight 370, a Malaysian plane that ceased communications after takeoff early March 8. The plane, with two hundred and thirty-nine people on board, was heading northeast towards China. It suddenly lost communication after about an hour, afterwards making a sharp southwestern turn, heading towards the southern Indian Ocean. Investigators are mystified at the plane’s disappearance. They believe someone with knowledge of the plane and its systems intentionally switched off the ACARS system and the transponder, as the two systems failing simultaneously is close to impossible. The loss of these systems prevented the plane from communicating or being seen by civilian radar. However, detailed background checks have been run for every person on board, with no hints of terrorist intentions.
Last week, an anonymous expert source voiced his belief that the plane most likely flew south, ran out of fuel, and crashed. On March 24, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced to the public their conclusion that the jet did indeed crash into the Indian Ocean. The search was moved 685 miles north on March 28 after officials determined the plane was flying faster than previously believed, and would have burned through its fuel faster. There have been 370 objects sighted that may be part of the plane, but no wreckage has been confirmed.
Officials worry about the future of their search, for neighboring countries are proving to be difficult. Thailand waited until March 18 to release radar data that spotted a plane in an unscheduled area, claiming that the previous questioning had not been specific enough. Several other neighboring countries are also being less than helpful. Most are unwilling to let search planes, which can also serve as spy planes, fly over their territory.
Although the situaton is beginning to look bleak, people from several different countries are continuing to search for the plane, hoping to bring peace to the many anxious families around the world.
Sources: CNN, The Chicago Tribune, Fox News