“Good night Malaysian three seven zero.”
Those, according to a transcript of radio communications released today by the Malaysian government, were the last words between the air traffic controller and the cockpit of Flight 370, the missing Malaysian airliner. The plane went missing early March 8 with more than 230 passengers aboard.
The search to locate Flight 370’s wreckage continues still at this hour. Those are all painstaking hours looking for what is akin to a needle in a very large, wet haystack. Imagine looking at your carpet, one square inch per hour and trying to find a dead flea. Only catch is the flea might be in or under the carpet fibers, not on top. Australia has taken over the lead on the search as it is believed Flight 370 deliberately diverted its course from traveling north to China to the south. Searchers have covered over 45,000 square miles of ocean. Uncertainty still exists regarding where the plane is or why the path changed. To view a complete timeline of events, click here.
The Gulf of Thailand and surrounding Indian Ocean
But how do you lose a plane?
You might think the TSA’s budget is by far large enough to track a ginormous aircraft and in turn find said aircraft if lost. Or maybe you are thinking the TSA is too busy with this. Actually, if you’re thinking any of this, you shouldn’t be since the TSA is not responsible for for finding this plane. Their responsibility encompasses who gets on the flight (and more, like touching us inappropriaely). The responsibility of finding the flight is up to the search team, composed of civilians, government officials, and navy commanders.
It is really not possible to answer the question of how an airplane is “lost.” We have to look at the situation as the plane vanished from our modern-day technological advancements. It was too far under the radar to be tracked. It flew in the shadow of another plane. It disabled all tracking and communication abilities. These are all theories and the possibility that nobody will no the answer is becoming day after a day, more of a reality. Even today, leaders in the search rush admitted it was possible the plane might never be located.
But it’s rare that a plane disappears. It has only happened a handful of times through history. Flight 370 seems similar to the 1962 disappearance of Flight 739 Super Constellation, where 107 people are presumed to have perished. With only days remaining before the beacon on the flight’s black box continues transmitting, time is nearly running out to, at the least, provide a sense of closure to the families spending days grieving and questioning if the information they have heard from their government is truth.
So what’s next? Well if you have a few free minutes, you could help with the search process. Digital Globe, located in Colorado, has positioned a number of their satellites to scour the Gulf of Thailand in an effort to assist with the search operations. People like you and I can help with the process by helping search. That’s right, you can pin possible wreckage, oil slicks, and debris by clicking on the ocean waves.
For continuous Flight 370 updates, follow the BBC live reports.