It’s been nearly ten weeks since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Ten long weeks since the Boeing 777 along with her 227 passengers and 12 man crew simply vanished from the sky, presumably somewhere over the Indian Ocean. I say presumably because even after all this time investigators still aren’t certain where the plane is. Oh they have plenty of ideas and theories about what happened, but no solid evidence.
Ten weeks ago the disappearance of Flight 370 was front page news and for nearly two full weeks 370 remained the number one story on TV, radio and the internet, it was everywhere and every journalist wanted to talk about it, often repeating the same stories over and over again. But as the the search moved from one location to another and failed to yield results, interest began to wain. Just as the signal from the planes black box faded out so too the story that had once earned continued, front page coverage, featured articles and column after column of newsprint, fell from page one to page two, then three and so on and is now buried somewhere deep within the paper, reduced to a short article or a few paragraphs of coverage. Yep 239 people disappear without a trace and after a few weeks its old news. That’s news journalism for you.
Of course the media may have put the story on the back burner until it breaks again, but there are still plenty of people curious about what happened to Flight 370. A simple Google search of “Flight 370” will get you approximately 201 million results. A search of “Flight 370 theories” will get you 27 million results. People want to know what happened. The plane’s mysterious disappearance intrigues them, and like most of us, they would like that mystery solved.
Several people have become so wrapped up in the mystery that they have become “armchair detectives” and taken all the known facts and come up with some theories of their own on who was responsible for the planes disappearance, some plausible some not so. There are those who believe the plane was taken over by terrorists or hijacked. Some believe that the crew was behind it. And a large number believe the pilot, acting alone, did it. Why? Theories vary. Some believe the pilot was a hero who took necessary actions including turning off the flight recorders and changing direction and altitude, to avert a possible mechanical or electrical problem or other threat to the plane. Others believe he was part of the terrorist take over, while still others believe the pilot was suicidal when he took over the plane.
Okay and so what became of the plane? Again theories vary. The two most popular are that the plane was shot down or that it was landed safely and is being hidden somewhere. It would have to be a mighty big somewhere to hide a 777, like maybe the bottom of the ocean? Hello! My favorite theory is that the plane and everyone aboard was abducted by space aliens. In which case if life imitates art, everyone is still alive and well aboard the mother ship! I guess I like that one because it sounds so much like the Twilight Zone and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (great movie by the way.) Another silly theory is that the plane flew into a sorta black hole. A sorta black hole? Really? Some suggest a vortex of some sort or a new Bermuda Triangle. Perhaps the old one moves on occasion and we just don’t know about it. Right. But then they’re not any sillier than those who believe the planes disappearance is a sign from God that the end is near or the one making its way around the internet that its Obama fault!
The most plausible theory about the location of the plane is that it went down into the ocean. Even though no wreckage, oil residue, or black boxes have been found to substantiate this theory, it makes the most sense. A few days after the disappearance a pilot on CNN was interviewed about the possibility of the 777 making a soft landing on the ocean in much the same way as the miracle landing of a passenger plane on the Hudson River in 2009 which would leave little debris. The pilot told CNN that it would depend on a number of factors and “although highly unlikely it was certainly a possibility.” When asked how soon the plane would sink he again said it would depend on conditions including weather, roughness of the seas and damage to the plane but probably within minutes. Looking for the plane in the ocean has been compared with “looking for a needle in a stack of needles.” It’s gonna take time.
Whole bunch of questions, theories and speculation but not many answers. And we need answers, especially the families and friends of those on board 370 who would simply like some much needed closure. They are still caught up in the mystery of Flight 370 and what became of their loved ones. They need resolution. They also need to know that they and their loved have not been forgotten. Sadly the news media will only do the most modest of coverage on this story until the plane is actually recovered and becoming big news again. This is so wrong.
I believe the media should continue to report on Flight 370 each and every day until its found, even if its just a reminder that it still hasn’t been found or where the search is occurring. Television news should devote a minute or so each night to remind us that efforts are still being made to find the plane and it’s passengers. The internet and newspapers could run a short column on the front page or homepage giving us a brief report. “Flight 370 / Day 70 search ongoing -no results today. Efforts continue. Just a little something to tell the family and friends of those aboard flight 370 and the world that we care and have not forgotten. That would be the right thing to do. Now that wouldn’t be so difficult would it?