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(29,323 posts)
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 05:44 PM Mar 2014

One U.S. Theory: Plane's Disappearance 'Act of Piracy'

Source: NBC News

Investigators probing the missing Malaysia Airlines jet are examining the possibility the plane's disappearance is "an act of piracy," and that the plane may have landed somewhere rather than crashed, the Associated Press reported.

The AP attributed the information to a U.S. official who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and spoke only if not identified. NBC News has not independently confirmed the information.

The official told the AP the key evidence for "human intervention" in the plane's disappearance is that contact with its transponder stopped about a dozen minutes before a messaging system quit.

Another communications system on the plane continued to "ping" a satellite for about four hours after contact was lost with the Boeing 777 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing — an indication the plane may have continued to fly on for hours.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-jet/one-u-s-theory-planes-disappearance-act-piracy-n52941

And from AP:

Piracy and pilot suicide are among the scenarios under study as investigators grow increasingly certain the missing Malaysian Airlines jet changed course and headed west after its last radio contact with air traffic controllers.

The latest evidence suggests the plane didn't experience a catastrophic incident over the South China Sea as was initially suspected. Some experts theorize that one of the pilots, or someone else with flying experience, hijacked the plane or committed suicide by plunging the jet into the sea.

While other theories are still being examined, the official said key evidence suggesting human intervention is that contact with the Boeing 777's transponder stopped about a dozen minutes before a messaging system on the jet quit. Such a gap would be unlikely in the case of an in-flight catastrophe.

A Malaysian official, who also declined to be identified because he is not authorized to brief the media, said only a skilled aviator could navigate the plane the way it was flown after its last confirmed location over the South China Sea. The official said it had been established with a "more than 50 percent" degree of certainty that military radar had picked up the missing plane after it dropped off civilian radar. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_MALAYSIA_PLANE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-03-14-16-07-21
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One U.S. Theory: Plane's Disappearance 'Act of Piracy' (Original Post) JudyM Mar 2014 OP
Can't they just use "find my i-phone"? OffWithTheirHeads Mar 2014 #1
"It's 2016, and this is Nightline. Tonight we speak with the survivors of a plane that was pirated jtuck004 Mar 2014 #2
This message was self-deleted by its author sulphurdunn Mar 2014 #5
A four hour circle wouldn't be much smaller than the USA Fumesucker Mar 2014 #7
I know. Huge. And they shouldn't stop looking for other clues, but everyone in jtuck004 Mar 2014 #10
Hypothesis not theory. (I realize it was the headline and not you.) n/t Gore1FL Mar 2014 #3
That's a lot of corpses to deal with if you just want a plane. Barack_America Mar 2014 #4
The only reason I can think of sulphurdunn Mar 2014 #6
Could they come up with a more complicated plan? They have money, probably some of it ours, jtuck004 Mar 2014 #11
Thanks. I feel more confident sulphurdunn Mar 2014 #12
I hate to say people are wrong, because things do happen, but on the list of jtuck004 Mar 2014 #13
Of course, sulphurdunn Mar 2014 #19
That would be the way. I would go one step further - I would steal one empty of people jtuck004 Mar 2014 #22
It would be hard not to have sulphurdunn Mar 2014 #24
If they wanted to steal a 777 there are dozens of easier ways. jtuck004 Mar 2014 #25
Well, your argument sulphurdunn Mar 2014 #26
I'm open to other evidence anytime. <G> There is a place for imagination jtuck004 Mar 2014 #27
I am fine with the "accident" theory till I get to the part about multiple course changes.. EX500rider Mar 2014 #30
You are correct. All the theories have holes. And the more complex, the more holes. jtuck004 Mar 2014 #31
I'm with you on that. The idea of some terrorist group hijacking and taking a plane to some penultimate Mar 2014 #14
I don't think pirates are impossible or not worth at least considering. I just think the more jtuck004 Mar 2014 #16
What possible group would claim responsibility? seveneyes Mar 2014 #28
Beats me. sulphurdunn Mar 2014 #29
A little dark humor: Vietnam CraigsList Ad ManiacJoe Mar 2014 #8
Clever... and dark. nt JudyM Mar 2014 #9
heheheh lol penultimate Mar 2014 #15
While a lot of people may not find that funny Reter Mar 2014 #17
I'M pretty sure this dark humor may not be to far from the truth. sarcasmo Mar 2014 #21
Nice, but wrong country. jsr Mar 2014 #23
The turn PATRICK Mar 2014 #18
The guys with stolen passports were from? sarcasmo Mar 2014 #20


(15,882 posts)
2. "It's 2016, and this is Nightline. Tonight we speak with the survivors of a plane that was pirated
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 06:08 PM
Mar 2014

away in 2014. They emerged from the jungles of Asia this month where they had been kept by WalMart to fashion garments for their upcoming "Heritage Line".


Everyone wants to have a better story, as if they have been conditioned that it is bad to say "I don't know, but we are looking at every possibility".

They can play with scenarios, but until the plane is found all this is pretty much moot to anyone not directly involved in the search strategy. Spinning tales like this into a public microphone sounds like they are telling stories to effect some sort of reaction, and I am not sure it isn't cruel to those left behind and waiting, now with NEW nightmares. As if they didn't have enough already.

A sudden decompression at 35,000 feet takes everyone out of commission in less than 15 seconds, dead soon after. Any damage to the crew emergency O2, (something that has started a fire before in a 777), and they are dead. The plane has a history of wing damage, fatigue cracks in other 777s, has a fair number of hours on it, and without any of the usual public trappings of pirates other than those engendered by xenophobia, may have had an accident in a very, very dangerous place Small planes that are unpressurized can't even go there.

Draw a 4 hour diameter circle, rule out jet streams, search. Rule out the simple shit first, and find the plane.

Then we can chase pirates. Like Peter Pan.

Response to jtuck004 (Reply #2)


(45,851 posts)
7. A four hour circle wouldn't be much smaller than the USA
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 08:28 PM
Mar 2014

That's a lot of area to search for something that may have left a mark like the Value Jet crash..



(15,882 posts)
10. I know. Huge. And they shouldn't stop looking for other clues, but everyone in
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 09:31 PM
Mar 2014

that circle should be alerted and start looking. And they can look for pirates while they are out.

Just an aside -

Story in the paper today, a KC135R tanker, on post one day in Kyrgyzstan, checked over and in what appeared to be good order, took off and came down in flames about a year ago. Killed the three aboard.

Wasn't shot down. The nose started moving left and right, and the wings up and down in what they call a Dutch Roll. They radioed that it was shaking, then that the jet was "bent". It started to shake so violently that the tail broke off, then it went into a dive toward earth. That tore a wing off and the fuel exploded the plane in the air.

They think it may have been a worn rudder.

The A model of the plane had done this, but with more powerful engines and a bit of re-design they hadn't really seen it in the R, so the pilots weren't trained on how to deal with it in this new model. Regardless, they tried to come out of it with the training they had, which appears to have made it worse.

Things break, and I always rule that out before looking at more nefarious causes.



(6,891 posts)
6. The only reason I can think of
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 08:26 PM
Mar 2014

for the clandestine pirating of a commercial jetliner would be that someone intends to use it as a weapon. The level of sophistication and cost involved to pull something like that off would mean that whoever took it doesn't plan to fly it into a building. I know this is way out there, but a commercial airliner would make an excellent platform for delivering a nuke. I very much hope I am wrong about that.



(15,882 posts)
11. Could they come up with a more complicated plan? They have money, probably some of it ours,
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 09:39 PM
Mar 2014

so finding another delivery vehicle wouldn't be a problem. They don't need anything that big to put a bomb a few thousand feet above some big city and set it off. A quarter of the entire world would be focused on their actions, not the best way to remain stealthy. And there might well be people on board to shoot you these days.

Could be, but it sure sounds more like something from a Bond movie rather than real life.

Besides, the whole plane into a building has been done. I suspect any terrorist who is anybody would want to surpass that, with large electrical outages across the country, or perhaps biological agents.



(15,882 posts)
13. I hate to say people are wrong, because things do happen, but on the list of
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 09:55 PM
Mar 2014

probabilities it would seem a lot less likely than the odd mechanical problem someone missed.

People are funny. They worry about dog bites for which a few thousand people a year are treated, with about 10-12 killed in the worst years. Far more die of choking, poisoning, even tripping on something around where they live. They think nothing about getting in their car in which 35,000 people or so die every year.

But we were trained early on, probably when we were living in caves, to fear things with sharp teeth. And snakes. And even though those threats are nearly non-existent, that fear is way down deep in our heads and filters everything we see, hear, smell, etc.

That's probably partly why we have the world we have. We haven't learned yet how to identify the things we really ought to be scared of.



(6,891 posts)
19. Of course,
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 09:44 AM
Mar 2014

if I were going to steal an airliner I'd hide it where I took it from and in plain sight.



(15,882 posts)
22. That would be the way. I would go one step further - I would steal one empty of people
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 04:08 PM
Mar 2014

and possible air marshals and armed cockpit captains and the whole world watching...

I mean this would make it more of a challenge, but sometimes you want to get the job done.



(6,891 posts)
24. It would be hard not to have
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 07:56 PM
Mar 2014

people on board if you planned to steal it in the air. Logically, at least at this point, no better argument exists for a crash than for a hijacking, which is odd since such things are usually clear cut.



(15,882 posts)
25. If they wanted to steal a 777 there are dozens of easier ways.
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 08:35 PM
Mar 2014

And NONE of the evidence shows anything that couldn't be done by a damaged plane with 230 something dead people on board controlled by a malfunctioning and damaged electrical system, or by someone who survived a horrific decompression which incapacitated and then killed nearly everyone within seconds. And if there was damage, it may have continued as the plane went into the freezing air above 40K feet (where anyone who wasn't dead may have been killed) and then plunged to below 20,000 feet into warmer air and things thawed, moved around.

It is possible that a person or two could have been left alive, figured out how to move around in a nearly zero O2 atmosphere with an O2 bottle (although those are mostly fixed, but maybe they got to one in the attendant's area (or maybe that got loose and one blew up and started this) and got to the controls and tried to do something, with no radio, before it flew into the Indian Ocean somewhere.

Either of those possibilities are stronger than pirates.

Logically pirates, unless one is Peter Pan, are not the greatest threat. There are many more crashes related to malfunction than there are hijackings.

A 777 burned up on the runway after loading all it's passengers in FL, because the flight crew's oxygen was loose and started a fire. At an airport, with perfect weather, people right on top of it, a captain that emptied a fire extenguisher directly on the fire, and a massive, fast, and well-funded fire department on the scene in seconds. It destroyed the airplane and part of the airport, though everyone got out safely.

At 35000 feet that same accident puts everyone to sleep that didn't get O2 within 10 seconds, and death follows. There is no place to go.

Besides, there are still things we are learning about aircraft, including the new KC135 that arrived in Kyrgyzstan last year (from the base in my city). The first day it flew out of the airport and fell to the ground in flames within minutes. EVERYONE thought a ground rocket took it out, but the airplane was simply the first of that model to exhibit "Dutch Roll" like had been seen in the previous model, and it shook itself apart, a wing came off in the descent, and it blew up. They thought it had been designed out.

It could have been as simple as the oxy canisters that caused a fire in a jet years ago, supposed to have been shipped empty. Weren't.

It's not the first one that hasn't been found, either. There is a list of planes that have disappeared over that area, never been seen again. I am going to guess none of those were taken down by pirates. They found one a few years ago that had been lost for 50 years.

If was a pirate, trying to terrorize people by duplicating David Copperfield's vanishing airplane act makes it seem like they need to get retrained on how one encourages terror.

Even Malaysia, while banging down the "suicidal" captain and co-pilots doors are telling people it was probably taken over. Then why look for evidence that the captain downed it.

Not a big issue, perhaps, but the Indian Navy has a dozen ships out, and are using heat-seeking technology because Malaysia thinks Captain Hook grabbed the airplane and anyone is alive. If they are all dead and the plane is cold, which is far more likely, the search needs to be for visible stuff underwater and on land using scopes and radio sound gear and boots on the ground. That won't happen if they are wasting time searching for hostages. There are only so many resources out there.

People who don't know what happened often just make shit up, dragging up their worst fears, and bypassing the easiest, most common, and most likely possibilities for the dramatic and less likely.

Plus, there is still a lot of infighting and mistrust which has no place in this, and China said as much in their editorial.

One should note that the officials that are pushing this piracy idea are also the people that invited the Shaman to the airport to divine the location, He sat 3 guys on the floor. Had one pretend to be rowing a boat, the other pretend to be bailing it out, and the third held two coconuts in the air, (to keep them dry?).

Their officials seem to be strongly affected by symbolism and myth, and may not be the best people to be running this search. Which is why the U.S. is sending it's own ships under it's own direction to do what it deems necessary, perhaps.

I'm agnostic on the piracy issue. Perfectly willing to look at evidence of such and evaluate it, but what I am hearing is people weaving fantastic stories to fit evidence, not looking at the basics of what the evidence shows. And so far I haven't seen anything that a broken plane couldn't have done.



(6,891 posts)
26. Well, your argument
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 09:41 PM
Mar 2014

is impossible to refute, and I won't try, because you are probably right, but you will be very surprised if you're not.



(15,882 posts)
27. I'm open to other evidence anytime. <G> There is a place for imagination
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 11:27 PM
Mar 2014

that leads to a solution, but these are more like entertainment, and no one seems to be self-questioning how much
their thinking is impacted by the constant barrage of info feeding them fear 24x7.

They need to figure out how they hell they find a 777 that may have gone down in the ocean somewhere. If that's what the searchers are faced with, we might not see any sign of this plane for months, or even a couple of years, Even the so-called satellite confirmations are one day being interpreted to say the plane turned and flew across the Straights, the next they say it went out over the Indian Ocean, which means it didn't turn. OR it turned more than the very deliberate description of the route and the two turns they at first tried to portray it as having taken.

There are perhaps a half dozen planes in the nearer area that have disappeared and never been found, so there may need to be new technology applied if they can't narrow the search area a bit more.

Today I hear it ran for 7 hours, but the last I read it would not have had fuel for that time.

The problem is those who are left behind deserve this to be a still solemn sort of thing instead of an exercise for every bad scenario someone can spitball into the public sphere. But most of all they deserve everyone to be looking, and with the focus on finding the plane. When the story telling distracts from that it needs to stop.

I read somewhere a scientist said what you most likely hear if it is really a new discovery is not "Eureka" but "That's funny...".

So I welcome surprise


(10,904 posts)
30. I am fine with the "accident" theory till I get to the part about multiple course changes..
Sun Mar 16, 2014, 11:34 AM
Mar 2014

...some which appeared to be waypoints not on the way to the original destination..and the cascading failure of comm equip makes it look like it was shut off maybe, although a fire could have done that also, I just can't imagine a flight crew not calling in a MAYDAY after smelling smoke and diverting to closest airport. Radio, sat phone, cell phones, etc, none worked from the get go? And if they all were unconscious I have issues with the subsequent course changes, unlikely they had time to plot in some weird course while fighting a fire on board...seems like slapping on the auto pilot might be the most you would do..

On the hi-jacking/piracy side it does seem easier to buy a older jet sitting out in the desert somewhere then do this though if the plan is to use the plane later. Maybe the passengers rallyed at some point and tried to retake the cockpit and the pilot put her into the drink instead..

I lean towards the hypoxia theory but they all seem to have some holes in them.



(15,882 posts)
31. You are correct. All the theories have holes. And the more complex, the more holes.
Sun Mar 16, 2014, 03:38 PM
Mar 2014

Which is why I don't like to jump for the more complex without some data to back it up, and that just isn't there. Part of the problem is the quality of the info. First the reports had it coming in a turning here, going up there, now turning here and going out there...

The other is that there are likely people involved in this with motivations other than finding the plane, rescue if possible, and gathering the facts. There are dozens of agendas apparently at work here, so darn near any information is suspect.

I think both of those pilots were very good, and in an extreme emergency they might have first turned the ship to head back for the airport (easiest to aim for without any more thinking), and then died or been incapacitated.

So now you have a 777 with 200+ mostly dead or dying people on board flying through the sky, throttles still engaged, maybe autopilot on, maybe on an functioning improperly, maybe a pilots body flopped over on the controls as it defrosted and the plane veered, maybe the autopilot tried to kick something on - but as along as the plane has got thrust, it's going to try to just keep going till it runs out of fuel or some adjustment on a wing or something causes it to fall. And it literally could fly all over the sky, depending on what's going on with controls, wiring, bodies, all sorts of things.

It popped up to over 40,000 feet, (most pilots would know that is out of design specs and not go there, (but perhaps there was a fire or explosion, things broke, people are dying, grabbing for things as they lose coherence, bodies falling over, lots of possibilities here) then took a steep dive down, then back up to 20ish thousand. The planes are actually built to kind of keep going in flight with those thrusters, and that up or down could easily be the plane's autopilot (or some other control) trying to get it back to what it thinks is level. And with the differing stories, those "turns" may not look much more gradual than they are letting on.

I'm open to the possibility of more sinister deeds, but I also know there are people in important positions who wake up every day looking for pirates, seeing them behind every door, ready to do battle:

who are often oblivious to the impact their imagination has on their judgment. Sometime pirates really are make-believe.

I can't see a single shred of factual evidence that the plane operated outside the more-or-less likely behaviors that we could expect from a broken machine that just lost all human control, or maybe that of a single person or two who got into a cockpit and managed to move the sticks a little, but with no radio couldn't figure it out.

I am open to new info, however


(1,110 posts)
14. I'm with you on that. The idea of some terrorist group hijacking and taking a plane to some
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 10:29 PM
Mar 2014

secret runway to prepare it for some super horrible terrorist act seems a bit far fetched. Obviously it's possible to use planes as missiles, but they would have done that while it was still in the air. Why risk flying it back somewhere in which it would then need to be refueled and hidden? Then it would have to get to the target. I suppose if we wanna get really really out there, we could say they have an EMP weapon or they want to detonate a nuclear weapon at a high altitude (I don't believe this is the case at all), then why not just buy/lease/rent a plane that would be large enough to carry such a device?

I think it's time we all face the fact that nothing crazy is going on here. Sadly this probably just another case of an airplane being abducted by aliens in their preparation for the invasion of Earth. I suspect the governments of the world already know this though. You know all that stuff in eastern europe? It's all a ruse that our governments are in on to trick the aliens into not knowing that we're actually having a world wide mobilization of troops to defend against the impending alien invasion.



(15,882 posts)
16. I don't think pirates are impossible or not worth at least considering. I just think the more
Fri Mar 14, 2014, 10:51 PM
Mar 2014

normal possibilities could result in what most of us have heard by now with a damaged aircraft at 35,000 feet. The plane may not be static if damaged, or there might be someone or a few at the controls who managed to survive with supplemental O2 and is/are trying to figure it out, but is afraid to drop it into the ocean. 'Till it falls.

I think that's even more likely than the "pirates took the plane and vanished it like David Copperfield".

But perhaps.

Big, big search area. Perhaps that radar data is worth anything. We shall see.



(4,631 posts)
28. What possible group would claim responsibility?
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 11:45 PM
Mar 2014

What could they gain? If it were a religious sect, how would the majority react to such a religion? If they were able to wipe out a large city, would it bring them sympathy, or an effort to reduce their numbers and influence?



(6,891 posts)
29. Beats me.
Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:48 AM
Mar 2014

I was just speculating that whoever did it doesn't want to go public, and I don't know why. Taking out a large city would have economic and political consequences that might benefit certain interests. I don't know, but I do wonder.


(23,968 posts)
21. I'M pretty sure this dark humor may not be to far from the truth.
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 01:33 PM
Mar 2014

Ask for Fariq needs to be replaced with, the real names of the two Iranians who had the stolen passports.


(7,712 posts)
23. Nice, but wrong country.
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 04:39 PM
Mar 2014

It's pretty hard to land a 777 undetected in Vietnam. The whole country has good radar coverage, and a fairly extensive cellphone network.


(12,229 posts)
18. The turn
Sat Mar 15, 2014, 08:46 AM
Mar 2014

If the story about the analysis of the sudden flight change and total loss of communications holds, then maybe it was a hijacking or a really too complicated kidnapping. If a plot, then having it revealed that this aspect of covering their tracks is blown ruins an overly clever, overly grandiose scheme. Since any hijacker scenario makes so little sense you want to believe in mechanical failure no matter the facts.

Maybe Shangri-La needs a new High Lama.

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