I have mentioned this in previous blogs and that is hardly surprising. The plot changes daily but as a source of inspiration here are ten possible solutions.
1. Landed in the Andaman Islands
The plane was apparently at one stage heading in the direction of India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, the most easterly part of Indian territory, which lies between Indonesia and the coast of Thailand and Burma. It has been reported that military radar there might not even have been operating, as the threat level is generally perceived as low.
2. Flew to Kazakhstan
The central Asian republic is at the far end of the northern search corridor so it could hypothetically have landed there. Light aircraft pilot Sylvia Wrigley, author of Why Planes Crash, says landing in a desert might be possible and certainly more likely than landing on a beach somewhere.
3. It flew south
The final satellite "ping" suggests the plane was still operational for at least five or six hours after leaving Malaysian radar range. For Norman Shanks, former head of group security at airports group BAA, and professor of aviation security at Coventry University, the search should therefore start from the extremes of the corridors and work up, rather than the other way around. He thinks the southern corridor is more likely for a plane that has so far avoided detection by radar.
4. Taklamakan Desert, north west China
There has been speculation on forums that the plane could have been commandeered by China's Uighur Muslim separatists. Out of the plane's 239 passengers, 153 were Chinese citizens. One possible destination in this theory would be China's Taklamakan Desert.
5. It was flown towards Langkawi island because of a fire or other malfunction
The loss of transponders and communications could be explained by a fire, aviation blogger Chris Goodfellow has suggested. The left turn that the plane made, deviating from the route to Beijing, could have been a bid to reach safety, he argues. "This pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make that immediate turn back to the closest safe airport."
6. The plane is in Pakistan
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has tweeted: "World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance. Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in Northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden." But Pakistan has strenuously denied that this would be possible.
7. The plane hid in the shadow of another airliner
Aviation blogger Keith Ledgerwood believes the missing plane hid in the radar shadow of Singapore Airlines flight 68. The Singaporean airliner was in the same vicinity as the Malaysian plane.
8. There was a struggle
One of the hardest things to account for so far with an innocent explanation is the way the plane was flown erratically. It went far above its "ceiling", flying at 45,000 feet before later flying very low. Big fluctuations in altitude suggest there might have been a struggle, says Buzdygan. Post-9/11, cockpit doors have been strengthened against the possibility of hijack but there are still scenarios where access could be gained. Pilots talk to each other "over a beer" about how they'd deal with hijackers, he says. Buzdygan would have had no qualms about flying aggressively to try and resist a hijack. "I'd try to disorientate and confuse the hijackers by throwing them around," says Buzdygan.
9. The passengers were deliberately killed by decompression
Another theory circulating is that the plane was taken up to 45,000ft to kill the passengers quickly, aviation expert Sean Maffett says, and thus stop them using mobile phones once the plane descended to an altitude where mobile signal was possible. At 45,000ft the Boeing 777 is way above its operating height. And it is possible to depressurise the cabin.
10. The plane will take off again to be used in a terrorist attack
One of the more outlandish theories is that the plane has been stolen by terrorists to commit a 9/11 style atrocity. It has been landed safely, hidden or camouflaged, will be refuelled and fitted with a new transponder before taking off to attack a city disguised as an airliner.
Some of the above theories, because that is all they are, highly unlikely. The idea that it flew south to avoid electronic detection would seem to be the most sensible. The concept of flying north towards large land masses is unlikely because of the certainty of being picked up by radar that is at military readiness in some countries that would be crossed. Here are some of my own ideas:-
- The plane was detected in hostile airspace and was shot down.
- The flight was funded by a country hostile to China and the artists on board will be held to ransom.
- The plane has landed in the deserted Northern Territory of Australia
- The passengers are a team of Chinese espionage agents dispersed to spy upon and undermine western countries.
- The Japanese have shot the plane down as ongoing arguments between the two countries, over territory rights, continues.
Need I go on? The bottom line is that the aircraft with all passengers and crew has disappeared, no country has the definitive information on what happened, and currently it's a mystery!
On VG and running today.