As more time has gone by without the discovery of Flight 370 — it’s now been eight days — more new theories have arisen to try to explain the mysterious tragedy. Now the most compelling new theory claims that hijackers flew on a well-known aviation route to a remote island in the Indian Ocean.
Because so little has actually been confirmed regarding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the only thing authorities have been able to do is theorize what happened to the massive aircraft that was carrying 239 passengers. The latest developments in this mysterious and tragic case suggest the plane may have been hijacked and deliberately flown off course into the Indian Ocean, though another new theory claims that the lithium batteries on board may have brought the plane down.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Was It Hijacked? Are Passengers Being Held Hostage?
After reports claimed that the plane flew off course after about an hour and a half of flight time — and that it allegedly stayed in the air for at least four more hours — an analysis of radar data by Reuters was released on March 14 suggesting that the plane wasn’t just blindly flying into a wayward direction.
The data analysis reportedly showed that the plane was following navigational waypoints — which are generally only known by pilots and aviation experts — towards the Andaman Islands, a remote cluster of islands south of India. This purposeful flight path possibly suggests that hijackers — or a pilot acting under the direction of a terrorist group — planned to take the Boeing 777 to an unknown location, either to hold the 239 passengers hostage or to later use the massive aircraft for a future attack.
The hijacking theory is also supported by the fact that Flight 370’s two communication devices — the data reporting system and the transponder — shut down 14 minutes apart. The extended time in between shut downs suggests that the devices were turned off manually, because a crash or a fire would have shut them down at about the same time.
However, the theory that someone hijacked Flight 370 and then landed it on a remote island has its holes. The theory presumes that the jet’s staff was either complicit in or incapacitated during the hijacking. And just on a basic level, it would be extremely difficult to land a Boeing 777 jet on an island without being detected by anyone.
Did Lithium Cause Flight 370 To Crash?
Another new theory that is being floated is not so much about where the plane may have crashed, but how. Investigators are now looking into the possibility that lithium batteries — which were on board — are responsible for the crash, according to CNN. Lithium batteries, and their highly flammable, highly explosive nature, have been blamed for plane crashes before, like when the UPS Airlines Flight 6 went down in Sept. 2010.
But lithium batteries don’t exactly explain the whereabouts of Flight 370, which leads to another theory — that the plane is tragically sitting on the seafloor between Malaysia and Vietnam. Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China reported a “seafloor event” in those waters at about the same time the aircraft went missing. “Judging from the time and location of the two events, the seafloor event may have been caused by MH370 crashing into the sea,” said a statement posted on the university’s website.
But that’s all assuming that the plane did in fact go down.
The only thing we really know is that we don’t know enough yet. Stay tuned for more developments on this enthralling but horrifying story.
— Andrew Gruttadaro