Actually, I am agnostic on the very existence of aliens from another world or wormholes or that kind of thing, but you have to start considering some pretty bizarre scenarios at this point.
I’m probably a little more knowledgeable than most people (hardly an ‘expert’, but a little more knowledgeable) about aircraft and the communications type stuff involved. You know, US Navy and all.
So, I think what might be perplexing a lot of folks right now is….there are almost no non-supernatural/extra-terrestrial scenarios that fit, other than maybe some highly skilled pilot-hijacker who could basically shut off all the automatic signaling devices, like the IFF transponder, fly under the radar coverage, evade satellite detection and land the plane in some pre-determined location where it can be quickly hidden.
Of course, that would mean there are 239 people to account for and no one’s demanding ransom so far as we know.
So in other words, the one natural, same-dimension-as-the-rest-of-us scenario that might fit seems so unlikely that I, at least, don’t believe it. Then again, if you had told me that a 777 jetliner could have any kind of accident – mid-air, over water or over land without some indication something had gone wrong – a distress call, an explosion detected by someone – and that even if this had happened no one would find any trace of the plane for almost a week, I would have said that was a practical impossibility, too. There is just too much stuff on an airplane that squawks no matter what happens, the whole idea being that if some sudden catastrophe takes place you’re still going to find what’s left in fairly short order. Even with AirFrance 447 in ’09 they found debris after a couple of days and that was pretty much over the middle of the Atlantic, which is way more remote than the anything on the flight path of this one.
As a practical matter, the longer it goes with no trace of anything, the less chance anything is going to be “found” – like debris, other than the “black box” which has a beacon that can’t possibly have stopped working.
So in other words:
1. The highly skilled pilot-hijacker scenario is so unlikely I don’t believe it.
2. The absence of any evidence at all after almost a week that the plane has been destroyed or crashed through a bomb or some natural catastrophe leads to, at the very least, significant doubt that either of those things actually occurred.
That leaves as wide an opening for some sort of paranormal/supernatural occurrence as you’re ever going to get. Right? Or am I wrong?
Update: Well, there’s been quite a bit of information since I posted this, so I think I should address the matter again.
Now, I found the skilled hijacker scenario unbelievable, but since I wrote that it appears that certain of the automated communications devices were deliberately disabled (but not all of them) and so now we must re-evaluate. Also, it appears that the plane was deliberately diverted westward and flew pretty close to the point that its fuel would have run out, and maybe it did run out of fuel and crash into the Indian Ocean, although you’d think someone would have found something by now.
So at this point the skilled hijacker scenario has legs. But it also has some problems.
As for “legs”, there is a fairly believable scenario at this juncture. The plane was hijacked by a skilled hijacker, the pilot(s) did what they could to avoid endangering anyone else or helping the hijackers to complete their mission, and they were somewhat successful in that the plane never reached its hijacked destination and either ran out of fuel over the Indian Ocean or perhaps there was some kind of altercation in the cockpit and in the melee the plane was crashed into the sea. Or perhaps the hijackers blew it up mid-air, in which case it wasn’t so much a hijacking as a terrorist act like 9-11.
Of course if any of that happened search parties should find something soon. Something. So the jury’s out on a crash scenario of any kind, hijacker or no.
But going a little further with the hijacking scenario, you can’t rule out yet that the plane was landed somewhere. If the hijacker was skilled enough to disable so many systems that would have tipped off authorities, he would also be skilled enough not to just crash the plane but to deliver it to wherever it was that he was supposed to be hijacking it to, and skilled enough to hide it once he got it there.
Yet another scenario is that one or both of the pilots are the “hijackers”, with some mysterious agenda that at this point it’s very difficult for me to fathom.
In any scenario that does not involve a crash, of course, there are 239 people to be accounted for. Let’s not forget that. Ugh.
Finally, until search and rescue finds something – anything – UFO’s and Wormholes or some other supernatural cause are not off the table. If you don’t rule that out in advance because you can’t accept something like that, that is.
Update 2: As some on twitter have noted – and which I had forgotten about, oddly enough – there is a US Naval Air Station at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, and I’m sure a 777 could land there, if indeed it could make it that far, though I don’t know whether it could or not.
That puts the US Government in the cross hairs of the usual conspiracy theory suspects, of course. Not that I’m buying anything like that, mind you.
Then again, could Diego Garcia have been the target in a 9-11 type suicide mission that failed?
Update 3: This is a good article, via CNN.
Our previous consideration of supernatural causes, never really too heavy, has been pushed to the outer margins at this point. Actually it really belonged out there as soon as it became apparent that transponders and other auto-communnications devices were deliberately disabled.
There’s a lot of focus on the pilot and co-pilot right now, as in some kind of pilot suicide. While I realize this kind of thing has happened (very rarely) before, there would have to be some really good evidence to convince me that either one of those guys did this. It is likely they would both have had to be in on it. Very hard to swallow that one.
Most plausible to me at the moment? A hijacking. A sophisticated hijacker, perhaps bent on a suicide mission to crash the plane into the Diego Garcia US Naval Base. Similar to the 9-11 style of attack, turning a commercial airliner into a missile. Lots of innocent people terrorized and killed.
The two pilots may have foiled the effort and crashed the plane in the attempt, perhaps deliberately running out of fuel or something.
Some people are still thinking the plane landed somewhere, but while I suppose that’s possible – just barely – I can’t see it as having any likelihood given all the other evidence. As between that and the pilot-suicide scenario, I’d opt for the latter, and I just find that one too hard to accept at this point.
Update 4: So here’s a pilot writing on CNN.com saying that the Boeing 777 can essentially fly itself, even with auto-pilot off, for a good long ways and that some of the manuevering that has been alluded to in other reports is consistent with such a scenario. This lends plausibility to the “sudden, catastrophic decompression” scenario in which everyone on the plane is more or less instantly knocked out.
Ugh. 11 days later and things are just as confused as they were at the beginning. For a while there it seemed that a deliberate act, such as a hijacking, was a certainty. No longer.
A very tragic situation for anyone who had a loved one onboard.
Honestly, I don’t see much point in speculating further. If they don’t find the aircraft – and it appears we may never find it – it’s just going to remain very much a mystery.
The black box emits a signal and remains active for about 30 days. If the plane is underwater, that is. But of course like everything else we don’t know that one way or the other, either.