There are two objects floating in the Indian Ocean but chances are they're not the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared 13 days ago.
For four days Australians have been going through satellite images of the thousands of square kilometres of ocean off its west coast. Yesterday it was revealed they found two objects which were about 24 meters in length. This prompted a huge effort to find and identify what they were. But when you look at images that are four days old (the objects were spotted on March 16) you have to remember those objects are probably no longer anywhere near their original location. Which makes the whole system seem a little bit, well, dumb. Aviation Safety Expert and Managing Director of Baines Simmons Australasia, Stuart Hughes, is skeptical of the significance of the objects. “I have doubts that you’d have a piece that large. I guess that it depends how many planes came to grief and that’s something we don’t know at this stage.”
Here's what we do know:
There are two 24 metre objects somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
A plane is still missing.
There's a lot of junk in the ocean.
The plane is not in Israel. If it was in Israel, the Israelis would know about it.
Oh, and speculation by CNN that the plane got sucked into a black hole have also been shown to be unlikely, since a black hole would suck up the entire universe. In which case, it's more likely that the plane has either crashed or landed somewhere on earth.
Iranian experts have said that a likely explanation is that the plane has landed in a huge military base that has the ability to throw up a digital force field to prevent detection.
Like one of the 30 or so that they've got.
Or this one—Diego Garcia is an island which has nothing but a US airstrip and navy support base. The landing strip is long enough to handle a plane the size of MH370, and the pilot had practiced landing there on his simulator at home. Just north of the island, in the Maldives, residents saw a plane flying really low and it had red and white stripes on it, seven hours after it left KL. Maybe someone should call the base or something.
Each country in the region has monitoring systems which track all planes that fly in their airspace. But they only track planes above a certain height—it's possible to avoid all detection by flying low to the ground. Malaysian aviation specialists tried this out with a simulation and found that while it would have been dangerous, it would have been possible to turn the plane around at the last point that data has been recorded and fly straight back over the Malaysian peninsula at a low enough altitude to avoid detection. Eyewitnesses have said they saw a low-flying aircraft off the east coast on the day.
The problem is that you can't rule anything out. China says they didn't detect the plane flying in their airspace, as does Kazakhstan. It would be undiplomatic for the Americans or Australians to suggest that they might be lying, so they haven't done that. Apart form flying across the Indian Ocean, the other option is that the plane flew straight across Kazakhstan right into that murky zone we call the Middle East.
Hughes says that it's possible we're not getting the whole story from our governments. “I imagine that there is information that they don’t want the media to know just yet,” he said. “How that’s being handled between the countries might be completely different to how it’s being handled in the media.”
For now we can look forward to thrilling live tracking of Australia's HMAS Success as it makes its way out into the middle of nowhere to look for some junk that was in the ocean four days ago.