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More Theories But Still No Sign Of Missing Malaysian Jet

A Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency pilot scans the sea below for any sign of Flight 370.
Edgar Su
A Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency pilot scans the sea below for any sign of Flight 370.

The search continues for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people on board. They disappeared on March 8 when the jet apparently turned west while over the Gulf of Thailand. It was on a flight that should have taken it from Kuala Lumpur north to Beijing.

Now, a search that stretches far to the south in the Indian Ocean to far to the north in Central Asia is underway. The area covers more than 3 million square miles.

Tuesday's headlines help highlight the latest developments:

-- "Lost Jet's Path Seen as Altered via Computer." The New York Times writes that "the first turn to the west that diverted the missing Malaysia Airlines plane from its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in the plane's cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems, according to senior American officials."

-- China begins land search, finds no links to terrorism among its passengers: "China says it has started searching its territory for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, while Australia has narrowed its search area in the south," the BBC reports. "Efforts to find the aircraft are focusing on two vast air corridors north and south of the plane's last known location."

Meanwhile, the BBC adds, "China said no evidence of terror links had been found in Chinese passengers."

-- "Could Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have slipped by radar?" CNN asks: "Could a massive passenger jet slip past radar, cross international borders and land undetected? That's a key question investigators are weighing as they continue the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished March 8 on a flight between Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Beijing.

"Radar does have some blind spots, and it's possible to fly at lower altitudes to avoid being spotted, analysts told CNN. But experts are divided over whether that could be what happened to the missing Boeing 777."

-- "A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet." On Wired's website, pilot Chris Goodfellow explains why he thinks there's a good chance that a fire knocked out some of the plane's communications systems — and that the pilots were trying to get to a runway on the Malaysian island of Palau Langkawi. He concludes that:

"What I think happened is the flight crew was overcome by smoke and the plane continued on the heading, probably on George (autopilot), until it ran out of fuel or the fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. You will find it along that route — looking elsewhere is pointless."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.