Egypt Air 990, Malaysia Air 370 and... Germanwings 9525?yet another pilot suicide? (I know I'm not because someone already emailed me with the same suspicion).
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said a black box had been found, but did not say whether it was a data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.
“A black box was found and will be delivered to investigators,” Cazeneuve told reporters.The crew of the Germanwings flight did not send a distress signal, civil aviation authorities told AFP.
“The crew did not send a Mayday. It was air traffic control that decided to declare the plane was in distress because there was no contact with the crew of the plane,” the source said.France’s junior transport minister said there were no survivors from the crash.
Photos of crash site from the La Provence newspaper showed scattered black flecks across a mountain and several larger airplane body sections with windows, five in one chunk and four in another. French officials said a helicopter crew that landed briefly in the area saw no signs of life.
“Everything is pulverized. The largest pieces of debris are the size of a small car. No one can access the site from the ground,” Gilbert Sauvan, president of the general council, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, told The Associated Press.
Germanwings said Flight 9525 carried 144 passengers, including two babies, and six crew members. Officials believe 67 German nationals were on board, including 16 high school students on an exchange program from the German town of Haltern. Dutch officials said one citizen was killed.
Malaysian Air 370:
As the video reports, the pilots apparently turned the jet at the perfect spot - at the point where the jet was handed off from Malaysian to Vietnamese controllers. But if the Malaysian authorities found anything in their homes, they're not saying.Here's betting that the pilot is not Amish, Baptist, Catholic, Jewish.... Hmmm.
The Malaysian government had been looking for a reason to search the home of the pilot and the co-pilot for several days. But it was only in the last 24 to 36 hours, when radar and satellite data came to light, that authorities believed they had sufficient reason to go through the residences, according to the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.The officials emphasize that they don't know yet what really happened to the plane. But here's the best theory. To those of you who have been following it should sound familiar. It's the southern corridor theory."The Malaysians don't do this lightly," the official said. It's not clear whether the Malaysian government believes one or both the men could be responsible for what happened when the Boeing 777-200 ER disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. on March 8. The last satellite communication from the plane occurred at 8:11 a.m., Najib said, well past the scheduled arrival time in Beijing.That last communication, Najib said, was in one of two possible traffic corridors shown on a map released to the press. A northern arc stretches from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and a southern arc spans from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean."Due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite," Najib said.Because the northern parts of the traffic corridor include some tightly guarded airspace over India, Pakistan, and even some U.S. installations in Afghanistan, U.S. authorities believe it more likely the aircraft crashed into waters outside of the reach of radar south of India, a U.S. official told CNN. If it had flown farther north, it's likely it would have been detected by radar.Nonetheless for the last 36 hours, the U.S. military and intelligence community has been reviewing all satellite imagery and electronic data it collects from the region for any sign of an explosion or crash, according to another U.S. official directly familiar with that effort.Najib said authorities were ending search operations in the South China Sea and reassessing the deployment of assets."This new satellite information has a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search operation," he said.Investigators, he said, have confirmed by looking at the raw satellite data that the plane in question was the Malaysia Airlines jet.Well, if it didn't crash it landed on some abandoned island somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean and we'll hear a ransom demand sometime soon. That appears unlikely. Given the level of satellite information available today, it seems really unlikely that there would be an airstrip in the middle of nowhere that could land a 777 that hasn't shown up on the satellite data.The same conclusion was reached by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the Malaysian authorities, all of whom were working separately with the same data, he said.
If you're wondering how they flew out of the corridor undetected, this might have had something to do with it.
Hours before Najib's announcement, U.S. officials told CNN the flight had made drastic changes in altitude and direction after disappearing from civilian radar.Malaysian military radar showed the plane climbing to 45,000 feet -- which is above its approved altitude limit -- soon after disappearing from civilian radar screens and then dropping to 23,000 feet before climbing again, a U.S. official familiar with the investigation said.What's unsaid in all this is that Malaysia is - you guessed it - a Muslim country. As is Egypt.The jetliner was flying "a strange path," the official said on condition of anonymity. The details of the radar readings were first reported by The New York Times on Friday.
PS My travel agent talked me out of that flight a few months ago. She hates double connections.