Saturday, 14 June 2014

MH 370: Looking for Malice in the Absence of Answers?

In a post 911 world, it is certainly understandable that the spectre of aircraft hijacking will taint any airliner disappearance mystery; and it certainly seems like the media’s coverage of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 seems to periodically revisit the suggestion that the plane must have been either hijacked or sabotaged by someone.
As a pilot however, it bothers me that the ‘hijacking theory’ has -to some degree- centred on the 2 pilots; as is particularly the case on 24hr news channels on the mainstream media.
These media outlets seem very interested in blowing certain things out of all proportion such as any personal information they can obtain on the 2 pilots: Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid.
In the absence of answers, they seem to be hoping that analysing the lives of these 2 men can suddenly explain something as shockingly complex and meaningful as the disappearance of a modern long-haul aircraft.
The conspiracy theory centred on the 2 stolen passports used by the Iranian teenagers on board lead to nothing; and what a big deal that was made into at the time...
I would even suggest that the MSM would not have this level of interest in the pilots’ personal lives and potential for past misdemeanours if the pilots involved were not natives of a predominantly Muslim country.
So what are they 'revealing'? That the FO smoked in the cockpit and invited Australian girls into the cockpit to show off; and that the captain owned a flight simulator and had his own Youtube channel… nothing too sinister so far; and the 24hr news networks must be disappointed.
What I’m saying is this: Let’s not get distracted from the fact that 239 people are missing. They all have families who love them, they themselves love their own families and friends –Several of those passengers are children- this is a terrible thing that is happening...
...and the pilots are 2 of those missing people.
It seems to me much more likely that the pilots were faced with a depressurization than a  hijacking. Maybe the pilots were faced with a sudden depressurization which partially or fully incapacitated them both, or an insidious one where even the warning systems were ineffective for some reason.
Maybe they made a mistake; maybe they didn’t.
Maybe they were faced with a situation which is unimaginable to the rest of us just sitting at home.
Perhaps it is easier for the MSM to report on how someone ‘may have done something’ rather than reflect on the reality that in spite of all the technology available, a huge aircraft with 239 people on board can disappear for well over a week -so far.
To face the implications of this would mean to accept that the power structures which we trust, have less proficiency and capability than we thought they did.
To accept this would mean that the next time we get on a long-haul flight, we all could be quite literally flying into the unknown; truly putting our lives in the hands of those men and women in the cockpit, which we call pilots.
All I’m saying is: let them be innocent until proven guilty.
I'm off to see if I can do something helpful rather than look at the appalling 24hr news MSM coverage.
See you there?

Edited on 14 June 2014 for typos and syntax
Copyright © Francisco Rebollo 2014

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