"All right, good night," were the last words spoken by co-pilate Kuala before the crucial signalling system of the Boeing 777-200 had stopped transmitting signals. Carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, the Malaysian Flight 370 lost contact with air traffic control about 40 minutes after take-off on March 8.
The question everyone is asking concerns the cause of the communication malfunction and the plane's misdirection. Officials speculate that it is either a technical malfunction or a terrorist highjacking, and that there are few reasons for why the pilots were likely to be involved.
First, when asked whether the communication was cut off before the co-pilot's last words, the Malaysian defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein remarked: "Yes, it was disabled before."
Second, the sheer complexity of the feat suggests that experienced pilots must have been involved. The flight path was diverted thousands of miles from its planned route with a duration of four hours. Furthermore, given the dramatic assent to 43,100 feet along with a sharp, uneven decline to an altitude of 23,00 feat, it is likely that in order to perform such manoeuvres, a deliberate act on behalf of aviation professionals occurred. Professor Turkoglu, a senior lecturer in aeronautical engineering at City University London, states the following: "It is extremely difficult for an aircraft to physically, however heavy it might be, to free fall."
Third, it is unlikely that the pilots could have missed the warning signals that indicate the communication malfunction. "I think they would certainly notice it," Professor Turkoglu remarks, "if the Acars [Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System] systems failure or downgrading would be alerted, the crew would be alerted."
Evidence is not sufficient to determine whether or not the pilots' involvement was performed willingly or under coercion. Given the sequence of events, they cannot rule out the opinion that the pilots disabled the Acars and diverted the flight-path deliberatly. However, if the pilots were to be coerced by terrorists, than it must be assumed that the terrorists highjacked the plane in a remarkable time of 26 minutes of flight.
The FBI investigated two Iranian suspects who were travelling on the plane with stolen passports. However after a number of investigations into the lives of these two men which including extensive interviews with their respective family members, the FBI have concluded that the suspects are more likely to be smugglers—not terrorists.
Although, according to Professor Turkoglu, "there is an argument that something, somebody, who has the expertise, had something planned," Malaysian authorities have not singled out either the crew, pilots, engineers, or any of the passengers as being responsible.
Regarding the location of the plane, "the whole world is looking for it," says CNN headlines. Currently, 11 countries are scoping out approximately 10,000 miles in diameter—an area spanning a vast area that includes the Indian Ocean and the terrain of Central Asia. According to Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the United States navy Seventh Fleet, the search is "like looking for a person somewhere between New York and California. It's that big."