The Clattering Train
Did the MH370 keep flying with dead men aboard? That suggestion was occasioned by a report in the Telegraph:
The global hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has shifted to a tiny island in the Maldives, where residents spotted a “low flying jumbo jet” hours after the aircraft disappeared.
Several witnesses in Dhaalu Atoll saw a plane heading south that bore the red stripe and white background of Malaysia Airlines planes.
The sightings, reported by a local news outlet, would have occurred more than seven hours after the plane, carrying 12 crew and 227 mainly Chinese passengers, lost contact with air traffic control and took its sudden westward turn during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of Saturday March 8.
“I’ve never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We’ve seen seaplanes, but I’m sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly,” said an witness.
Chris Goodfellow, writing in Wired, believes that there was an onboard fire that overcame the crew. But the plane continued on. "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."
Goodfellow thinks it was headed for Langkawi. That is at odds with the turn to the northeast and then to the northwest. But here's another idea. Suppose it just kept going from Igari to Vampi.
The bearing from Igari to Vampi is 263. The bearing from Vampi to Atisa, the waypoint near the Dhaalu Atoll, is 265. You can see how close they are in the graphic below. It's a straight line from Igari to Vampi to Itasi. It would take 7 hours to go from Vampi to Itasi at 200 knots.
There are several problems with this theory. It assumes the Maldives sighting is correct. It assumes the given radar data is wrong. It assumes the 777 had the range to go 1450 nm at 200 knots. It may be possible that the Malaysian Air Force radar data is wrong. But what about Inmarsat? It would have had to be on the 50 degree arc instead of the 40 degree arc as assumed. Could this have been an error in measurement?
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