Why Would Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Be Diverted To The Andaman Islands? Data Analysis Suggests Plane Could've Headed There
For the past week, we've been transfixed by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a fully-loaded 777 jetliner which mysteriously disappeared on the way to Beijing from Malaysia's capitol, Kuala Lumpur. Now, some authorities have developed a theory as to the missing plane's whereabouts: The plane could have been diverted towards the Andaman Islands, an archipelago situated in the Bay of Bengal, between India and Burma.
This theory wasn't reached by hard evidence, but extrapolation: Sources involved in the flight investigation, cited by Reuters, claim the most recent radar data available for analysis suggests Flight 370 wasn't erratic or aimless when it disappeared, but rather was following a series of navigational waypoints that are normally used to fly to the Andaman Islands.
A U.S. official anonymously agreed that a person may have diverted the flight, calling it possibly "an act of piracy," reports the Associated Press.
It's important to note that the data doesn't conclusively show that the plane ever reached the Andaman Islands, or even flew over. But that the plane travelled along a distinct flight corridor before vanishing has caused some officials to consider that Flight 370 may have been deliberately diverted from its destination, by someone who knew how to fly the massive craft.
According to a Malaysian police official: "What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards."
There have also been reports Friday from U.S. officials suggesting that the way Flight 370's communications systems shut off is indicative not of a catastrophic or unforeseen accident, but a deliberate move to isolate the plane from the rest of the world. That's because data shows that the night the plane went missing, its reporting system cut out at 1:07 AM Malaysian time — a full 14 minutes earlier than when its transponder went dark.
The staggered switch-off times lead U.S. officials to suspect, as do their Malaysian counterparts, that whatever knocked out communications on Flight 370 was neither a mechanical nor a human accident, but a deliberate decision to cut out.
And, OK, these are fleeting images — theories pieced together from scant evidence to try to solve a tragic mystery that's captivated much of the world. And as those 239 people aboard no doubt have countless friends and family members in states of intense grief right now, it'd be grossly unfair to suggest anything as fact without it being proven so.
But slowly, inch by inch, a clearer picture seems to be forming. According to those Reuters sources, the Malaysian government is now requesting cooperation and access to radar data with nearby countries Indonesia, Thailand, and India — the last of which boasts a naval base in the Andaman Islands.