Terrorism less likely

March 12th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Interpol has identified the two men travelling on stolen passports on a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner.

Both were Iranians who boarded the plane at the same time.

Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble said last night the two men travelled to Malaysia on their Iranian passports, then apparently switched to the stolen Austrian and Italian documents.

He named them as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, and Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, 29, and said information discovered about them made terrorism a less likely cause of the plane’s disappearance.

The terrorism theory weakened after Malaysian authorities determined that one of the two men was an Iranian asylum seeker.

Malaysian police chief Khalid Tan Sri told reporters the 19-year-old Iranian man was believed to be planning to enter Germany to seek asylum. He said the man was not believed to be a member of a terrorist group.

He said the young man’s mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with the police. He said she contacted Malaysian authorities to inform them of her concern when her son didn’t get in touch with her.

Still not sure why the stolen passports were needed, especially as they managed to leave Iran on their Iranian passports. The mystery continues, but sort of reassuring that terrorism is less likely.  Hopefully the plane wreckage will be located in the near future.

Stuff reports:

Malaysia’s military believes it tracked a missing jetliner by radar, flying low over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country’s east coast, a military source says.

In one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history, a massive search operation for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, now in its fourth day, has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, said.

The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast. The airline said on Saturday (local time) that radio and radar contact with Flight MH370 was lost off the east coast Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

The development injects more mystery into the investigation of the disappearance of Saturday’s flight, and raises questions about why the aircraft was not transmitting signals detectable by civilian radar.

The mystery deepens.

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35 Responses to “Terrorism less likely”

  1. CJPhoto (213 comments) says:

    So your going for the bat shit crazy pilot theory?

    They would have used the stolen EU passports to get easy access into the EU. Iran probably needs a visa.

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  2. metcalph (1,359 comments) says:

    They needed the stolen passports, I think, because they would have needed a visa to enter to EU on their Iranian passports and that would have prevented them from boarding the plane (or caused problems in Beijing).

    I’m completely baffled about how they haven’t found the wreckage yet. When flying over the Gulf of Siam at Night, the lights from the Fishing Boats were so numerous that it looked as though the stars were beneath the plane rather than above.

    And flying from the Gulf of Siam, crossing Malaya into the Straits of Malaca? WTF?!? This is seriously getting into Oceanic 819 territory!

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  3. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    reassuring that terrorism is less likely

    Not sure about that. The plane was apparently going in the opposite direction from the scheduled destination.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/malaysia-flight-status-missing-malaysia-airlines-flight-370-may-have-flown-hundreds-of-miles-in-opposite-direction-before-crash-route-map-116003/

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  4. Tautaioleua (281 comments) says:

    It’s probably in a forest somewhere in the most isolated area of either vietnam or malaysia.

    They’ve been combing the seas with no luck. It’s probably on land.

    If anything, this saga has exposed Thailand as a ring capital for illegal immigration. Shame on them.

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  5. tvb (4,193 comments) says:

    Five people checked in but did not board the plane. Apparently their luggage was removed. Why did they not board and was all their luggage removed.

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  6. Elaycee (4,286 comments) says:

    CNN has breaking news…. but it appears to be similar to info already posted.

    After the transponder stopped working (for whatever reason), military radar tracked the aircraft for a further 70 minutes as it headed almost in the opposite direction to an area off the island of Pula Parek in the Malacca Strait. At that point, radar contact was lost.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/11/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-plane/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

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  7. marcw (222 comments) says:

    If it crashed on land, emergency locator beacons (more than one on board) would have activated. It has been previously stated that the 5 passengers who did not board had legitimate reasons, and all correct proceedures were followed, including baggage removal. Also, xray recordings of all baggage have been reviewed and found to be apparently clear.

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  8. straya (61 comments) says:

    “Five people checked in but did not board the plane”

    @tvb, that statement (made by the Malaysian Defence Minister) has since been refuted by the Malaysian Police.

    Sadly, there is a significant possibility that one of the pilots has locked the doors while the other had left (eg. for a toilet break), turned off all the transponders and taken the plane on an extended murder/suicide run.

    That would explain why there are now reports of the plane being detected by the Malaysian military off the west coast of the Malaysian peninsular.

    It would also explain the secretive conduct of the Malaysian authorities and the conflicting reports emerging.

    Sadly, in cases like this, governments from developing countries instinctively try the cover up.

    See for example:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SilkAir_Flight_185

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EgyptAir_Flight_990

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  9. kowtow (7,581 comments) says:

    Not asylum seekers.Illegal immigrants.

    Should have sought asylum in Malaysia but the benefits ,if any,would be shit compared to Europe where the honest taxpayer is being screwed by his govt for these crooks.

    Same with all the illegals In Indonesia busting a gut to get to Oz.

    Fuck ‘em. Send them back.

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  10. Tautaioleua (281 comments) says:

    Experts say that it’s extremely unlikely to have sunk underwater because the waters surrounding its last known location are very shallow.

    Let me give you an idea.

    The sea near its last location is roughly 50 meters (165 feet) deep. The Air France Flight 447 sunk more than 3,900 meters and wreckage was still discovered (the cleanup lasting more than 2 years) with relative ease.

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  11. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    “The mystery continues, but sort of reassuring that terrorism is less likely. ”

    Yeah…nah.

    If it want terrorism or suicide, it was an aircraft failure; possibly electrical systems crashing, hence why they changed direction. Sorting that out at over sea and at night isnt going to be easy. Of one of the safest, most modern aircraft flying. If that doesn’t fill you will dread, then nothing does. As a very regular flier, it scares the shit out of me.

    [DPF: But the fact they did not make radio contact when they changed direction suggests it was not equipment failure]

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  12. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Seems the Malaysian military were tracking MH370.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/10690941/Missing-Malaysia-Airlines-plane-flew-hundreds-of-miles-off-course.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/10691089/Malaysia-Airlines-mystery-US-issued-warnings-over-Boeing-777-weak-spot.html

    edit: a couple of charts

    http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sunda-shelf-fig19-10-21ka.jpg

    http://www.charts.noaa.gov/NGAViewer/93010.shtml

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  13. ShawnLH (3,178 comments) says:

    I thought from the start that terrorism was the least likely candidate, for a variety of reasons. But there are a number of oddities about this, including who was on flight, that may, and I stress that word ‘may’, mean that this was not just an accident. But the fact remains, as I said on the first thread, that it is too early know one way or another.

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  14. holysheet (263 comments) says:

    If as they say
    “The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels”

    How is it that no ship saw the plane go down, or fly overhead. It would have been flying very low to avoid radar??

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  15. Simon (677 comments) says:

    Massive and sudden technical failure is the most likely answer.

    “Seems the Malaysian military were tracking MH370.”

    Yep four days later. What else is being held back.

    This tragedy is made worse by the Walter Mitty Statists out of Malaysia. This is what happens when you get religious nuts running the country.

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  16. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    And now the Malaysian air force denies tracking MH370 to the Strait of Malacca.

    http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/se-asia/story/malaysia-air-force-denies-tracking-missing-jet-strait-malacca-20140312

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  17. Tautaioleua (281 comments) says:

    Apparently the Minister of Transport (heading the investigation) is the prime minister’s cousin.

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  18. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    What were they tracking it with, a surface to air missile system????

    A major fuck up perhaps?

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  19. dime (9,356 comments) says:

    “What were they tracking it with, a surface to air missile system????

    A major fuck up perhaps?”

    that would not surprise me.

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  20. Hamish_NZ (39 comments) says:

    @hmokrightitis
    They would have been tracking it using a military radar, missile targeting radar is actually pretty short range. Aviation experts put the likelihood of it being shot down at slightly less than it having disappeared into some sort of bemueda triangle type phenomenon.

    If this military tracking is correct it would have to mean the pilot was involved and aviation sites are saying they may have flown it to Indonesia somewhere, possibly aceh. Potentially for a ransom to be paid, or for terrorism usage at a later date. This concerns me most as the Malaysian grand prix is coming up at the end of the month, and flying a plane into say the petronas towers live on tv is a great way to get attention to your terrorism cause. Apparently there were staff on board that specialise in electronic cloaking technology for the military, which could be used to hide the plane from satellites.
    Or of course China is pissed someone did shoot it down to avoid China getting it’s hands on super sensitive military technology from these people. But that’s very unlikely for any civilised country.

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  21. mara (719 comments) says:

    Why was the transponder deactivated and the direction rapidly altered? After reading an aero site…. PPRuNe.org/rumours/news …I am leaning towards the suspicion that it was a rogue pilot/terrorist hijack. And I believe that Malaysia knows it. I trust nobody.

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  22. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    @Hamish_NZ: you were doing OK until “Apparently there were staff on board that specialise in electronic cloaking technology for the military, which could be used to hide the plane from satellites.” At that point you became batshit crazy.

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  23. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Better get updated, the military tracking has been quite specifically denied by the Malaysians. All they will admit to now is that the aircraft *may* have changed heading at the point where it lost the transponder and *may* have headed back westwards towards the Malacca Strait. Certainly they have been searching there for some days. All other “spicy” rumours are currently off the table, and we’re as much in the dark as before.

    Top guess (and that’s what all of them are) is a serious aircraft failure led to decompression, either explosive or gradual. The same failure knocked out most if not all electrical equipment including the transponder and the ACARS transmitter. Crew performed emergency procedures including resetting autopilot to lower level plus course to cross Malay peninsular to the West coast so they could track down the coast to KL airport which was best equipped for them to land blind at night. However pilots emergency oxygen was faulty and pilots suffered anoxia and passed out/incapacitated before aircraft descended enough. Aircraft then continued on autopilot until fuel exhaustion, which is a long way out into the Indian Ocean. Problems with this is it requires several simultaneous failures. Even if the crew’s oxygen failed, the passenger system is separate, and crew have portable emergency oxygen available. If the pilot’s passed out, cabin crew should have been able to get into the cockpit. Also unclear if this actual B777 had the weakness ascribed to some 777′s of corrosion around the transponder housing, some B777′s have a side not a top mounted antenna. Maybe a slow decompression led to oxygen starvation and death and aircraft altitude was never lowered enough to recover, very unclear as warnings should have sounded before all crew become unconscious, and passenger oxygen deploys automatically at some point; it’s a possibility.

    If a midair breakup anywhere in the search areas something would almost certainly be sighted by now. AF 447 went down mid-atlantic and debris was found pretty quickly. This could indicate a crash onto land, say into mountains in Malaysia, as pilots control deteriorated. Again, should be able to be spotted from the air/satellite.

    Other options, pilot suicide/inappropriate actions or Hijack; all seem relatively unlikely, but until we find the aircraft for a start it’s kind of hard to tell.

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  24. Chuck Bird (4,661 comments) says:

    I do not see why pilot are able to turn off transponders. In the case of pilot suicide or a hijcacking it make it a lot harder to find the plane.

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  25. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird (4,338 comments) says:
    March 12th, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I do not see why pilot are able to turn off transponders. In the case of pilot suicide or a hijcacking it make it a lot harder to find the plane.

    All electrical equipment has to be capable of being turned off to protect the electrical system in case of a malfunction that could cause a short-circuit and potentially start a fire.

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  26. Hamish_NZ (39 comments) says:

    @PaulL
    Was just reporting what I read on airliners.net in regards to the specialty of the freescale staff on board. The jist was someone could have hijacked the plane with a view to using them and their skills sometime in the future for some sort of terrorist attack.
    Not likely, but as likely as it being shot down.

    My theory is dramatic structural failure either by fire or poor maintenance/design. There are a number of faa mandated checks regarding potential areas of concern on the 777-200er. Including one around the wing body join. It’s unclear if Malaysia has undertaken these checks on this particular aircraft.

    And for those nervous flyers don’t stress there’s a number of these checks suggested or mandated at any one time. Just a normal part of aircraft ownership and management. If it’s really serious they order grounding of them, and in this case it wasn’t. Sometimes airlines get years to check and fix problems a la Boeing 747 fuel tank gas inerting fix to stop potential explosion.

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  27. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Update, it is suggested that we can read the Malaysian denial of radar tracking as a personal denial, that is that the general himself did not make the comment attributed, but not that the comment is in itself wrong. The fact that they are concentrating the search in the West now suggests this interpretation.

    FYI, the statement as released:

    OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY CHIEF OF ROYAL MALAYSIAN AIR FORCE ON
    BERITA HARIAN NEWS ARTICLE DATED 11th MARCH 2014 ON SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS IN THE STRAITS OF MALACCA

    1. I refer to the Berita Harian news article dated 11th March 2014 on Search and Rescue Operations in the Straits of Malacca which (in Bahasa Malaysia) referred to me as making the following statements:

    The RMAF Chief confirmed that RMAF Butterworth airbase detected the location signal of the airliner as indicating that it turned back from its original heading to the direction of Kota Bahru, Kelantan, and was believed to have pass through the airspace of the East Coast of and Northern Peninsular Malaysia.

    The last time the plane was detected by the air control tower was in the vicinity of Pulau Perak in the Straits of Malacca at 2.40 in the morning before the signal disappeared without any trace, he said.

    2. I wish to state that I did not make any such statements as above, what occurred was that the Berita Harian journalist asked me if such an incident occurred as detailed in their story, however I did not give any answer to the question, instead what I said to the journalist was “Please refer to the statement which I have already made on 9 March 2014, during the press conference with the Chief of Defence Force at the Sama-Sama Hotel, Kuala Lumpur International Airport”.

    3. What I stated during that press conference was,

    The RMAF has not ruled out the possibility of an air turn back on a reciprocal heading before the aircraft vanished from the radar and this resulted in the Search and Rescue Operations being widen to the vicinity of the waters of Pulau Pinang.

    4. I request this misreporting be amended and corrected to prevent further misinterpretations of what is clearly an inaccurate and incorrect report.

    5. Currently the RMAF is examining and analyzing all possibilities as regards to the airliner’s flight paths subsequent to its disappearance. However for the time being, it would not be appropriate for the RMAF to issue any official conclusions as to the aircraft’s flight path until a high amount of certainty and verification is achieved. However all ongoing search operations are at the moment being conducted to cover all possible areas where the aircraft could have gone down in order to ensure no possibility is overlooked.

    6. In addition, I would like to state to the media that all information and developments will be released via official statements and press conferences as soon as possible and when appropriate. Our current efforts are focused upon on finding the aircraft as soon as possible.

    Thank You

    GENERAL TAN SRI DATO’SRI RODZALI BIN DAUD RMAF
    Chief of Royal Malaysian Air Force

    Doesn’t read like that to me, but YMMV, cultural differences can make it tricky.

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  28. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Thanks Ed.

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  29. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Apparently tonights news conference called off again. A bit of a shambles.

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  30. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Should know better than to trust rumour sites, presser just finished. Biggest news is that the Malaysian military did not track the flight in real time, but have an “unidentified blip” tracked afterwards. Last track for that was 200 miles NW of Penang at 2:15. That seems to me to be too far for MH370 to fly in the time available but I may be estimating the distance incorrectly. Anyone else care to comment ? Also seems some distance from Pulau whatever (it’s late) where earlier reports had it. I’ll check tomorrow on the big screen.

    Shambles, yes. And the airforce has had to admit that everyone on duty was asleep at the time !

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  31. tas (589 comments) says:

    Pilot suicide is starting to seem like the best hypothesis – although it’s all speculation at this point. Kill or lock out the other pilot, turn off the transponder and radio links, fly to the middle of nowhere and crash. It happened in Indonesia before.

    The Malaysian authorities need to be clearer about what information they have. Why are they searching in the strait of Malacca? That’s way off course (opposite direction) and they have denied that their military tracked the flight to there. Malaysia airlines should also release the data they received from the flight – the plane should be continually transmitting technical data.

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  32. RRM (9,419 comments) says:

    Was the pilot bribed to take a bunch of people to some fabulous alternative destination, but there wasn’t enough gas in the tank? Or he fucked up the landing?

    What were they tracking it with, a surface to air missile system????

    A major fuck up perhaps?

    Civil aviation air traffic control radar works on a system where the radar stations communicate with a transponder device on the aircraft. Which is why the radar operators see a screen showing the locations of all the aircraft in the area, with information about who they are attached next to each one.

    Military radar actually sees reflective / metallic objects in the sky, whether they have a transponder on board or not.

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  33. NK (1,060 comments) says:

    Well I watched the CNN live press conference last night also and came away with the conclusion that the Malaysians cannot be believed at all. They are hiding something. As many people have commented, planes like this don’t just drop out of mid air. I wouldn’t be surprised if the US military know something too. They have satellites that see everything.

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  34. Dave Mann (1,168 comments) says:

    I’m an expert on avionics and also have 25 years as an airline captain flying long haul out of Singapore and this looks like a clear case of alien abduction to me….. as clear as anything I’ve ever seen. Take my word for it. Aliens for sure.

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  35. Dave Mann (1,168 comments) says:

    OK well, the first bit wasn’t actually true… but I still reckon its aliens…

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