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Missing plane: MH370 not in Indian Ocean, 634 runways for Malaysia Airlines jet

The missing plane, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, is not in the Indian Ocean, and the Australian search team along with other international search teams ended their mission for Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean stating that the area can now be "discounted as the final resting place of the plane," reported The Mirror on May 29.

Missing plane: MH370 not in Indian Ocean, 634 runways for Malaysian Airlines jet
Credits: John Keefe, Noah Veltman, Jenny Ye, and Kio Stark via WNYC Data News. The WNYC Data News Team is part of a public radio station.

According to a senior US Navy official, the four acoustic underwater pings that were picked up last month and that had searchers believe that the missing plane was in the Indian Ocean turned out to be a false lead and not coming from the plane’s black boxes after all. Michael Dean, the US Navy’s deputy director for salvage and diving commented that “the best theory is that the pings were actually sounds from the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield or from the pinger locator being towed behind the ship,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

As all countries in the search for Flight MH370 have come to the same conclusion, that the missing plane is not in the Indian Ocean, investigators are back to square one and returning to initial reports by Malaysian officials that the airplane had been hijacked either by terrorists or as a result of “deliberate action” by someone on the plane.

As such, investigators are now looking into all possible runways that the plane could have approached after its March 8 disappearance while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Satellite evidence shows that he aircraft's transponder was turned off and that the plane changed direction shortly before it vanished with its 239 passengers and crew members on board. The plane had sufficient fuel to have flown for about another 2,200 miles. It is estimated that the requirement for the runway would have been about 5,000 feet.

The WNYC Data News team found that based on the plane’s size and fuel availability, there are 634 runways on which the plane could have possibly landed. Those 634 runways include locations as far away as Pakistan to the north, the Australian coast to the west, and Japan to the east. Some of the unusual places include the Gan Airport in the Maldives, the Dalanzadgad Airport in Mongolia, and the Yap Airport in Micronesia.

Could the missing plane, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, really have landed on one of those 634 runways and is it possible that anyone is still alive? Would anyone keep 239 souls alive for any reason? What distinguishes MH370 from other flights that have disappeared for a period of time before having been found is the information that has been provided by Malaysian officials. Based on the consistently misleading information provided by Malaysia, it is more likely that Malaysia does not want the missing plane to be found. As to why and what really happened – that is another question.

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