Missing MH370: There's still a glimmer of hope

PETALING JAYA - The possibility of the MH370 flying into a corridor of up to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border naturally increases the chances of it being found.

Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia senior fellow Bunn Nagara said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's statement about the flight's last communication with satellites offers a glimmer of hope.

"Since the northern corridor has more landmass and involves more countries, it would be logical that the airplane might have landed," he said when contacted yesterday.

Bunn said the tense geo-political environment in the region involving countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the former Soviet republics such as Tajikistan, Turk-menistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan would mean their airspace would be tightly monitored.

"Therefore getting the co-operation from these countries to provide their radar data would be important to determine whether the MH370 might have flown there," he said.

According to a Reuters report, the southern corridor that starts from Indonesia to the southern part of the Indian ocean is one place where a commercial airliner can crash without anyone spotting it, even by satellite.

Quoting a source from the Australian civil aviation authority, the huge expanse of water is one of the most remote places in the world and also one of the deepest, posing potentially enormous challenges for the search effort.

"There is almost no radar coverage in most of Western Australia and almost all of the Indian Ocean. If anything is more than 100km offshore, you don't see it," the source said.

As hijacking has been postulated, reports have emerged about the possible runways where the missing aircraft could have landed.

The Mirror of the United Kingdom reported that with enough fuel to fly anywhere from Pakistan to Western Australia, the missing plane could have landed on any of the 634 runways, a projection based on a map from WNYC, website of non-commercial public radio stations located in New York City.

"A Boeing 777 pilot is quoted in Slate as estimating runway length requirement to be 1.524km while a recent Wall Street Journal article quoted sources stating the flight could have continued for 3,700km from its last known position," WNYC said.