'It just doesn't fall out of the sky like that'

'It just doesn't fall out of the sky like that'
VANISHED: (Above) An image courtesy of Flightradar24, showing the flight track of the plane on Friday.

As the families of the 239 people who had been on board MH370 continued their agonising vigil on Sunday, the world was no closer to an answer to what happened to the missing Boeing 777-200.

But what became clearer was that some usual factors involved in aircraft accidents could be ruled out.

Experts insist that the weather conditions over the South China sea that day - benign - are unlikely to have caused the plane any distress.

If there had been a mechanical fault in the aircraft, others argue, why had the pilots not issued any distress calls?

Another cause for concern: The point at which the plane vanished.

Said CNN's aviation expert Richard Quest: "It was two hours into the flight - this would have been classed as the 'cruise portion of the flight'.

You break down the flight into taxi, take-off, climb out and then cruise. So in that particular point of the flight, this is the safest part, nothing is supposed to go wrong. The aircraft is at altitude on auto-pilot, the pilots are making minor corrections and changes for height as the plane burns off fuel - the plane will be going higher and higher - so this is extremely serious that something happened at this point in the flight."

The age and condition of the aircraft is another issue that has experts puzzled.

Said Mr Quest, on the 12-year-old 777-200 which had passed a stringent safety inspection just a week earlier: "It's not a particularly old aircraft. Malaysia has 15 777-200s in its fleet, it's an extremely experienced operator of this type of aircraft.

"It's a very reputable airline with a very good safety record."

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