Did aircraft make detour?

Did aircraft make detour?

KUALA LUMPUR - Collective imagination streaked towards the Andaman Sea and beyond following the possibility that flight MH370 could have made an astonishing detour.

Military radar records, being corroborated, have it that an unidentified aircraft was flying 200 nautical miles northwest off Penang at 2.15am on Saturday. This was some 45 minutes after MH370 was (last) seen on civilian radar in the airspace of the Gulf of Thailand.

This possibility could be enthusiastically mined, with likely destinations against fuel capacity speculated, maps of Andaman and Nicobar Islands ahead of the new flight trail googled, and runways tracked as prayers reverberate for the safety of 239 passengers and crew.

Briefing the press yesterday after scouring the northern tip of the Straits of Malacca in a military aircraft, Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said more experts were being brought in to analyse "both civilian and military data, in the east or the west, on land or water".

India will now join a historic multinational search that has attracted 12 countries, 42 ships and 39 planes, with everyone keenly aware of the extreme emotions of the awaiting public and the absence of parallels in expeditions of this magnitude.

Sharing of data and expertise would entail intelligence, too, as speculation associated with this world-breaking news reaches fever pitch.

Was the (possible) shrill switch in MH370's course premeditated?

Hauntingly, Alastair Rosenschein, a former pilot, was demonstrating with the help of a simulator on Sky News of a possible sudden de-pressurisation scenario, that would have the pilot seeking to turn back to Kuala Lumpur but to lose control of the aircraft due to oxygen loss with 3,000 miles of fuel left.

That was six days ago and this latest twist shall spawn more theories.

Equally logical to a layman's deduction is this: If the flight had veered away from its course, chances are, it was going somewhere rather than gliding away uncontrollably, no?

Some clarifications will be necessary at today's press conference. The military, we were told, would track "live" the flight of a hostile aircraft.

MH370 is a commercial flight which could have abandoned its course. A reporter's question would, therefore, be something like this: The flight could have embarked on a rather solitary journey westwards across the peninsula racing towards the Andamans?

This must surely be immediately conspicuous to security agencies.

As systems and cultures fuse and the theatre straddles more territories, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, our special envoy to China, met China's Vice-Foreign Minister Xie Hang Sheng in Beijing for the second consecutive day yesterday.

With 153 of the MH370 passengers being Chinese nationals, the need to respond to rumours and unconfirmed news was discussed.

"China appreciates our government efforts and offers its Civil Aviation Administration of China technical experts team to assist our DCA," Ong told the New Straits Times.

It would be too much of a hyperbole to suggest Flight MH370 will re-configure geopolitics now that 12 countries have pooled search and rescue resources at the invitation of Malaysia.

It could still turn out to be the single biggest event that will shape relationships around here.

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