From insurance scams to acts of terrorism, missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories – but what really happened?
Malaysian officials are attempting to map the personal and psychological profiles of all the 239 people – 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said: “For example, one of the passengers might have purchased a hefty insurance policy prior to flying on MH370. Perhaps the passenger is hoping that his family will benefit from his death.”
On Monday a group called Chinese Martyrs’ Brigade claimed responsibility for the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, without providing many details about the fate of the plane itself.
The Nation, a Bangkok-based news agency, reported on Monday that the group had sent an email to journalists across China taking responsibility for the missing airplane.
However, authorities later dismissed the claims as a hoax. The New York Post claimed the email was aimed at increasing ethnic tensions between Uighurs and Han Chinese in the wake of the recent knife attack in the southwestern city of Kunming.
According to conspiracy website Before It’s News the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane is “cloaked,” hidden with high-tech electronic warfare weaponry. The site claims that new electronic weapons allowed the plane to vanish from radar detection.
The rumour surfaced when Austin-based high-tech eco-friendly company Freescale Semiconductor confirmed that 20 of its employees were passengers on the missing flight. Freescale Semiconductor has been developing microprocessors, sensors and other technology for the past 50 years.
The fact that the employees were on board sparked one of the many conspiracy theories associated with the plane vanishing, which is that there was electronic weaponry on board.
However, Thomas Way, associate professor of computing science at Villanova University, told FoxNews.com: “Invisible to what? We already have stealth aircraft that are invisible to radar (usually), but there is absolutely no way given our current understanding of physics that something could be made invisible to the naked eye… If that’s what they are claiming, it’s a hoax.”
Chinese media reported several of the passengers’ mobile phones were connecting when called by relatives, but the calls were not picked up.
“This morning, around 11.40am, I called my older brother’s number twice, and I got the ringing tone,” said Bian Liangwei, sister of one of the passengers. At 2pm, Ms Liangwei called again and heard it ringing again.
“If I could get through, the police could locate the position, and there’s a chance he could still be alive.”
She has passed on the number to Malaysia Airlines and the Chinese police.
A classic conspiracy theory – but an article claiming that “aliens” were likely to have abducted Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was published on a US satire site National Report.
The article read: “There were no reports of bad weather and no sign of why the plane would vanished from radar screens almost an hour after it took off.
“There are reports of two oil slicks off the coast but absolutely no wreckage has yet to be found. Where did the plane go? There is only one possible answer. Aliens.”
There is speculation that the flight might have crash-landed at an untraceable island or jungle and passengers may be still alive, a situation similar to ABC’s super-hit series Lost.
A New Zealand oil rig worker also claimed to have seen Malaysian Flight 370 crash into the ocean in the Gulf of Thailand.
Officials investigating the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner on Sunday said that it was possible that the plane disintegrated mid-flight.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing in the early hours of Saturday.
Search teams so far have not been able to make any confirmed discovery of wreckage in seas beneath the plane’s flight path almost 48 hours after it took off.
“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” said the source, who is involved in the preliminary investigations in Malaysia.
On Tuesday police said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery.
“Other than mechanical problems, these are the main areas of concern,” said Malaysia’s inspector general, Khalid Abu Bakar.
The airliner later said it was taking seriously the report by a South African woman who said the co-pilot of the missing plane had invited her and a female companion to sit in the cockpit during a flight two years ago, in an apparent breach of security.
The first officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, and his colleague allegedly entertained the two girls, smoked cigarettes and posed for photographs with them.