Indonesian Air Force officers examine a map of the Malacca Strait during a briefing following a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, at Suwondo air base in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Malaysia asked India to join the expanding search for the missing jetliner near the Andaman Sea — far to the northwest of its last reported position and a further sign Wednesday that authorities have no idea where the plane might be more than four days after it vanished. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) (Binsar Bakkara)

Conflicting reports mire ongoing Malaysia Airlines search

With Flight MH370 still missing after six days, officials deny controversial claims about flight route


Natasha Lennard
March 13, 2014 5:35PM (UTC)

Yet another day passes and still no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The ongoing mystery has been mired daily by confused and conflicting claims about the course and path of the flight before it vanished, leaving all options open in explaining its disappearance and current location.

And while the fact of a missing aircraft for this many days in a seemingly totally mapped and surveillable world breeds fascination, it's worth noting that the jet's discovery remains inevitable. The hows, whats and wheres remain chillingly unknown.

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Malaysian officials on Thursday denied reports that claimed the plane may have mysteriously kept flying for four hours after its last reported contact. Indeed, experts commented that the possibility that the plane flew for hours undetected is perhaps more unbelievable than the fact that it remains unlocated. Alleged sightings of debris by a Chinese satellite have also been dismissed after search crews found no evidence at the reported sites.

Another mysterious detail has emerged from claims by family members of missing passengers. Nineteen families have signed a joint statement saying that passengers' cellphones connected after the flight had been reported missing. In each case, the phone would ring, but the call would be hung up. One phone reportedly rang as late as Sunday morning. However, telecoms experts say this might simply be an effect of networks searching for the phones, not a sign that the devices remain connected.

Meanwhile, as more time passes, the search for the flight must cover a greater area. Every attempt at understanding so far has come to nought. "There is no real precedent for a situation like this. The plane vanished," Malaysia's acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, commented.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Flight 370 Malaysia Malaysia Airlines Malaysia Airlines Flight Mh370 Missing Plane Mystery Phone Rings

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