Asia-Pacific, Malaysia, Opinion

MH370: Where the Heck is the Black Box?

There are several theories on what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the passenger plane that disappeared on March 8th, 2014 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Nothing else about this incident is certain — neither the media nor the various governments involved have released an explanation to the public. This leaves room for theorists to declare that the disappearance of the plane and its passengers a conspiracy.


Theories include alien abduction, hijacking, fire, disappearance into a black hole, a meteorite strike, and the plane having been shot down. Out of all the theories, the most probable seems to be a shoot down; however, this is the most vehemently denied of all the theories to surface, with the least amount of evidence from either side. The way that people react to the idea of a shoot down is damning – claiming this is impossible with more conviction than they did for the possibility of an alien abduction.

Alien abduction, obviously, is the most unlikely, and like the black hole theory, there are very few people who believe this. Both are easily disproven by scientists and most improbable. A meteorite strike is also highly unlikely, but more probable than the other two theories. Hijacking, fire, and the shoot down theories are the most likely. A hijacking could also be linked to the possibility of the flight having been shot down. A fire, however, would not explain the unusual flight path that was recorded by satellites. That leaves the hijacking and/or shoot down theories. The question is, if MH370 was shot down, who did the shooting? And who would have hijacked the flight?


After the crash, and the investigations started by various governments, it was said that the pilot intentionally crashed the plane. Some have blamed Russians for the hijacking, but U.S. intelligence has disproven this. Other theories include that North Korea hijacked the plane, but they have not claimed responsibility. Finally, the most widely accepted hijacking theory, next to the idea of the pilot’s intentional crashing of the flight, was that radical jihadists hijacked the plane in hopes of attacking a nearby military base.

From satellite and radio data there is evidence the pilot took an unusual flight path, then lost contact with air traffic control. The U.S. government released several possible routes of the plane, all due South of the original path, despite several eyewitness accounts of sightings in the Maldives. Had the plane passed over the Maldives, as reported, this indicates a course toward Diego Garcia Naval Base — a secretive U.S. base located in the Indian Ocean, West of Malaysia. If this had truly been the course, and the pilot failed to identify themselves, the plane would have been interpreted as an enemy and shot down by personnel on-base.

The Evidence

Experts in ocean currents and weather in the Indian Ocean came together in an attempt to find the debris of the plane, all fingers pointed south as the U.S. government claimed. Later, debris was found on the island of Reunion, near where the government had predicted there would be debris. The debris found on Reunion, and South Africa, included a piece of the engine cowling, a piece of interior paneling, a flaperon, and two other paneling pieces found on the coast of Mozambique. However, the most important piece of evidence remains missing — the black box. The black box contains the recordings from the flight, and would be able to tell us what happened on that fateful day.

A former employee of Proteus Airlines of France, Marc Dugain, looked into the case himself, travelling to the Maldives to collect these eyewitness accounts. His theory was that the plane was hijacked with plans to attack Diego Garcia. His claims were dismissed as “wild”, and sceptics say that the U.S. government would not have been able to find and recover the debris without the knowledge of other governments. However, if the U.S. had misdirected the search in hopes of finding the debris first themselves, they would be looking for only one thing — the black box, the only evidence that would be able to determine why the plane went down.

The Conspiracy

There are only two reasons why the U.S. government would not have released information about their shooting down of the flight: a mistake, or being unable to locate the black box. If there had been a mistake, and the plane was not a threat, this would cause serious issues between China and the United States, especially considering the state of their current relationship. Had this actually been a hijacking, and an attempt to attack the base on Diego Garcia, the U.S. would need the black box to prove it — if it were able to prove a hijacking there would be no concerns preventing them from releasing this information to the public.

Between the eyewitness accounts, Dugain’s research, the various reactions of the U.S. government, the lack of evidence, and the former Malaysian Prime Minister’s accusation of the CIA knowing the whereabouts of the flight, it is difficult to not believe this conspiracy theory. Many of those looking into the disappearance of MH370 have been warned that it is dangerous to do so, and yet there have been a plethora of articles on this, all presenting the same evidence. If this truly was a conspiracy, would the government allow so many articles to be published? Or are they sure that these theories will be immediately written off by the majority of the public?

About Emma Saxby

Emma is an egalitarian, activist, freelance writer, photographer, and artist residing in the United States. She studies nuclear engineering, plasma physics, international politics and culture. Emma spends a lot of time hiking, geeking out about Star Wars and keeping up with current events.

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