After last week’s promising news that signals from one of the flight recorders aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 had been picked up by search vessels in the southern Indian Ocean, those signals have not been heard for a few days now, and so, once more, we have no new news. And into that void has come yet more firing up of the 24-hour news speculatron.
In fact, we have two new sources of speculation this weekend: a supposed mobile phone conversation, and more information about the movements of the aircraft while it was still being tracked by military radar in Malaysia. Both are, as with so many of the wilder ideas on MH370’s disappearance, shot full of holes. And both offer an insight into the mindset of the assembled hackery.
So what of the phone call? There wasn’t one: “Did Malaysia Airlines co-pilot try to make 'desperate call' before plane vanished? The co-pilot of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 switched his phone on moments before the plane disappeared from the radar, a Malaysian newspaper has claimed” reports the Telegraph, misinterpreting what has actually been reported.
The co-pilot’s phone is the one in question: “At one point, however, when the aeroplane was airborne, between waypoint Igari and the spot near Penang (just before it went missing from radar), the line was 'reattached'. A 'reattachment' does not necessarily mean that a call was made. It can also be the result of the phone being switched on again”. Or it may have been on all the time.
Even the Tel’s expert hedges his bets: “If it was suddenly switched on mid flight, then it does suggest that something untoward was occurring ... But it's not unusual for a phone to be left on innocently, by mistake, and then come into signal area ... There has been so much uncorroborated material on this flight that it is very difficult to determine fact from fiction or speculation. This could be yet another red herring”.
So, as with all the other speculation, we just don’t know. Then there is a “source” quoted by the Sunday Times, who asserts “It was being flown very low at very high speed. And it was being flown to avoid radar”. It was? “The drastic manoeuvres which must have been taken for the plane's alitutude to change so suddenly suggest that the plane was deliberately trying to avoid radar signals and disappear”.
Given that the military radar did indeed pick up the aircraft’s movements, that does not seem to have been terribly effective. And even if “The missing Malaysia Airlines plane was 'thrown around like a fighter jet' just after it lost contact with the authorities in a bid to dodge radar, Malaysian military investigators believe”, it won’t be much help in finding the flight recorders.
And until they’re found, it will all be so much baseless speculation. No change there.