(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – With a heavy heart and with media exposure rivaling that of the OJ Simpson trial, Malaysia’s prime minister announced today that Malaysian Airlines MH370 crashed and sank in southern Indian Ocean. Prime Minister Najib Razak made this announcement in spite of not having a definitive crash site. Or an actual location of the airplane.
The announcement was based on increasingly credible satellite images – obtained over the past several days from multiple countries – showing large objects in the area. Officials are presuming they are parts of the Boeing 777-200, and search vessels have been redirected to the area in question.
The exhaustive search has been conducted ever since the plane disappeared on March 8. In spite of reports and theories that seemed to change hour to hour through a vast misinformation campaign, the plane’s fate and location remained unknown.
Many are questioning why it took so long for countries to share their satellite information. In concert with other information trickling out from officials over the past two weeks, it seems the debris could have been located much sooner.
Another question is why the Malaysian prime minister delivered the news. It is routine for airline presidents or other officials to speak to accidents and incidents related to their airlines.
“You wouldn’t see President Obama making an announcement like this if something similar had happened to an American carrier,” said an aviation expert, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Not unless it involved Air Force One. Then you’d have an announcement from the plane’s anonymous location from him.”
Malaysian officials said the timing of the announcement was to finally put to rest the growing cottage industry of conspiracy theories regarding the plane’s fate. Conspiracy theories have bordered on the ridiculous and insane, from being hijacked to being shot down, from passengers being upset about their menu choices to time travel.
“Good luck with that,” said a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “People still believe in conspiracy theories regarding the Hindenburg, and that airship went down 77 years ago. Once these theories get going, there’s simply no stopping them.”
The NTSB official pointed out other conspiracy theories that refuse to die, from the assassination of President Kennedy to the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Malaysian officials also blamed the timing of their announcement on CNN.
“We’re so tired of the 24-hour coverage of what is essentially no news,” said a Malaysian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The show ‘Patronizing Verbal Diarrhea with Wolf Blitzer’ has been especially annoying. His voice grates on you after five minutes. Try listening to him go on about having no information for over two weeks.”
Malaysian Airlines officials now find themselves cooperating in a search-and-recovery operation instead of a rescue mission. Of the 239 people presumed lost, 12 were crew members.
“We are taking this very personally,” said a Malaysian Airlines spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We lost part of our family, too. The whole thing is very heartbreaking. It’s nice to talk about closure, but until we know exactly what happened, until we find that plane, the healing really can’t begin.”
The spokesman also cautioned against hope for quickly locating the airplane and its flight data recorders. “The Indian Ocean is vast,” said the Malaysian Airlines spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It could take months to locate the bulk of the wreckage. Don’t forget that the Titanic went down in 1912. It took 73 years to find her.”