(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – “The airplane has disappeared.”
With that summary, the Malaysian government released a preliminary report on one of the greatest mysteries of our time. The report was extraordinary not for what new information it provided, but for the lack of new information provided.
Malaysian Airlines MH370 took off with 239 people aboard. The Boeing 777-200 disappeared on March 8, and eight weeks later its whereabouts are still unknown.
Among the report’s findings:
- Air traffic controllers didn’t realize MH370 was missing until 17 minutes after it disappeared. The air traffic controllers were apparently in the middle of a high-stakes game of Poker and didn’t want to be disturbed.
- A search-and-rescue operation conducted by the Malaysian government, didn’t get underway until four hours after the plane’s last communication at around 1:20am. It seems officials wanted to get started right away, but could not find a cab at that hour.
- The report illustrates possible locations for the presumed crash site. While most of the searching has been done in the Indian Ocean, new extrapolated flight paths show where MH370 could have come down in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and the outdoor swimming pool at the Acacia Motel in Wildwood Crest, NJ.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will keep assisting the Malaysian government, but only in an advisory role.
“It’s time for us to pack up and go home,” said an NTSB spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’re really not doing all that much at this point, and we’d rather sit around and do nothing – except take three-hour lunches and multiple coffee breaks – in America.”
In other news, Malaysian Airlines has notified relatives of the missing passengers and crew to move out of their airline-sponsored hotels by May 7. The airline has paid for “family assistance centers” since the airplane went missing, but now says it will provide information to the relatives “in the comfort of their own homes.” Predictably, this has outraged most of the people affected.
“What kind of ‘comfort’ do we have in our homes?!” screamed a relative of a missing MH370 passenger, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We don’t have Internet access. We don’t even have cable television or FiOS. How are they going to provide information to hundreds of people who have limited communications at their disposal?!”
But Malaysian Airlines officials pushed back, saying the time had come for everyone to go home.
“This search could take many more months, if not years,” said a Malaysian Airlines spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And we’re not going to pay for hotel rooms for the next 10 months. Quite frankly, I think everyone’s most upset that they’ll lose their HBO.”