It's a terrifying thought that even in a world rattled by 9/11, planes can still vanish without a trace, like Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370 did nearly a fortnight ago now. As is its wont, the internet has been in overdrive speculating as to what may, or may not, have happened. Even Courtney Love is claiming that she may have found the missing plane.
While internet denizens hash out theory after theory, we hope some peace of mind can come to the passengers and crews' families soon. Anything's got to be better than the 12 conspiracy theories, below.
This theory is coming to you from The Sunday Express, who took a break from writing about Princess Diana to deliver us this shocking piece of news. MH370 may well have been hijacked with a mobile phone. This information supposedly comes from anti-terror experts and a former Home Office advisor, who evidently don't understand how technology works.
The claim is that a phone can be used to wirelessly hack into the plane's systems and, "change the plane’s speed, altitude and direction by sending radio signals to its flight management system. It could then be landed or made to crash by remote control." This is apparently possible because MH370 is one of the first iterations of what is known as a 'smart plane' a fly-by-wire aircraft controlled by electronic signals. Oh and apparently, this sort of hijacking can also be done with a USB stick. I'm no expert in aerospace engineering, but this sounds like it's completely made up in order to shift more newspapers.
Image Credit: Wonder Woman Wiki
Due to the plane transporting 20 employees from Texas based technology firm Freescale Semiconductor, theories have arisen that the plane was being used to test "cloaking technology", hence the disappearance from the radar. Apparently, this technology would make the plane invisible to radar and almost impossible to spot with the naked eye. There are two main theories here: One is that the Chinese got wind of the technology on board and diverted the plane to get their hands on it, the other is that the US realised the Chinese may get hold of it and shot the plane down to stop that from happening.
Mysterious disappearance? Check. No logical explanations? Check. No leads? Check. Well this definitely sounds like an alien abduction movie, so it's no surprise that some people have been jumping on this bandwagon, with some people even going as far as claiming that there was a UFO spotted on radar prior to the plane's disappearance. Though honestly, it's a bit of a step-up from abducting drunk weirdos on a Saturday night.
I mentioned this very briefly when talking about the "cloaking tech" that may, or may not, have been on board, but it's more plausible a theory than any other, you could argue. Some say it was the US wotdunnit, for whatever reason, while others claim it may have been North Korea. An explosion is a likely explanation for explaining why no wreckage has been found yet, but according to the Chinese the wreckage should have still shown up on radar.
Maybe a collection of highly venomous snakes were released onto the plane and caused it to crash? Sadly not, as real life is not a Samuel L. Jackson movie. But one theory is that the plane was carrying a large load of lithium ion batteries, which caught fire. The releasing toxic fumes would then knock out everyone on board, or so the argument goes. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that stupid -- Boeing and battery fires do have a history, but saying that, there's not a single scrap of evidence to support this theory.
This one is courtesy from those nutters at Reddit, who've been discussing their own crazy theories. The whole thread shouldn't be taken very seriously as they're only discussing hypotheticals, but it does make you wonder whether these people are stoned for every waking moment of the day. One in particular that strikes me is the idea that MH370 went back in time to the 1970s, made its way into American hands, who then reverse-engineered the technology to create the original 777 back in the 1980s. There's plenty of reading material there, but just take it with a pinch of salt (ie, a bag of Monster Munch), would you?
According to The Mirror, this is a theory that the Malaysian Government has not ruled out. The idea that the plane was deliberately destroyed to get hold of a passenger's life insurance payout is not that ridiculous if you consider that they may have got the pilot involved. It's worth mentioning that there is absolutely no evidence for this, but if it were true it fits in well with what we know. We know that the transponder was probably switched off manually, the last communication was nothing out of the ordinary, and the plane probably changed course. It's not hard to believe that the pilot/co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane for some financial reason. Then again, this was the plot of an episode of Doctor Who...
We know from recent events that meteorites can cause a serious amount of damage, so what happened if the plane got hit by a meteor mid-flight? Well it would cause catastrophic damage to the plane, and CNN claims that there was a meteor spotted in the area. CNN does point out that it's a very unlikely scenario for a meteor to hit such a small target, but that hasn't stopped people taking it into consideration. To be honest, though, considering the explosion from the Russian meteorite, you'd think someone would've noticed.
You have to admire conspiracy theorists and their lunacy, they do have rather vivid imaginations. One such theory is that the plane was hijacked by Iran who intend to transform it into a nuclear weapon. There's no evidence for this whatsoever, just rampant speculation based on the fact that no wreckage, or bodies have been found. That didn't stop a UKIP activist tweeting about how sensible a theory it was, though.
This one comes courtesy of everybody's "favourite" media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who has declared that the plane was most likely hijacked and is hiding where the US and China can't find it. What's his theory? The plane is hiding in Northern Pakistan, "like Bin Laden." Now, considering Mr Murdoch began his professional life as a journalist, he should know better than to make wild accusations without evidence. Then again, this is the man who controls Fox News. In any case Murdoch's theories don't have any evidence to support them, and the distance from Southern Vietnam to Northern Pakistan is quite long -- someone would've noticed.
As I mentioned before, there were some 20 employees from Freescale Semiconductor onboard flight MH370. One theory that has come to light is that, similar to the life insurance scam, the plane was deliberately destroyed to get hold of patent rights. Apparently, a patent was approved four days after the disappearance of the flight, and it's being reported that the right to the patent were split five ways -- 20% to Freescale Semiconductor and 20% each to four employees, all of whom were passengers on the plane. With them out of the way, Freescale Semiconductor have complete control of the patent (reportedly #8671381).
One of the biggest mysteries is how MH370 disappeared from the radar so suddenly. A theory has arisen that if the disappearance is down to the pilot, he could have shadowed another 777 aircraft in the vicinity in order to hide from radar pings. The flight in question, Singapore Airlines 68, was in the same general area as MH370 at the time and a skilled pilot could follow closely enough to fly undetected. If this is the case it could mean the plane could be anywhere from Thailand to Turkmenistan.
Another theory from those crazy folks at Reddit, this is less a theory and more rampant speculation. The user speculates that in the year 2040, humanity will be in the process of landing on the planet Mars when they discover the chassis of the missing MH370 embedded in the red rock. The chances of this happening are absolutely miniscule, and maybe the person who wrote the post has been smoking too many drugs, but it's an interesting read that's worthy of its own science fiction novel.
Anyone who's seem Lost will have instantly recognised the similarities between the disappearance of MH370 and the fictional Oceanic 815. Now, no-one is actually claiming that MH370 crashed on an island populated by polar bears and a smoke monster, but it is really spooky how similar the two stories actually are. Even more so when you consider that it's the programme's 10th anniversary this year...(cast members have reportedly been told not to answer questions regarding the MH370 at the reunion).
All the theories I've talked about have mostly been put together with little, or no, evidence. But there is one theory that's begun to circulate, one that actually could make a lot of sense. Posting on Google+, pilot Chris Goodfellow has speculated that the disappearance was caused by an on board fire, a fire that would have taken the transponder offline. His reasoning is that the left turn the pilot made would put the plane on a course with Langkawi Airport in Malaysia, the closest airport from MH370's last known location -- an action that suggests something was wrong with the plane. But where did this fire come from? His theory is that the front landing gear may have caught fire during takeoff due to a poorly inflated tyre (which has happened in the past). A tyre fire would cause incapacitating smoke that would take the pilot and copilot out of commission leaving the plane to cruise until the autopilot failed. Until the plane's black box is found then there's no discernible proof that this is correct, but it's the most plausible explanation we have so far.
Despite the abundance of theories available on the internet, we don't have any solid evidence to be able to know exactly what happened to MH370. Until we find the plane, it will remain one of life's great mysteries -- like why the dinosaurs died out, or why Firefly remains cancelled. Let's just hope they find it soon, so the families of those on board can have some closure.