Maryann Tobin

Most conspiracy theories are drivel. But in the case of the enigmatic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the so-called fringe may have something.

Now that the search has expanded to nearly a million square miles, the possibility that the plane landed has not been ruled out.

Sky News reports, “The missing Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people could have been on the ground when it sent its last satellite signal, an official has said.”

It is also now generally accepted that the plane was in the air for about seven hours before meeting its fateful destination. If it did indeed land, the hijackers may have had help in erasing their tracks. Just because no government has admitted to tracking the plane doesn’t mean it wasn’t. That possibility alone creates a storyline even Hollywood can’t rival.

Aviation expert Keith Wolzinger told CNN, "Airline pilots are not trained for radar avoidance." However, “It's theoretically possible that the plane could have landed at a remote, hidden airstrip,” the report added.

The goal of landing appears to be a logical assumption, based on the official statements that the transponders were deliberately turned off, the plane made a sharp westerly turn an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur on March 8, and it continued to fly for another seven hours before finally disappearing. None of what happened to flight 370 fits typical patterns for terrorists or typical hijackers.

And while it may have taken 10 days for all this information to come out, it could have been known by some officials as it was happening. Any possible reasons for delaying such critical information is as puzzling as the fate of the plane itself.

It would be foolish to underestimate the power of political maneuvering, avoidance of national embarrassment, government manipulation of the facts, or collusion between military and civilian factions for some sort of yield, as factors in this tragedy.

Whatever happened to flight 370, there’s a chance that the same people who knew the plane had been in the air for hours, may also have an idea of where it might be. Such a scenario may not be likely, but it’s not impossible given the events of the past week.

What was it about this particular flight that made it a target? And who on the ground might have helped it seem to disappear?

For the families of the passengers of flight 370, the best possible ending to this story would be for the plane to be found on land with survivors. While the chances of that are not high, it remains possible. Remember just a week ago, many were “sure” the plane had accidentally crashed into the sea an hour after takeoff.

Author’s note: The opinions and commentary included in this report are based on the author’s original reporting and independent analysis of official documents and public information.

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