Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 carrying 239 passengers and crew disappeared on 8 March 2014. The Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur heading for Beijing, an hour later radar contact was lost as it was flying northeastwards over the Gulf of Thailand.
Since then its fate has been surrounded in a fog of conspiracy, rumours and speculation. These range from the credible to far-fetched:
Cockpit fire/technical glitch.
Hijacking by terrorists.
Hijacked by cyber criminals diverting the aircraft - to Kazakhstan Baikonur Cosmodrome or North Korea or other remote destinations.
Shot down by a ground-to-air missile or by military aircraft, either by accident or design.
One of the pilots decided to commit suicide taking the aircraft and everyone with him.
The aircraft was abducted by a UFO.
A time/space vortex gobbled it up.
Malaysian politician Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, found the case so mysterious that he tweeted ‘New Bermuda Triangle detected in Vietnam waters, well-equipped sophisticated devices are of no use!’ He was soon branded by other Twitter users as insensitive and was soon forced to apologise.
Another Malaysian politician noted that the aircraft disappeared on the exact opposite side of the globe to the infamous Bermuda Triangle, although it was quickly pointed out that the Caribbean is on the opposite side of the globe, not Bermuda.
From the very beginning, scam Facebook posts with legitimate looking videos of the aircraft being found at sea, with survivors clinging to the wreckage, or found in the Bermuda Triangle, went viral. Tweets and fake news sites pitched in with similar claims to profit from this tragedy.
With the passage of time MH370 has joined the ranks of other unsolved aircraft disappearances, which have been associated with UFOs. These include the disappearance of solo aviator Amelia Earhart in the mid-Pacific in 1937; Glenn Miller over the English Channel in 1944; Flight 19 on a training mission in the Bermuda Triangle in 1945; Frederick Valentich in October 1978 who was lost over the Bass Straight, South Australia, after seeing strange lights moving above his aircraft.
Speculation about such cases being caused by craft occupied by extraterrestrial beings or by elusive sky creatures is nothing new. Charles Fort, who was a great collector of mysteries in the early part of the 20th Century, notes in his book Lo!:
‘Unknown, luminous things, or beings, have often been seen, sometimes close to this earth, and sometimes high in the sky. It may be that some of them were living things that occasionally come from somewhere else.'
Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of Sherlock Holmes even penned a story in 1913 called The Horror of the Heights that imagines semi-solid sky creatures gobbling up aviators. When the hero of the story goes up to get evidence of their existence he never comes back, all that remains is a blood stained notebook that ends with the words:
‘Forty-three thousand feet. I shall never see earth again. They are beneath me, three of them. God help me; it is a dreadful death to die!’
Ufologist, Trevor Constable, pioneered the photography of UFOs using infrared film during the 1960s. He considered UFOs to be biological beings, which live in the sky. As they come closer to Earth, they become more visible and they can fire bolts of lightning to defend themselves. In his 1958 book They Live in the Sky he says these creatures are invisible to our eyes, but infrared film can capture images of them as they fly above us. Today, some ufologists have adapted video cameras to capture similar infrared images of UFOs.
Perhaps there are luminous or 'invisible' jelly-fish like creatures that inhabit our skies, or aliens invade our skies, but in the case of MH370 there is likely to be a more Earthly explanation for its disappearance. The tragedy is that with the passage of time the facts are getting increasingly lost and distorted, making the burden for the grieving relatives heavier with each insubstantial clue or unproved theory.