ብለው ብለው የማሌዥዋውን አውሮፕላን ከኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድ ጋር ማምሳስል ጀመሩ
" ቆቅ ወዲህ ምዝግዝግ ወዲያ"
ይሉታል ይህን ነው! ወይስ "የጨነቀው እርጉዝ ያገባል"
How the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet Could Have Been Hijacked
Another possibility was that a crew member was the culprit, much like the Ethiopian Airlines pilot who recently diverted his Boeing 767 to Geneva in search of political asylum. But assuming the motive in such a caper would be escape to a foreign land, the pilot-turned-hijacker would have no clear reason to shut down the plane’s communications systems; doing so would vastly complicate his journey. Early on, then, the smart money was on the disappearance being the result of a catastrophic mechanical failure had caused the plane to plummet from the sky, and that it was only a matter of time before bits of wreckage started to wash ashore.
In recent days, however, several telling snippets of information have emerged that make a hijacking harder to rule out. As the Wall Street Journal first reported, the Boeing 777-200ER’s Rolls-Royce engines appear to have kept transmitting maintenance data for five hours after the jet’s transponder went dead. Reuters later added that military radar had tracked the flight as it seemed to head for the Andaman Islands. Most intriguingly, there are indications the plane’s transponder and data-reporting system were switched off at different times, which, if true, provide solid evidence that a human hand was involved in silencing the aircraft.
With the hijacking theory growing more plausible by the hour, it’s time to wonder how such an epic crime might have occurred–and how it might have ended far more tragically than its perpetrator envisioned.
If MH370 was seized by passengers or a crew member, the hijacking would the third so far this year—in addition to the Ethiopian Airlines episode, there also was the bizarre Pegasus Airlines incident of early February, in which an apparently intoxicated Ukrainian man demanded passage to Sochi but was instead taken to Istanbul. This clustering of hijackings shouldn’t be surprising. The crime always has been highly viral in nature; each hijacking tends to be influenced by the last, in terms of modus operandi or other key details. A perfect example of this phenomenon is how “parajacking”–hijackings in which the criminal flees by jumping out of the plane–evolved in the early 1970s. Though most folks only remember the infamous D.B. Cooper hijacking of November 1971, there were numerous other incidents in the ensuing months in which the hijackers became increasingly more adept at getting away from the authorities–at least for a few days. (Cooper himself may have been a copycat, inspired by a farcical Air Canada hijacking.) Perhaps one of MH370’s pilots had been inspired by the Ethiopian Airlines hijacking, and thought he could fly his way to a better life on distant shores.
It also is important to remember that, unlike the highly organized 9/11 terrorists, most hijackers through history have been scatterbrained, sometimes to a comic degree. In the midst of manic episodes or afflicted by paranoia, they often can be quite good at planning minor details of their crimes, yet quite deluded about how the endgames will play out. This certainly was the case with Roger Holder, the principal hijacker of Western Airlines Flight 701 in June 1972. An Army veteran who had served four tours in Vietnam, Holder cooked up a clever ruse by which he convinced the crew that he was accompanied by four members of the Weathermen, at least one of whom was armed with a bomb. But he also hijacked a short-range Boeing 727 by accident, thereby making it impossible for him to reach his intended destination of Hanoi.
If MH370’s hijacker was in a mental state similar to Holder’s, he or she might have had the psychological wherewithal to figure out how to disable the plane’s communications systems, but not to realize that reaching, say, Western Europe was not a feasible goal. The hijacking could even have been an impulsive act, as many such crimes were during America’s “golden age” or air piracy. Ricardo Chavez Ortiz, for example, who commandeered a Frontier Airlines jet in order to get a radio crew to broadcast his rambling 34-minute speech, claimed to have decided to hijack the plane only after it reached cruising altitude.
Though data points may be accumulating in favor of the hijacking theory, it remains difficult to believe that MH370 is now in the possession of a global terror network that plans to use it in a future attack; landing and hiding a Boeing 777-200ER–a 209-foot-long aircraft with a 200-foot wingspan–in a lawless corner of the world would require immense resources, not to mention luck. In fact, there’s a good chance that any hijacker of the flight was not motivated by any sort of radical ideology, but rather by personal woes. In the history of air piracy, the vast majority of hijackers have been men or women who, though they may have claimed political affiliations, were most interested in fleeing from desperate circumstances: economic hardships, legal entanglements, love affairs gone wrong. In the era before everyone had to pass through metal detectors and have their carry-on luggage screened, hijacking a plane was an easy and spectacular way to try and alter one’s fortunes. One young American hijacker, who tried to flee to Cuba with her boyfriend in the late 1960s, neatly summed up that mindset when later asked why she had opted for such a risky crime: “Something had to be done–and I did something, for better or worse. It [was] better than eighteen years of therapy, or whatever. It just seemed like the answer.”
On one level, it’s comforting to think that a hijacker of MH370 was not bent on using the plane as a weapon of mass destruction, but rather wanted to start life anew somewhere else. But it’s also frightening to imagine a world where, as in the early 1970s, the desperate and deluded increasingly start to view hijacking as a reasonable solution to their problems.