Everyone seems to have a favorite theory about what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Ask a random person, and you’ll probably get one from the grab bag that includes terrorism, pilot suicide, a Lost movie promo that went too far, or, of course, aliens.
There is, however, a much more logical, ordinary theory from pilot Chris Goodfellow (hat tip, Business Insider) that is finally starting to get some attention. Here are the essential details:
1) Shortly after takeoff, something caused the plane to catch fire.
2) The pilot did what he was trained to: steer the plane toward the closest airport for an emergency landing. At the time of the pilot’s much-discussed left turn, that airport would be the one at Palau Langkawi, an island just west of mainland Malaysia.
3) The pilot, again, as trained, then turned off all unnecessary electronics, including the transponder, in an effort to contain a potential electrical fire. That explains why the plane stopped transmitting signals.
4) The smoke from the fire, or another catastrophic event, incapacitated or killed the pilots. With no one telling the plane to land, it continued to fly until it ran out of fuel somewhere over the Indian Ocean, and crashed.
Is this accurate? We don’t know, of course, and pilots are split on Goodfellow’s theory. But it would be nice if our media focused more on logical theories like this one instead of having a field day with potential conspiracy theories. Informing us about other people’s crazy speculation isn’t in CNN’s mission statement, but it’s what they seem to be best at in situations like this.
The media has always had a precarious balance of informing and entertaining, but right now entertaining is winning in a landslide.
Sure, it’s funny now, but we let things keep going in this direction, and one day our news will look like this: