Few things evoke such terror in the minds of all of us than the thought of being on a plane and suddenly you are falling from the great hight of 35,000 feet.
Moreover, the thought that our mortal remains could be lost forever, whilst perhaps not as terrifying, is nonetheless something we care not think about.
The sudden disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 has captured the imagination of the entire world, not simply because of the magnitude of the tragedy, 239 souls on-broad, but because there is simply no trace at all of the ill-fated flight that went without trace from radar screens between Malaysia and Vietnam on its way to Beijing.
So what happened to this plane and what caused its disappearance?
Initially, comparisons were being made between MH370 and an Air France plane that fell from the skies, originally without any cause known, on a flight between Brazil and France.
Air France Flight 447 was a scheduled international flight from Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France. On 1 June 2009, the Airbus A330-203 airliner serving the flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the deaths of all 216 passengers and 12 aircrew. The accident was the deadliest in the history of Air France. It was also the Airbus A330’s second and deadliest fatal accident, and its first while in commercial passenger service.
After a couple of years of not knowing why the Airbus fell from the sky, we now know the plane stalled due in part to pilot error.
But what of MH 370 and what do we currently know?
We know that two men boarded the plane using stolen passports. Immediately this caused investigators to shine a light upon these two individuals with the strong suspicion that they may have been part of a conspiracy to commit an act of terror – to bomb the plane and bring it down into the Gulf of Thailand as it made its way from Kuala Lumpur International airport to Beijing.
The lead was followed and after four days of unprecedented international co-operation both in search of the plane and the investigation of its disappearance, nothing was found of flight MH 370.
So what of the two with the stolen passports and were they simply caught up, albeit innocently, in the demise of the plane or were they the cause?
The net began to widen and turned to Thailand and the trade in stolen passports whilst investigators announced that the tickets were purchased in the Thai town of Pattaya on the eastern seaboard of the Gulf of Thailand some two hours drive from the Thai capital Bangkok.
Six Stars Travel Agency was named as the agent who sold the tickets to the two men when the mysterious Iranian man Mr Ali came to the fore.
So who is ‘Mr Ali,’ and why did he buy tickets for passengers with stolen passports?
According to The National Post, Mr Ali booked the tickets on the men’s behalf, Police Lt. Col. Ratchthapong Tia-sood said.
“We have to look further into this Mr Ali’s identity because it’s almost a tradition to use an alias when doing business around here,” he said.
The man called looking for the cheapest flights from Kuala Lumpur to two locations in Europe. “The staff suggested that a flight with several stops would be cheaper, so he picked that route,” Pattaya chief of police Supachai Phuikaewkhum said in an interview Monday evening.
A second man Iranian man — “Asay” — bought the tickets with cash. Police questioned Asay Monday, Phuikaewkhum said.
As of now, there has been little further headway made by authorities in their inquiries and it may well be that these two men were quite simply victims like the other 237 fellow passengers on-board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
Whatever the cause is, the world waits for answers to so many questions – with perhaps the biggest question being – just where is Flight MH370?