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January 7, 2020 41 mins

In 2014, a Boeing 777 airliner disappeared. Despite two full years of searching an area of ocean covering more than 120,000 square kilometers, it has never been found. It is the only unexplained missing vessel in modern aviation history.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hey, Seattle, will see you Thursday, January sixteenth at the
More Theater in San Francisco. We're going to be at
the Castro on January when else? Chuck? Uh? That is it? Man?
January eighteenth at the Castro, our annual trip to Sketch Fest.
We'd love performing there. We have great crowds there. Go
get a ticket. If you want to come see me
at Movie Crush the next night on Sunday and a

(00:21):
small venue where you can shake my hand and hug
my neck. I would welcome that as well. Well, that's
what I was setting you up for when I said
what else. I appreciate that. We'll see you guys. You
can get all the info and tickets you need on
s Y s K Live dot com or s F
sketch Fest dot com. Welcome to Stuff You Should Know,
a production of My Heart Radios How Stuff Works. Hey,

(00:47):
and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark's Charles W.
Chuck Bryant. There's Jerry over there, and this is Stuff
you Should Know about. One of the most interesting mysteries
in modern times. Yeah, like it's really tough to get across.
What a mystery. The Missing Airliner MH three seventy is

(01:10):
Malaysian Airlines Flight three seventy. Yeah, and this is uh,
it's gonna be a two parter because it's pretty robust,
and boy, hats off to the grabster. He really put
together a lot of great research for this one. He did.
I also want to give a huge shout out to
one of my journalistic heroes, William Langwish. He wrote something
he writes in the Atlantic, but he's not just an

(01:30):
Atlantic writer. Um. He wrote what really happened to Malaysia's
missing airplane, big old long article on it. And this
guy is an aviation expert to begin with, but he's
also if you ever read a Tom wolf book or
article or whatever, he has a really great knack for
making you feel like you're there in the action. But
then he also has a knack for making you step

(01:53):
back and think, how does Tom Wolfe know all this? Was?
He there? William Languish is the same way, and I
will I will go ahead and recommend that you not,
unless you are a very courageous person, read any of
his work, especially the stuff about airline disasters, any time
around when you're flying, because he puts you in that
plane when it's going down or whatever. Um, he's really

(02:16):
really good at it. So I recommend basically anything lang
Watch has written go read. It's worth it for sure. Yeah,
and I think this coupled with um the brief times
that we've touched on this kind of thing in the past,
whether it was D. B. Cooper or Bermuda triangle, Like,
there's something about aviation disasters and mysteries that are really
intriguing to me. And for airline forensics, it's all ri

(02:39):
just super super interesting. It is. So you talked about
airline forensics and and that kind of stuff. This is
lousy with it. But the reason I was saying why
it's tough to overstate, like what a mystery image three seventies,
it's the only airliner that has considered disappeared vanished. They
know where all the other ones are, they know what
happened to all the other ones. It's the only major

(03:01):
one that is just where the official investigation said we
don't know. Yeah, I mean, and you know in part
two will get to a pretty good well, actually, I
think the leading theory comes in this episode, but we
kind of think we know. But it's that thing where
you like, you can't definitively say yeah. You can't say where,

(03:21):
and you can't say why. Um, yeah, and that then
the y is and the where we're both really confounding. Yeah.
And the reason why air travel in the twenty one
century is way safer than auto travel is because anytime
an airliner goes down, everyone in the international community comes
together investigates it. They do so openly. The airline um

(03:43):
that the airplane manufacturer, the um, everyone involved is expected
to like tell the truth and you get it out
there and you figure out what went wrong, and then
you make things safer, and then that makes air air
travel safer for everybody. They couldn't do this for all
sorts of reasons m Age three seventy and so it's
a huge failing um among the the international community, not

(04:06):
not for lack of trying, but because it's just an
asterisk out there. It's the only one. Yeah. And that's
why airplanes don't crash as much anymore. I mean, growing up,
it's not like it was every other week or anything,
but I used to hear about airline crashes enough to
where it gave you pause. Uh, And you just don't
hear about it much anymore. It's true. It's still out

(04:29):
there for sure. Yeah, but there they seem much more
rare than they used to be, kind of like sky jackings.
So we'll do our best to uh put you in
the in the plane, in the passenger seat. Yeah, can
we at least be in business class? Buckle sure? Okay sure,
We're about to say a buckle up. Yeah, okay, buckle up,
because we're going to take off on March eighth, two

(04:50):
thou fourteen in Kuala Lumpur. It's the very beginning of
March eighth. UM. The takeoff schedule for Malaysian Airlines Flight
three seven and DY from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was
scheduled for twelve thirty five am. That's right. We're in
a Boeing seven seven seven Dash two er and there
are two hundred and twenty seven fellow passengers aboard twelve

(05:14):
flight crew. It's a lot of people, almost about two
thirds of the passengers or Chinese nationals. I believe there's
a bunch of other people from other countries, but for
the bulk of the people on the plane, we're from
China and um it's a late night flight. It's expected
to arrive in Beijing at about six o'clock six thirty

(05:36):
in Beijing time, and it's gonna fly over the South
China Sea, UM, over the Gulf of Thailand, through Laos, Vietnam,
and then uh into China to arrive at Beijing. Um,
it didn't actually take off at twelve thirty five. They
took off at twelve forty two. Not too shabby, seven minutes.

(05:57):
I'm not like sitting there rocking in my seat like
let's go. Yeah, yeah, that might not have even noticed.
And UM they take off and it flies up to
eighteen thousand feet and the air traffic control center at
Kuala Lumpur says, hey, you guys are cleared for UM
to to go up to thirty five thousand feet, which
is cruising altitude for this flight. I think that's right.

(06:18):
And at this point, at eighteen thousand, they switched from
the airport's air traffic to Kuala Lampur Area Control Center.
And you know, the way, the reason we're mentioning all
these details is because it turns out they're very important,
very important. So these are all key. Keep rewinding fifteen
thirty seconds to get every single detail, okay, because you're

(06:38):
gonna need them for the big finish. So four minutes later,
like you said, they were cleared to go to thirty
five thousand talking about fifteen minutes. Uh, And it's here
where Captain Zahari and there were two people on board
flying this plane. Captain Zahari and uh, what was the
other gentleman's name, First Officer Farik abdual Humid and Upton

(07:00):
Zahari Ahmad Shaw is piloting the plane, UM, first Officer Hamid.
This is his last training flight. After this he will
be fully certified to fly Boeing seven seventy seven, which
if you're a commercial airline pilot, that's pretty much the
peak right there. Yeah, and that's important too because one
of them is a very experienced pilot in his fifties. Uh.
The other one is a brand new kind of greenhorn,

(07:22):
and that's going to factor in for sure. So uh,
like I said, it took about fifteen minutes to get
to thirty five thousand feet. And this is when UM,
the lead pilot radios that Kuala Lampoor Control Center says
we're at thirty five thou feet. Then seven minutes later
he radios again says, by the way, we're sta in.

(07:42):
This is not me doing him. I don't know what
he sounded like. There you go, this is Captain Zohari. Yeah,
everybody sounds like Chuck Yeager. Yeah, I guess so. So
he confirmed again that they were at thirty five thousand feet,
and this is where Ed points out that this wasn't
sort of big alarming thing. But what usually happens is

(08:04):
you radio in when you leave an altitude, not when
you arrive. And you also don't radio in seven minutes
later and say, by the way, we're still at thirty
five thou feet still here, like once you hit it,
you're just sort of there that you're cruising altitude, right,
So it's it wasn't alarming or anything, but it was
weird that he made those two radio transmissions, but it
was nothing compared to the weirdness that was about to

(08:26):
take place um shortly after that, I think at one
am qual Umpoor Area Control Center. It's like eleven minutes later,
YEP said, Hey, MH three seventy, you're about to leave
our jurisdiction and enter ho Chi Min's um jurisdiction. Go

(08:46):
ahead and contract contact ho chie Man Air Traffic Control
and let them know you are on with them on
this frequency. Yeah. I mean, if you remember our air
Traffic Control podcast, you you're you're handed off, like, don't
just stick with one air traffic control when you fly
around the world, you're handed off all along the way,
whenever you enter the airspace of that whatever district precisely,

(09:08):
and the way that it's set up is there's not
supposed to be any time where you're just flying alone
and then you move into the other one. You're going
right from one to the other. You want to hand off.
So um, Captain Zahari responded with good night Malaysian three
seven zero. Those are the last words anyone heard from
Captain Zahari as far as we know. And UM, that

(09:31):
in and of itself was kind of an odd transmission
because typically any airline captain would have replied with the
frequency we said the frequency back to confirmed that that
was the right one. But instead all he said was
good night Malaysian three seven zero, And very shortly after that,
two minutes later, um MH three seventy disappeared from the radar.

(09:54):
The moment it showed up on ho Chi Min air
Traffic Controls radar screens, it just vanished, right without everyone
having made contact with them via radio frequency. This should
have like set off alarms with Ho Chi Minh city,
and apparently they did notice. Kuala Lumpur didn't notice. The
guy was they had all this other air traffic to

(10:16):
deal and they were out of their zone at this point,
and he'd said good night, and you know everybody knows
good night. You can't go back on that. You have
to wait until tomorrow to make contact again. UM. So
the Kuala Lumpur's I don't know about blameless in this,
but certainly less blameful than um. Ho Chi Minh and

(10:37):
Ho Chi min noticed that they just disappeared from the screen,
but it took them a full eighteen minutes before they
called Kuala Lumpur and said, hey, do you know anything
about where MH three seventy is because they kind of
vanished from our radar. Yeah. Like, I don't know the
exact process. Um. In their defense, they were trying to
get in touch. It's not like they just said, well,

(10:59):
we'll see what happens. Uh. They got in touch with
another pilot who was nearby in that airspace to contact them,
and this this pilot reported there was interference and static.
I heard mumbling on the other end. But that's the
last we heard and we lost connection. Right, we're not
even sure that who he was talking to the right people? Yeah, so,
I mean they were trying to get in touch, but
you're right, I think like sooner than eighteen minutes, they

(11:20):
should have said, by the way, this plane that just
left your airspace has disappeared, Like, do you know what's
going on? Right? Protocol, international protocol is five minutes. Okay,
So they waited thirteen minutes longer than protocol dictated, and
it was so so much beyond when they should have
called that the controller and qual Umpoor actually said on
the record, like, why didn't you call me sooner? How

(11:41):
are you just calling me about this? That may have
MISSI have been yesterday, right, it's missing for eighteen minutes, which,
as we'll get to later on the stuff that came
up in the investigation, that was just the first step
in a series of missteps that led to the reason
why MH three seventy may never be found. Uh So,
uh should we take a little break and talk about

(12:03):
radar radar Oriley. We'll be back right after this. Radar Oriley,

(12:36):
not radar o Riley radar used by air traffic control
so different. It is different um than radar oriley. Uh.
This is called secondary radar, and it sends out a
little beam that um, it's very narrow and it sweeps
the area. And on board the aircraft they have a
transponder that to Texas beam and sends their own signal

(12:56):
back that says this, how fast we're going, is where
we're headed in a code that says that, and this
is who I am? Yeah, maybe even m H three
seventy as simple as that something like that. That's right,
that's what's supposed to show up on air traffic controls
radar screen. That's so they can see, oh, here's MH
three seventy coming toward d L two or whatever at

(13:17):
this speed. Right, Um, they have all this information and
it's it's called secondary radar. Primary radar is what you
think where it's like, um, you know, it's a blip
on a screen that this big um, this big radar
ray is is bouncing off of and receiving information back from.
But it's just you see, it's physically there. This has

(13:38):
far more information and that's why air traffic control around
the world uses right. And this is very key because
just a few seconds after it made that switch over
into ho Chiman's airspace, the transponder stopped sending information. That
transponder that's supposed to say who you are, where you are,
and how fast you're going just stopped right. It vanished.

(13:59):
And this is when the ball was dropped by a
little bit by Kuala lamp Or not noticing, and definitely
by ho chi Man not doing anything immediately in response
to Kuala lamp Or so. UM. Primary radar the radar
that you typically think of when you think of radar.
That's there are very few places in the world where

(14:20):
you can't be tracked by someone on radar. It's fairly
old technology, it's been around for a while. UM. But
the places where you can't be tracked can be vast
over the ocean, in the desert, over extremely mountainous or
wooded areas. There are places where you can't really put
a radar tower, and there you can disappear from radar. Right.

(14:44):
There's this I think what I'm trying to say here
is if you take your plane out of radar range
and you turn off your transponder, you can make a
modern airliner as big as a seven s vanish where
people don't know where it is. And that's a really
I think hallmark point or trade to this. This mystery

(15:06):
that kind of like gets people a little unnerved. Is
wait a minute, like this is the century, this happened
in two four. What do you mean? There's times and
situations where an airliner can disappear and people don't know
where it is. And that was the situation and as
um Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur starting to
scramble to try to figure out, you know, where this is.

(15:27):
Apparently they called Malaysian Airlines and said, hey, do you
know anything about MH three seventy. Malaysian Airlines said, oh yeah,
they're flying over Cambodia right now, and they're like where,
what do you how are you seeing this? After an hour,
finally Malaysian Airlines is like, no, we're just referring to
the flight plan. They should be over Cambodia right now.
What do you mean you can't find them? What's what's

(15:47):
going on? Yeah? But because of that primary radar, uh,
the secondary radar wasn't functioning like we said, because the
transponder was off, but the primary radar did track them
for about an hour after those communications dropped UM because
of the Malaysian military was able to track it with
the primary radar. Yeah, apparently it flew through the primary
radar of five different countries and the only one that

(16:10):
bothered to track it was Malaysia's um Air Force. But
they they didn't do anything about it. They didn't follow
up to see who it was. They didn't scramble any
jets to go see if everybody was okay, or they
just knew that there was an unidentified plane flying through
Malaysian airspace and there force didn't do anything about it.
This is embarrassing enough that the Air Force didn't reveal

(16:32):
this to anybody for a while. Which was a really
important point because during this time, about an hour UM,
about an hour and a half after the takeoff and
an hour after the thing disappeared from transponders, the Malaysian
Air Force was tracking MH three seventy and it saw

(16:52):
that it seemed to have taken a turn. Yeah, I
mean they know what happened at this point. For a
little while, it made a sharp turn that was not
part of the planned flight plan. No, not at all.
This is where things definitely took a metaphorical and literal turn.
It headed southwest at that point, crossed over the Malay Peninsula,
over Malaysia again and then parts of Thailand. Then it

(17:16):
made a right turn this is very key near the
island of Penang, just put a pin in that. Then
headed west by northwest towards the Andaman Sea, and then
at two a M vanished from radar, from that primary
right radar as well. Right, so the Malaysian Air Force
saw this happen on this radar, didn't tell anybody for

(17:38):
a while. The flight plan had it leaving Malaysia, crossing
over the Straight of Malacca um into the Um the
peninsula where Thailand is located, into China, right just away
from Malaysia. And from what the Malaysian Air Force saw,
this thing doubled back on itself and then went in

(17:59):
some totally different directions, almost the opposite direction it was
supposed to be going in. And like you said, it
dropped off of the radar, and that was the last
time anyone saw it on radar. But that's not the
last time we were able to track um M H
three seventy and that's thanks to a satellite network that's

(18:19):
run by an outfit called in MARSAT. Yeah, so in
mar SAT. If you've ever been on a plane and
you've enjoyed the benefits of watching movies, streaming or connected
to your computer via WiFi, that is because of satellite communication.
Um these airplane. Airplanes are equipped with a system and

(18:39):
it transfers data and all their voice communications via satellite.
And some of this data from the plane is automatically
shared with these ground tracking stations, which is a really
big deal. So not only are there letting you watch
movies and doing all that, but it's sending this automatic
data on a regular on the rag basically from that
satellite to these ground stations. Right. So, um, they think

(19:02):
by this time, Um, actually I believe they know. By
this time MH three seventies navigational systems, entertainment systems, UH,
A bunch of its systems have been turned off. The
only thing that was still operating was this satellite link. Um,
I guess beacon. It's called a satellite data unit. Okay,

(19:25):
So the satellite data unit which was capable of of
contacting and receiving contact from the m mar SAT satellites. Now,
at the time, no one knows that this is happening right,
Like there's no sound being made, there's nobody tracking this.
This all came out much later when m mar Sette
realized they were sitting on a bunch of data. Um

(19:46):
But during different points over the next six seven hours,
the satellite and the satellite data unit talked to each
other under a few different circumstances. And because of this,
this company M Marsett, which is located in or headquartered
in Great Britain, but literally covers the globe, not just

(20:08):
with airline stuff but maritime thing, which I think where
they were originally, um they were originally um founded to
to do is to to enable maritime communications, like you know,
satellite phone you're calling through in Marsett, right, Um. So
they've got this whole constellation of satellites and when in

(20:31):
Marsett heard about MH three seventy, they were like, we're
all bet our satellites were tracking this thing in some way,
ship or form. And it turns out that they were right. Yeah,
And there's four and this is important here. There's four
different ways um or circumstances where that satellite data unit
on the plane is communicating with the satellite in space

(20:51):
whenever you're making a data transmission or a voice transmission.
Whenever someone on the ground tries to contact the plane. Uh,
there's something that happens every hour. If no one has
made either one of these contacts for an hour, you
get a check in called a handshake. It's just like
you're still here, shake hand's buddy, Yeah, just want to
make sure you're logged on. It's kind of like um,

(21:13):
when you watch too much Netflix and Netflix message, yeah,
have you finished all the tub of cookie dough yet? Yeah?
And then as the thing that says go outside, right,
or actually it doesn't, it says, watch another one, watch
some more? Why not have some more cookie dough? It's
the same thing. It's it's sending a message to the
planes satellite data unit saying like, just are you still

(21:33):
logged on? And then the final thing, and this is
super key, is whenever the uh, whenever you first log
onto the satellite system, that thing on the plane, whenever
it kind of checks in and links up. That is
very key because what can also happen if that thing
goes down and then reboots, It treats that as a
new log in, so it'll make another ping. Basically that

(21:55):
it's logged onto the system, right So in mars goes
back and looks their data and says, okay, so here's
a couple of things right now. This is I think
within the first few days, um, everybody is looking in
the South China Sea for MH three seventy because that
was what was along its flight plan. The Malaysian Air
Force hasn't revealed yet that it tracked MH three seventy

(22:19):
turn around and go the opposite direction of what its
flight plane was was where it was scheduled to carry it.
And m Marsett is now saying, wait a minute, this
thing didn't crash like an hour and a half after takeoff.
This thing turned around and flew into the Indian Ocean
for six or seven more hours because our satellite was

(22:40):
talking to the to the plane at various points during
this during this time. Yeah, and we should point out
to after Air France flight four four seven, which crashed
in two thousand nine. This is when in Marsett really
kind of beefed up their system. They added more ground
stations and they added a lot more capability to add
story age for this data because they know that this

(23:02):
can really help out in situations like this that was
a big one too, Um do you remember that one?
So that one was the first one that really opened
people's eyes where it was like, wait a minute, when
we're flying over the ocean, like no one knows where
we are, and they were like, no, actually not really, um,
and they I think that's why m MARSAT was like,
we gotta build more ground stations, we got to bulk

(23:23):
up our data, data stores, all that stuff, we got
to add more satellite capabilities, and in doing so, they
made it so that you could be tracked when you're
over the ocean, even if you didn't want to be,
as seems to have been the case with MH three seventy.
So it was a huge difference between two thousand and four,
was it two thousand four, two two nine and two

(23:44):
thousand fourteen just five years the thing proved itself. These
upgrades they made were substantial. But um Air France flight
four four seven in and of itself another languish gem
that just puts you in the seat of this terrifying
plane crash. Um that one in party killer. They knew
where the plane was, and it still took two years
to recover the black boxes and figure out what went wrong,

(24:08):
which is terrifying. And if you know what happened to
that one, it's basically the controllers got ripped away but
from the pilot and it just went right into the ocean,
and they're still down there. Apparently there was a big
debate over what to do with these people. When they
started raising them, they were perfectly preserved because they're so
deep in the pressure in the anaerobic situation, and yeah,

(24:29):
the temperature just kept them perfectly preserved. But as they
were raised up into warmer waters, the decomposition over two
years just happened immediately. So they I think the French
government said they have to stay there. It's now a memorial,
do not try to raise anybody. And they're still down there,
strapped to their seats, which when you just do not

(24:50):
think about that the next time you get on a plane,
it's a terrible thing to think about. I can tell
you firsthand, you've gotten so much better over the years.
But I'm sure this isn't going to be a setback. Now.
I'm hanging in there, all right. Yeah, if it happens,
it happens, like that's the way I kind of view
you can do about it. This isn't something that they

(25:11):
are that you guys are gonna play my memorial at
my funeral, my last words. But if you're if if
I go down in a plane crash, my number was
up right, and everyone else would be like, that's so weird.
He always talked about it. Yeah, there was. Actually I
had a tweet once it said, um, if I ever
go down in a plane crash, I'm going to shout
I wish I were to spend more time at work.

(25:36):
I'm not sure I get that. Well, you know it's
like no one ever says that in their deathbed they
wish they'd spend more time at work. Well I got it.
An ironic funny on the way. Oh yeah, i'll make
people laugh. Good for you give them their last laugh.
So uh, this uh, where they're getting all this information
was from a ground station in Perth, Australia, a place
we have been to. It was quite lovely, lovely town.

(25:58):
That's right, it was great. Uh. Anyone ever tells you
don't go to Western Australia, You tell them that's b S.
Because Josh and Chuck said it's great, all right, very stupid.
So b S stands for So they had a lot
of data, like we said, because they had beefed up
their storage capabilities over the past five or six years,

(26:20):
and they have a couple of types of data. Um
something called burst timing offset and burst frequency offset b
t O is it measures how long that a signal
takes to reach a satellite, you know, the speed of
the signal, so you know exactly how far that plane
is from the satellite at that exact moment. It's very

(26:40):
easy to kind of understand, right, and first taken into account,
m Marsat has Oh here was a here was a ping,
here's a pin, here's a pin, here's a pink. Right now,
they're digging in to analyze these pings and just the
quality of them, the timing of them, all this stuff,
because they're like, I'm pretty sure we can figure out

(27:01):
where this plane was and maybe where it went if
we really drill in and do some incredible math and
figure out, uh, just kind of the nature of these pains. Yeah,
and what they're trying to do here is to narrow
it down into an arc instead of a circle. Well,
I think that's just naturally what happened. Oh, yeah, you're right,
you're right. I'm sorry because ed explained in a very

(27:23):
easy way. If you tell someone, hey, I'm a hundred
miles from Atlanta, then you draw a circle around Atlanta.
That's a hundred miles and you could be at any
point along that circle. But if that phone call was
from Athens, which is not a hundred miles from Atlanta,
but it's you know, too far or so. But if

(27:44):
you said you're from some other city in Georgia, then
you would know where you were, and if you knew
how fast you were going, then you could. Really it
doesn't become a circle, then it becomes an arc. Right,
the number of points on that circle where that person
could possibly be yes is smaller, yeah, much more or
maybe by half, maybe by two thirds. And yet so
the circle becomes an arc. And because of that burst

(28:07):
timing offset, UM they could establish those those arcs, and
there were seven of them, I believe, no, they could
establish the circles. And because of the other one, the
the BFO, the burst frequency offset, those are more complicated.
They involved the Doppler effect, and basically UM tell the

(28:33):
satellite or the satellite data tells in mar set we're
going in this direction. Because the you know, the Doppler
effectiveists an ambulance, SIRN is coming to you and then
changes in pitch. Because of the relative distance and the
direction that it's traveling. They could tell from this ping

(28:53):
the satellite ping um, not even a data transmission, just
to ping which direction thing was headed and roughly how
fast it was going. And so they were able to
create seven arcs. And after the seven arcs, the seventh
arc was created by a pin that took place at
eight nine am. And after that there was another uh,

(29:16):
there was a log on request, a handshake request that
the SDU failed to respond to. And they think that
in between eight nine am and that last log on
request at nine fifteen am, the plane finally crashed, probably
from running out of fuel. Yeah, And they think the
eight nineteen was from one of those reboots that I

(29:39):
was talking about when that system comes back on, which
will come after power failure, right, which will come into
play pretty soon. Alright, So let's take another break here, Okay,
all right, we'll be back with the leading theory right
after this. All right, So the leading theory and this

(30:23):
is uh, the more I read this, the more it
was Akam's razor kind of staring you in the face.
Because we'll get into some of the kind of cockamami theories,
and there are many of them, but this one is
the simplest, and uh, it's probably what happened. It is
that uh, someone on board and should we should we

(30:47):
tease this out? Yeah, okay, someone on board uh took
control of the plane, disabled that transponder and then started
flying in the other direction back across Malaysia, then put
it on autopilot until it ran out of gas and
it crashed into the ocean. Yeah, about the southern Indian Ocean,
which is where the southern seventh arc was. Right. One

(31:09):
of the reasons this makes a lot of sense is
because that transponder going off at the exact moment when
the plane transition from Kaua Lampoor's airspace into ho Chi
Men's it would be an incredible coincidence. If that was
just an incredible coincidence, that in and of itself says
that some that there was a human factor involved, like

(31:30):
someone knew what that meant, right exactly, so somebody who
knew how to do that when to do it, and um,
the timing of it was just too spectacular for it
to have been an accident. Yeah, because what they probably
counted on is exactly what happened. Was there was a
period of time. They might have figured five minutes, which
is what you said the standard was, but what they

(31:52):
got was eighteen minutes of confusion. I mean they it
tripled what they were counting on best case scenario. Yeah. Uh.
The other thing was that the turn that the MH
three seventy made was so um abrupt that an autopilot

(32:12):
wouldn't have done that if you put it. If you
put a plane on autopilot and have it and it turns,
it would make a much wider turn. This is a
hard kind of backtracking turn that it made to its
left to the southwest from the north. Traveling the northeast,
the turn was to the southwest. So just the turn alone,

(32:34):
which came after the transponder was turned off um shows
that it was under human control. It was a person
piloting the plane making it turn like right, and that
rules out things like mechanical failure or fire. Everything from
meteor strike to the squaw line to any kind of weather.

(32:55):
It was all that was ruled out by the fact
that this turn took is clearly under human control. Right.
That also rules out hypoxia. If you remember the very
eerie crash for with Golfer plane Pain Stewart on that
private jet, I don't really remember that. Can you kind
of refresh my memory? That was and the I think

(33:17):
the post mortem on that one was that this private
plane essentially everyone on board died of hypoxia, including the pilots,
and it flew for a number of hours on autopilot.
It was a ghost plane essentially. Yeah, so they don't
think that hypoxia affected whoever was in control of the

(33:38):
plane because it made that turn. Yeah, it was a
very deliberate turn, and then it followed a more and
even more deliberate flight pattern after that. This was not
random movements of a plane where somebody who was suffering
from hypoxia but still alive would make. These weren't confused decisions.
They were and they were difficult to understand to say,

(34:00):
but they weren't random and confused behavior. They were deliberate.
That's right. So hip one of the pilots or both
of the pilots suffering from hypoxia has ruled out um
and the fact that they were deliberate turns also rules
out the idea that both of the high, the pilots
were dead. That again, it was just the plane flying itself, right. Uh.

(34:22):
These log on requests by that STU unit on the plane. Um,
it was another big clue there because there was a
log on request made at one forty three am, and
that basically says that the power on the plane's electrical
system was shut off for a period of time in
between that transponder disappearing and that time of that log

(34:43):
on request. Right. So someone like purposely disabled, purposefully disabled
these systems. Right. So one forty three am would have
been um about an hour after takeoff, just over an
hour after takeoff, um, after the transponder was turned off
with perfect timing between Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh,

(35:05):
but also um before the turn that that Malaysian Air
Force tracts or at about the same time, right. Um.
The other thing that could have happened when these when
the transponder and the STU are shut off, it could
have depressurized the plane. Um. If that happens, then hypoxy

(35:27):
is the fear. Those oxygen masks are gonna drop down,
but you only get about ten minutes of oxygen as
a passenger. The cockpit is going to have a lot
more oxygen than that, but we do know for a
fact from that log on request that the systems will
all for an hour. So even if that were the case,
then the masks run out ten minutes later and the

(35:49):
people die of hypoxy at the passengers shortly after that.
The thing is is they believe that um not only
was MH three seventies still at cruising altitude, it probably
actually climbed to forty thousand, maybe a little over forty feet.
It's basically the maximum that a seven seventy seven could
stay aloft at. So the drop down masks would have

(36:12):
been totally useless to begin with. There's not enough oxygen
coming through them to offset that kind of height into
deep pressurized cabin that's meant for a much lower altitude,
and the reason why I found it very disconcerting to
learn that there's only like ten or fifteen minutes worth
of oxygen coming out of those masks. I mean, there's
the idea there that a plane crash doesn't take longer
than that. The idea is that it's used for an

(36:35):
emergency transition down to a much lower altitude where you
could breathe without a pressurized cabin and that that takes
less than ten or fifteen minutes. You can do that
much more quickly a few minutes. So basically you're gonna
start flying with your own oxygen tank. Basically, Okay, I'll
be like trying to take it away from the t
you can't do it. Uh. Here's another thing is that
that STU log on request UM at the end, it's

(36:58):
it suggests that it was turned back on. And the
thinking here is that whoever did this UM it probably
didn't care at that point because it was too late
because everyone on board was dead. Right. So the idea
of behind all this is that the power was shut off,
and they know that the power was turned off because

(37:19):
the log on request came at a certain point, right,
So that means that the power had been shut off
and it was coming back on. And they think that
it was to de pressurize the cabin and be a
very easy way to depressurize the cabin just turn off
all of the power and then maybe whoever did this
and we'll get to that. Uh, it was like, I

(37:40):
want to get back down to normal cruising altitude here
so I can fly this plane UM without wearing a mask.
Maybe or just in a less stressful environment, right exactly,
maybe go get a bite to eat or something like that.
There's a lot of there's a lock that can be
done in pressurized cabin. And then there was that final arc,
the seventh one that log on ust was probably the

(38:01):
plane running out of fuel, and this I thought was
super interesting. So the plane runs out of fuel, those
engines shut down, but there's still air pumping through those
turbines and that's gonna spin the turbine and that's certainly
not going to be enough to fly your plane, but
it could be enough to act as a generator and
power up the auxiliary power system. That's right, super super interesting. Yeah,

(38:24):
So in the running out of fuel, electrical goes down,
those air ram jets come on, in the auxiliary power
system comes on. The thing logs back on just enough
to get that going again, right exactly. So let's let's
just before we stop for um this episode, Chuck, let's
just kind of recap what m Marset has been able
to figure out from seven pings between its satellite and

(38:48):
the satellite data unit seven pings. They dove into these
things so deeply that they were able to figure out
that the that the flight did not crash, that it
um there was probably a hypoxia event among the cabin,
that it was deliberate, and that the plane kept flying. UM,
not that it did not crush, but that it kept

(39:09):
flying for at least six more hours and finally did
probably crash in the Southern Indian Ocean. All from seven
little pings between the plane and the satellite. That's right. Uh.
And then the final little clue here from the satellite
is the e l T emergency transmitter UM failed. It's
emergency location transmitter, and that's linked to a different satellite system.

(39:32):
And one person, if you're conspiracy minded, might say, well,
you know what this means. It didn't actually crash into
the ocean. But these e l T s apparently have
a pretty low success rate. And when you dive into
the ocean with no power, it's at tremendous speed and
that would have been enough probably to destroy the plane instantly.

(39:53):
And this e l T there's UM. There's another. So
there's four I think on the plane. Did you say that.
I didn't say four, So believe there's four on the plane.
One of them like they can be disabled. It's not
a black box. By the way, no, no, no, this
is just a beacon that's pings of satellite but isn't
even it's a different satellite from m MARSAT, so it's
like an extra fail safe. And this means that they

(40:15):
all four of them failed, which again some people think
that's that's that's evidence right there that this thing didn't
actually crush. We'll talk about that in the next episode.
About that, all right, I think we don't do listener
mails on a part one, so just strap in and
I hope you can hold off from researching for a
couple of days on this one. Maybe you have a
bloody mary while you're waiting. Well, anyway, in the meantime,

(40:38):
if you want to get in touch with us, you
can go on to stuff you Should Know dot com
and check out our social links, and you can also
send us an email to stuff podcast dieheart radio dot com.
Stuff you Should Know is a production of iHeart Radios.
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