Flight 370: A crisis of trust
More than a Boeing 777 and 239 passengers and crew were lost when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished 12 days ago. People’s unquestioning trust in airline pilots to always do the right thing, and their trust in modern technology to track down the hard-to-find, may do a quick fade as well.
The mystery of the plane’s disappearance has riveted the world’s attention for almost two weeks. Flight 370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing on March 8 when it dropped out of sight. No distress message was sent and no debris has been found. Theories have abounded on the Internet and TV news shows.
One theory that’s widely accepted is that the plane’s pilot or co-pilot, or both, shut off communications with the ground, veered the plane off its flight path and flew on for several hours. Why? No one knows.
“It appears to be deliberate,” Sunil Harman, director of Okaloosa County airports, said for a story we published Tuesday.
Kevin Camilli, a retired Air Force Special Operations Command pilot, said that if one of Flight 370’s pilots was suicidal, “there’s not a whole lot anybody could do to prevent that.” The future could bring additional psychological profiling for airline pilots.
Make a note, air travelers: On your next international flight, passengers might not be the only security risks.
And what should we make of technology’s failure to find the missing plane? After all, we’re said to live in the Surveillance Age, when somebody somewhere knows where we are all the time.
But nobody knows where Flight 370 is. Searchers have scrutinized every radar blip, every engine ping, every digital satellite “handshake” … and turned up nothing conclusive. No one has reported receiving cell phone calls or texts from the passengers.
There are explanations for this — no cell towers in the Indian Ocean, for instance — but the fact remains that, in this instance, technology can’t find a jumbo jet and 239 people.
So we can’t always depend on airline pilots to keep their passengers safe and on technology to be our eyes in the sky. With those cold truths, the ultimate result of the tragedy of Flight 370 could be deeper cynicism in an already cynical world.
— From the Northwest Florida Daily News
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