The most enigmatic aviation mystery in recent times is bedeviling Malaysia at this writing.
A Boeing 777 jet of Malaysia Airlines was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur but it never reached its destination. It disappeared like a bubble in thin air.
What happened? At this writing, no one knows.
With all the sophisticated aviation equipment existing in many countries, not a single blip on their radars has detected where the missing aircraft is. It's like science fiction, but it's real. A big airplane with 239 people on board and no trace of it has been found since it got lost.
It started with a routine flight from the Malaysian capital to China's capital on March 8. There were no signs of what was to come. No problems on the ground before departure, no SOS or "May-day" distress calls while it was in the air, and no signals of trouble along the way. The aircraft simply disappeared.
The Malaysian authorities are baffled by it all, and international aviation experts are equally stumped. Everyone investigating this most mysterious occurrence is facing a blank wall.
All sorts of theories and speculation have been put forward. Mechanical failure, human (meaning the pilots) error, hijacking, pilot suicide or sudden illness or incapacitation (like a heart attack or stroke), a ground-to-air missile, and still others have been mentioned.
But all for naught because of one thing: no trace or debris of the aircraft has been found to give investigators a clue as to what has happened.
How can a huge aircraft simply disappear like smoke?
Nothing this big can just disappear without a trace. Debris would have already floated in the bodies of water surrounding Malaysia and neighboring countries. A crash on land would be easier to see. But nothing.
The Malaysians are embarrassed by it all. They have no credible answers because they themselves have nothing to go on with. Surely they have consulted experts from all over the world. But still, no clue(s).
And so, they've flitted from one possible scenario to another and to still another. At this writing, all they have are possible scenarios. It's all speculation that has no firm basis. Because there is no physical evidence of any kind to support it.
And so the Malaysian authorities – from the airline company to aviation authorities to the government – are in a bind. The whole world is waiting for answers but they have not a single credible one to offer. It's not their fault, how can anyone come up with an answer when there's no evidence? As in crime, there is no murder until there is a body.
At this moment, there is no one in the world who wishes to find a crash site or hijacked plane more than the Malaysia Airlines people.
And the families of the flight's passengers.
Almost lost in all the confusion, angst, and thirst for answers are the grieving kin of the passengers of the ill-fated plane. Many of them Chinese, they've been waiting for answers, any kind of answer, just so they can have closure. But none has come their way so far.
There's nothing more loaded with anguish than not knowing, not knowing what happened or what to expect, not knowing whether loved ones are dead or alive.
The speculation about a possible hijacking has given the families a glimmer of hope. A hijacking could mean that their relative(s) are still alive, hidden from the world's view somewhere in a deserted airstrip or rogue country that harbors terrorists or rebel groups. A hijacking could mean that their loved ones haven't gone down into deep water somewhere, never to be found.
But no terrorist or rebel group has claimed responsibility or demanded ransom. Hope is fading fast.
At this writing, the current suspicion is that it was someone on the plane, possibly even one or both of the pilots, who had caused the disappearance of the plane. The grief-stricken families of the passengers hope that whoever diverted the plane has decided to land it safely somewhere. This gives them hope that they will still see their loved ones.
As in any tragedy, it's always the innocent victims who deserve the world's sympathy and hope.