The latest leads in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner suggest that the plane turned west and then flew for at least four hours after its last confirmed location between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Based on military radar data, this evidence makes it seem increasingly likely that the jet was commandeered along with its 239 passengers, whether by terrorists or crew members. Now people are discussing the possibility that the plane landed somewhere and is part of a larger plan.
There are many places that Flight 370 could have reached in four hours — its fuel could have taken it approximately 2,530 miles in any direction — even if it is thought to have flown west.
Some have speculated that the jet might have been flying to Pakistan or India, both of which are in the general direction the plane appears to have been headed. The Andaman Islands, where Indian authorities are currently searching, are another possible destination. However, the islands are largely uninhabited jungle and there is only one airport in that area.
One Business Insider reader speculates that the missing Boeing 777 might have been headed for a small and irregularly used airport in the politically unstable northern tip of Sri Lanka, territory associated with the supposedly defunct Tamil Tiger terrorist group.
Here’s a look at the airport from Google Earth:
This particular area of Sri Lanka has been rife with conflict. In 2009, Sri Lanka’s army defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels, also known as the LTTE, suppressing a separatist movement for the large Tamil population in the north. In 2009, TIME described the LTTE as “one of the most organised, effective, and brutal terrorist groups in the world.” After the Tamil defeat, Sri Lanka’s army began moving in to retake the territory, according to BBC.
Even if the plane was commandeered, of course, the intention might have been to crash it into something or crash it in place where it would never be found. Or the plane might have crashed prior to reaching its intended destination.
But it also seems conceivable that the plane was intentionally flown to an airport somewhere in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or anywhere else within its range. The airport above, obviously, is only one of hundreds of possible destinations. (If you have compelling ideas or theories, we would be eager to hear them…)
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