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Another Theory for Flight 370

Before Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: A Brief History of Disappearing Planes| Death, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, History, Science and Technology

Wreckage from Air France Flight 447 (Forca Aerea Brasiliera/Getty Images)

It’s been more than two weeks since Oceanic Airlines Flight 815… sorry, I mean Malaysia Airlines Flight 370… vanished without a trace somewhere in the neighborhood of the Indian Ocean. And there has been no shortage of theories attempting to explain what happened to the Boeing 777, its 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

Check out The Plane Truth to read about some of the most popular ones.

For weeks, search planes, rescue teams and other experts have scoured the area and used satellite imagery to try and spot debris, the overwhelming thought being that the plane crashed somewhere in the ocean after drifting off course for several hours. A few unusual objects have been spotted in the Indian Ocean—along the trajectory the plane is thought to have taken—but thus far, none of them have yielded any results.

The latest “sighting” comes from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which claims that a surveillance plane spotted two objects in a remote spot of the Indian Ocean that could be related to Flight 370. One is a “grey or green circular object” and the other is “an orange rectangular object.” An Australian navy ship is steaming towards the spot as we speak to investigate. And according to Colleen Keller, a senior analyst with the defense contractor that eventually found Air France Flight 447—which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 and took more than two years to recover—this latest discovery has her cautiously optimistic.

“The fact that it’s got color is really intriguing,” she said of the newly discovered objects. “But I’ve got to caution everybody, there’s a lot of junk out there.”

Malaysia Airlines Crash: How Often Do Planes Go Missing?

Chinese students hold a vigil for Flight 370’s missing passengers (Associated Press)

Malaysia’s Prime Minister is scheduled to make a statement later this morning, so by then we may know more about these new objects and whether or not they came from the missing flight. Of course, I would like to offer one more theory about Flight 370—one that I doubt will be very popular, but that someone should point out as this mystery continues—and I offer it in the form of a question: What if Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 doesn’t exist at all?

I know this may seem a bit “out there,” but given all the crazy conspiracy theories and other explanations for a plane that disappeared without a trace, you have to admit that it’s at least possible. In fact, it could even be used to explain some other events in our world, most notably Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea. After all, what better way to distract other world governments while you swoop in and steal a piece of Ukraine? Granted, the international community has been paying close attention to Russia and President Putin—even going so far as to impose sanctions against them—but Crimea still managed to fall while the rest of us have been pouring over satellite images and listening to theories proposed by people as unqualified to make them as Hole lead singer Courtney Love!

With any luck, though, these new discoveries will finally put this theory—and the multitude of others—to rest, but I certainly wouldn’t get my hopes up. The disappearance of Flight 370 is quite the mystery—and it could remain as such for years to come.

UPDATE: In a press conference this afternoon, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that based on the latest data, it is safe to conclude that Flight 370 went down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean. All the details have not yet been released, but since the Malaysian government is communicating this to victims’ families, it seems to be legitimate. My heart certainly goes out to those who lost loved ones in this terrible and mysterious tragedy.

Don’t Swallow

Get that out of your mouth! (courtesy of Panorama/PA)

This will be a quick post, but I just couldn’t resist mentioning what I found to be a strange and somewhat funny story, at least in a dark and demented way.

On Saturday evening, police in Bond Hill, Ohio pulled a woman over for a routine traffic stop on Interstate 75 near Paddock Road. While the officer was investigating—calling in license plate numbers, checking traffic records… the usual—the 24-year-old woman began choking.

The officer immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver until EMS arrived to take over. Apparently, the woman had swallowed a bag of drugs—fearing prosecution if it was discovered—and instead nearly choked herself to death!

Currently, she is being held at a local hospital and remains in critical condition. Charges have not yet been filed in the case, but I’m sure it won’t be long.

Okay. Maybe this isn’t all that funny given the serious nature of this woman’s condition, but the irony is inescapable. The same drugs she feared would get her into legal trouble ended up getting her into medical trouble instead!

Some people just never learn…

Zombie Freeway

“Hey, ghoul, get off of my truck!” (courtesy of sciencefiction.com)

Traffic jams, carpool lanes, construction crews, bad drivers, hitchhikers, highway patrolmen, emergency vehicles… these are all things you might expect to see as you cruise down the highway in Anytown, USA.

Zombies, on the other hand, are far less common, at least for people not tripping on acid, mushrooms or some other hallucinogenic drug.

Enter Jerimiah Clyde Hartline, a 19-year-old transient who apparently prefers to drive while under the influence of mind-altering substances. More on that in a moment.

Last weekend in Tennessee, Hartline got kicked out of the house and decided to hitch a ride on the first train out of town. Only he didn’t take a train; he hitched a ride with Daniel Martinez, a truck driver heading to California with an ass load of strawberries.

The trip was pretty uneventful until the pair arrived at an inspection site near Temecula, a small city in Riverside County, California. Martinez stepped out to do some paperwork and left his young passenger in the truck.

Bad idea.

A few moments later, Hartline hopped into the driver’s seat, shifted the truck into gear and took off for no apparent reason. Officer Nate Baer—one of the officers on the scene later—believes it occurred because Hartline was “under the influence of a substance that caused him to hallucinate.”

Semis and shrooms don’t mix (courtesy of ABC News)

Sounds reasonable enough to me, especially when you consider what happened next.

Hartline was cruising down the road—which I find very impressive since 18-wheelers are not easy to drive—when he suddenly lost control and began smashing into everything in sight.

First it was a Tacoma, which slammed into a 4Runner that in turn collided with a Mercedes. The driver of the 4Runner should be fine, but two of the Tacoma passengers were seriously injured and rushed to a local hospital.

Hartline’s next victims drove a Taurus and an Accord, respectively. And this time it was the Taurus people who were heading to the hospital.

Fortunately for everyone further down the freeway, the truck flipped over after impacting the Accord and could wreak no more havoc. Of course, that didn’t stop Hartline the Hallucinator, who crawled out, jumped into a nearby van and demanded its driver take him to some as-yet-unknown location.

Unfortunately—at least for Hartline—the driver would have nothing of it and instead restrained him until Baer and his fellow “boys in blue” arrived. And that’s when Baer learned the truth about what caused the accident, injured so many people and damaged so much property.

“He thought zombies were chasing him and clinging to the truck.”

I tell you what. Either Hartline has watched so many episodes of AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead that zombies have now become his reality, or the other thing is true.

He was just on some really good shit. Only it won’t seem so good when he’s behind bars. But Hartline will learn—and teach us all—a very valuable lesson: under no circumstances should you ever hallucinate and drive.

Seems like a no-brainer to me. And that’s exactly how I would describe poor Jerimiah Hartline, too.

Any chance the great and powerful Oz could hook him up scarecrow-style?

Terror at the Airport

Luke Bresette was 10 years old (courtesy of Bresette family)

Expensive tickets. Baggage fees. Long lines. Delays. Body cavity searches. Terrorist watch lists. Equipment malfunctions.

All of these things are synonymous with air travel in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. And since that fateful day, I suspect most of us who are forced to travel by plane dread the experience of racing to the airport and dealing with all the stresses involved.

Probably the last thing we consider is the actual airport structure itself. Yet that is exactly what changed the lives of a family from Overland Park, Kansas forever.

On Saturday, Ryan Bresette and his family were returning from a beach vacation and connecting through Alabama’s Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. With him were his wife Heather and his three sons: Tyler, Sam and Luke. Bresette’s daughter Anna didn’t make the trip.

As the family walked towards the gate of their final flight home, they passed under a huge digital sign, the kind that shows arrivals and departures. This was in a new part of the airport that had recently been modernized and remodeled.

Unfortunately, it seems that someone left this sign unfinished because just as Bresette and his brood passed under it, the sign came crashing down. Larry Snyder was riding up the escalator at the time and saw it happen.

“The family was crushed, little kids crushed underneath the sign,” he told local reporters later. “And everybody was scattering to lift it up.” Snyder included.

By the time rescue workers and other technicians arrived on the scene, young Luke Bresette—a fifth grader at a Catholic school in Kansas City—was dead. His mother Heather broke both of her ankles and her pelvis. She remains in critical condition at a Birmingham hospital. Luke’s brother Tyler suffered a concussion, while his brother Sam broke his nose and his leg. At last check, they were both in fair condition, but doctors are optimistic.

What caused the sign to fall? (courtesy of Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

None of this changes the fact that Luke is gone, of course. And though many have said this was simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I tend to disagree. To me, this was a case of someone doing a half-ass job and killing an innocent child in the process. Sure, it was indirect and presumably unintentional, but it still happened. And it certainly didn’t need to.

I truly feel for Ryan and the Bresette family. Losing a child has to be the worst experience a parent can have. And since my own son is also named Luke, I can’t help but think how I would feel if this had happened to me. Not to make light of this terrible tragedy, but it would be like one of those Earth-killing asteroids impacting our planet and ending all life as we know it. Only the asteroid would be overwhelming grief and the life it would snuff out would be my own. I just don’t think I could handle it.

Please pray for the Bresette’s during this difficult time. And pray that Luke is in a better place than the crumbling, darkening world he was just forced to leave. It certainly couldn’t get much worse.

Fly the Unfriendly Skies

Does Jernnard look like a pilot to you? (courtesy of WSMV)

Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it would now allow passengers to board aircraft with small knives or pocketknives in their carry-on luggage. Larger knives and things like box cutters will still be prohibited.

In light of the September 11th attacks and Homeland Security issues, this announcement struck me as odd and rather contradictory. I remember taking a flight right after the attacks and having my cigarette lighter confiscated, the logic being that I could set some kind of fire, disable the aircraft and perhaps even bring it down as a result.

It seemed far-fetched to me at the time, but I was willing to accept it. After all, sacrifices had to be made in order to ensure greater passenger security. And I was willing to do my part.

This new TSA announcement gives me pause, though. Apparently, they feel small knives couldn’t hurt since things like locked cockpits will prevent someone with a pocketknife from doing any real damage. And since the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 tried to overcome their attackers on 9-11, the TSA is confident that other passengers would step in if someone with a knife tried to start trouble on a domestic flight.

Can you say “wishful thinking”?

All of this is well-and-good until you consider what happened recently aboard a US Airways flight at Philadelphia International Airport.

Last Wednesday, 61-year-old Frenchman Philippe Jernnard put on an Air France shirt and a jacket that looks similar to the ones worn by pilots; boarded the aforementioned US Air flight; walked right into the cockpit; and sat there until several airline employees discovered him and started asking questions. They quickly determined that he was not a pilot and contacted security, who immediately apprehended Jernnard.

Police have not yet determined what Jernnard’s motive might be, but Air France was quick to point out that he was not one of their employees. As such, he is being charged with trespassing, lying to police and impersonating a public servant.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and TSA referred all related calls to the FBI, but have yet to make any official statement.

Given this situation, it seems as if the logic behind the TSA’s “small knives on planes” announcement was quite flawed. Yes, some people stepped in to get Jernnard off the plane, but they were employees, not passengers. And what would have happened if Jernnard sabotaged something in the cockpit before being arrested? I shudder to think of the disaster he could have caused had flight attendants not acted so quickly.

Baggage? Check. Toiletries? Check. Small, sharp knives? Check (courtesy of CNN)

And think about this: Jernnard isn’t even an American citizen. Imagine if someone more familiar with our airport system pulled a similar stunt. They might stand an even better chance of wreaking havoc. And if they also have a small knife on them, who knows what kind of injuries they could cause to suspicious airline employees.

I guess what it all boils down to is this: ALL weapons regardless of size should be prohibited from aircraft. It seems very clear to me that our focus needs to shift back to overall airport security.

Otherwise who knows who will be sitting in the cockpit when you take your next flight. Better yet, is this a risk you’re willing to take?

I’m certainly not.

Bugs on the Bus

Did the roaches pay for their tickets? (courtesy of ABC News)

Passengers aboard a Greyhound bus travelling from Atlantic City to New York on Friday got slightly more than they bargained for. Aside from sharing the ride with a bus full of strangers, they encountered hundreds of unwelcome passengers: cockroaches.

At some point during the fateful trip, roaches started pouring out of air vents, scurrying across the floor and crawling all over people and their belongings.

“There’s like a thousand roaches,” passenger Dawn Alexander later said. “And when I say infested, I mean infested. People were in the aisles literally brushing roaches off of them.”

Another passenger described it this way: “I sat down… roaches started crawling up on our clothes, falling down from the ceiling. Everything.”

As soon as the driver realized what was happening, he immediately pulled over and called for a new bus to be dispatched. Passengers were transferred over and, thankfully, completed the remainder of their trip bug-free.

Greyhound is investigating to determine if the roaches came from the bus or from someone’s luggage. But you and I both know they came from the bus. I’m fairly certain someone with a bag full of roaches would realize it as they were packing.

Between bugs on buses and disasters on cruise ships, it looks like 2013 is going to be a rough year for the transportation and travel industries.  Perhaps this is the year we should all stay closer to home…

Hogtied in the Sky

Business class sure has changed! (courtesy of KDVR)

Airline travel has grown increasingly annoying and expensive. Even after buying high-priced tickets, paying outrageous baggage fees and passing through security checkpoints that can be more invasive than rectal exams, you still have to get on the plane and fly for hours in a cramped space with total strangers.

What happens when one of those strangers freaks out during the flight? Passengers on a recent Iceland Air flight from Reykjavik to New York just learned the answer to this intriguing question.

Apparently a man on the flight went crazy and started behaving in a threatening way. According to airline spokesman Michael Raucheisen, he was “hitting, screaming and spitting at other passengers, while yelling profanities.”

So what did the Iceland Air personnel do to eliminate this threat? They subdued the passenger, strapped him to a seat using zip ties and then wrapped him in duct tape, which includes covering his mouth.

Raucheisen later said that this is standard operating procedure. “This equipment is on board all our flights in case an incident like this arises.”

Once the flight landed at JFK Airport in New York, the unruly passenger was arrested and taken to a local hospital. He has yet to be charged for any crime, but let this be a warning to anyone who travels on Iceland Air: get out of line and you may not be so lucky.

Subway Slaughter Continues

Police investigating the case released this sketch of the person they were seeking.

A sketch of the woman responsible (courtesy of NYPD)

Earlier this month, a homeless man named Naeem Davis was charged with second-degree murder after he pushed 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han onto the tracks in front of a Times Square subway train.

Han died, of course. And now there has been another subway fatality.

On Thursday, a woman who was seen pacing a subway platform and mumbling to herself suddenly pushed 46-year-old Sunando Sen onto the tracks in front of an 11-car train as it entered the station.

Sen was pinned underneath the second car, but was likely dead before the train came to a complete stop.

WAAAY BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE: Riders at the 81st Street station stand well clear of the platform edge yesterday as a train rolls in a day after the deadly subway horror.

Stand way behind the yellow line (courtesy of Warzer Jaff)

New York police said on Saturday that the woman wanted in connection with this heinous crime had been apprehended and is currently in custody. Chief spokesman Paul Browne described the woman as being in her thirties and said she made statements that implicated herself in Sen’s death.

This makes twice in one month that someone has been pushed from a New York subway platform into an oncoming train. Since two times is all it takes to establish a pattern, and since we all know something like this is likely to happen again, I have two important pieces of advice for our friends in The Big Apple:

Find another way to travel, people. And if you must use the subway, please consider standing against the wall to wait for your train. At least that way you’ll have a fighting chance.

New York Post Photographer Watches Man Die

Legitimate news or one step closer to televised executions? (property of the New York Post)

Where does media coverage end and social responsibility begin?

The New York Post is under fire today for running a front-page picture of a man just before he was killed by an oncoming subway train. The headline: “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die… DOOMED.”

58-year-old Ki Suk Han was standing on the platform with a number of others waiting for the Q train to arrive and return him home to Queens. As they were waiting, an unidentified panhandler started harassing people and engaged Han in what eyewitnesses say was a very heated argument.

Of course, no one could have predicted what would happen next.

Just as the train was pulling into the station, the man shoved Han, who fell onto the tracks below. He tried to scramble back onto the platform, but it was too late. The train crushed Han and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.

This in itself is disturbing enough, but there’s more. Apparently there was a freelance photographer from the Post named Umar Abbasi who not only witnessed this horrifying scene, but also snapped some pictures of it. He claimed that he was unable to rescue Han and was using his flash to try and alert the train conductor to the situation, but take a look at the photograph. Does this look like a picture taken in a panic?

Whether or not Abbasi’s story is true, what the Post chose to do with his photograph shows very little tact and even less taste. Here we have a man facing certain death… a man who likely could have been rescued if people acted faster and dropped their cameras… and what does the Post do? They run it on their front page with an equally tactless caption. Didn’t they give any thought to Han’s family, who now have to see their loved one’s last moments of life on every media outlet imaginable?

I guess not.

If you ask me, this is just another sad example of someone caring more about their own professional advancement than the well-being of their fellow man. It also illustrates how blind with power the media has become, power we provide them when we scramble to gobble up every little news tidbit they choose to print, post or broadcast. If there were no market for sensationalized and shocking photos like this one, then perhaps Han would still be alive.

Prepare yourselves, people, because eventually all of this will come to a head and people will start lashing out against the media, the government and every other entity that attempts to control and influence us. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll be ready when the revolution comes. Will you?

Break-up leads to bomb threat

Police: Angry Ex-Girlfriend Triggered US Airways Bomb Hoax (ABC News)

Courtesy of ABC News

Police: Angry Ex-Girlfriend Triggered US Airways Bomb Hoax – Yahoo! News.

Christopher Snell is a young salesman who travels regularly between Philadelphia and Dallas, often on US Airways. He also broke up with his girlfriend, but likely never expected what she would do next.

Earlier today, Christopher boarded a flight to Dallas after being rushed through security checkpoints by a close friend who works in the Philadelphia airport. And when the flight took off, he thought everything was fine.

He was wrong.

Moments into the flight, the plane suddenly turned around and returned to the Philly airport. On the tarmac were all sorts of emergency vehicles, including police vehicles and a SWAT team.

Christopher though nothing of it, at least until several heavily armed policemen stormed in, dragged him to the ground and handcuffed him.

As it turned out, his ex-girlfriend and her new beau had placed an anonymous call to airport security and claimed that Christopher was carrying liquid explosives, which he intended to use sometime during the flight.

This was obviously untrue, but that didn’t prevent Christopher from being detained, searched and interrogated at length. Fortunately, no explosives were found on him or the plane.

Eventually, authorities learned about the break-up and investigated Christopher’s ex. That’s when they learned the truth about the bomb threat, which was nothing more than a very misguided attempt to lash out at Christopher.

Now his ex-girlfriend and her new man are in custody and will likely face very serious federal charges.

If ever there were a reason to end relationships as amicably as possible, this would have to be it. You just never know what your ex might be capable of.

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