Malaysia Flight #370: Missing over the Gulf of Thailand

The Boeing 777 took off just past midnight on Saturday, March 8th. It had leveled at 35,000 feet before contact was lost. A 12-mile-long oil slick was found in waters to the south of Vietnam. The simplest explanation, based on the minimal news that has thus far been revealed, is that this may have been a terrorist event. Two passengers listed on the official passenger manifest were not on board and did not try to board this flight; their passports, stolen last August and two years ago, were evidently used by two unidentified passengers.

Here’s a clip from a NY Times article dated 3/9/14:

“…Operating as Flight MH370, the plane left Kuala Lumpur just after midnight on Saturday, headed for Beijing. Air traffic control in Subang, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, lost contact with the plane around 1:30 a.m., Malaysia’s civil aviation department said. China Central Television said that according to Chinese air traffic control officials, the aircraft never entered Chinese airspace.

A European counterterrorism official said the Italian man whose passport was stolen, Luigi Maraldi, 37, called his parents from Thailand, where he is vacationing, after discovering that someone by the same name was listed on the passenger manifest. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Maraldi reported the theft last August to the Italian police. The official said the passport of the Austrian man, Christian Kozel, 30, who is currently in Austria, was stolen about two years ago.

The European official said he was surprised that it had been possible to check in with stolen passports at the Kuala Lumpur airport and that an alert should have popped up on the airline agent’s computer….”

UPDATE, 3/10/14: — a Wikipedia page clarifies that the flight departed at 00:41 Kuala Lumpur time on Saturday, March 8th (16:41 UTC on March 7th, thus 11:41 AM on Friday, March 7th, New York time).
UPDATE, 3/11/14: — As always, Leehamnet has an excellent Post tracking ‘progress’ (?) on the search. Within that post is a link to an article at The Aviation Herald, where this comment was submitted: “…with absolute and all sympathy and respect for victim’s families, the handling of this disaster is another disaster. I have followed this site since day one, and so far Malaysian handling of this reads like a Monty Python script: Plane goes missing, ATC doesn’t tell airline for a while, apparently landed in China, they know nothing of this, BUT they DO know it descended and changed direction? Rumors of 10-tons of gold on a/c and confirmed Interpol-wanted passengers on board. Debris in sea here, there, everywhere, not the plane? Mobile phones ringing, airline reps talking about Italian football players, military ATC decides plane actually went towards Indian ocean. Three days later. Possibly. Maybe….”
UPDATE, 3/15/14: — Latest news reports reveal what appear to be critical actions by a person(s) to disable aircraft-satellite communications and then turn off the transponder. The flight allegedly then climbed to FL450 before descending to FL230, climbing again and heading west. A new webpage by presents charts and a brief analysis of the original filed flightplan from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.