I realize this is a delicate situation to talk about, because it involves the lives of 200+ passengers and crew, and by extension all their families and friends. But let’s be real here: people love crazy speculation about strange stuff like this. And the longer we go without answers, the crazier the speculation gets.
So let’s take a sober look at some of the theories about what happened to the flight, and set some odds for what’s likely and what’s not. As always, all odds are completely made up by me.
3:2 – A mechanical/electronic/pilot failure lead to the plane crashing into the ocean: This is still the most likely explanation. But it’s also the most terrifying explanation, and therefore the thing that people least want to believe. What we want to believe is that we live in a small, understandable world that mankind has pretty much mastered, where stuff like this gets explained eventually. Nobody wants to think that we live in a world that, in a random fluke, could swallow up 200 people and a big ol’ plane without a trace. But we probably do.
3:1 – Pilot shenanigans: A few days ago, I would’ve said that a random crash was far and away the most likely explanation. But this theory is coming up fast on the outside. A lot of abnormalities are coming to light, and, for most of them, the simplest explanation is that the pilot made them happen on purpose, with a specific plan in mind. If that’s the case, we could be talking about pilot suicide or an attempt to steal the airplane. And if you think that sounds nuts, just wait.
4:1 – A terrorist attack led to the plane exploding and/or crashing into the ocean: If a bomb downed the plane, it may have been on purpose, or it may have been an accident by terrorists performing a test run or just transporting explosives to someplace where they were going to set them off on purpose, which may sound stupid but isn’t even in the top 25 of the stupidest things you’ve ever heard of a terrorist doing, and would explain why terrorist organizations aren’t lining up to claim credit.
8:1 – Navigation and radio failure led plane to stray into hostile airspace where it was shot down: If this happened, the nation responsible, embarrassed after discovering that they had shot down a civilian airliner, might now be furiously trying to cover the whole thing up. We’re all looking at you, China.
30:1 – Plane got lost, crashed on land, most or all aboard survived and are waiting to be found: If this proves to be true, we’ll get to see what happens when every news organization on the planet calls J.J. Abrams at once.
50:1 – Plane stolen by someone who is not the pilot: Pulling this off without the cooperation of the flight crew would be a James-Bond-villain-worthy accomplishment. If it’s true, I only hope that the party responsible is based in a hollowed-out volcano so we can settle the whole thing properly — by rappelling ninjas into it and shooting the place up.
1000:1 – Bermuda Triangle (or whatever you would call the same thing in the South China Sea): The Bermuda Triangle was a big deal when I was a kid, and it’s high time we had another run of Leonard Nimoy specials about the mysterious disappearance of ships and planes. If we can get the Loch Ness Monster involved too, then finally the Weekly World News can take its rightful place as the world’s finest news source.