Local News

Expert: Malaysia Airlines plane disappearance likely not an accident

Posted March 10, 2014
Updated March 11, 2014

— Whatever led Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to disappear over the South China Sea Saturday, it happened quickly, a Raleigh-based accident reconstruction expert said.

The Boeing 777, with 239 people on board, was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared from radar. No distress signal was sent and no debris has been found as of Monday night.

The plane did not send out any communications prior to its disappearance, which is something to note, said Charles Manning, Jr.

“That usually means some kind of a catastrophe has occurred,”
said Manning, who runs his own accident reconstruction firm and oversaw NASA’s accident lab. “And what does that mean? It means that you might have had a bomb.”

An international effort is underway to find the plane. The U.S. Navy sent a second ship to help with the effort on Monday. The search
involves at least 34 planes and 40 ships from several countries working inside a 115 mile area between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Authorities have focused on two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports, but it is unknown if they were involved in the plane’s disappearance.

Whatever happened may not have been the work of a terrorist organization, but it wasn’t an accident, Manning said.

“I’ve done work for Boeing. I know that airplane,” he said. “The 777 I think is probably the safest airplane ever made.”


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  • barbstillkickin Mar 12, 2014

    Does anyone know what the word ASSUME means. If you do then wait until the investigation is over before pointing fingers. I am sure the plane went down that is a fact as far as the rest well I try not to ever ASSUME.

  • Brian Hill Mar 11, 2014
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    The transponder does relay altitude. It could also be a failure of the transponder or a catastrophic electrical system failure (e.g. an electrical fire).

  • btneast Mar 11, 2014

    I agree with Cary2006. I have participated in the investigation of AAs but would never speculate the cause. If you do, then you find yourself trying to confirm your suspicions. You have to stay totally objective to any possibility. I would agree with you if Mr. Manning was participating in the investigation, but he is NOT. He was aksed for his professional opinion , and he gave it. You know, it is possible that the reporter only put in parts of his conversation?

  • btneast Mar 11, 2014

    [bWith all due respect to Mr. Manning, this is only speculation on his part and not fact][/b] Well yeah.....the article was pretty clear that he was speculating and not asserting it as fact.

  • miseem Mar 11, 2014

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    You can't exactly land a 777 behind a house and hide it. I can't imagine any way that this plane could have landed anywhere undetected, so it's pretty clear it has crashed.

  • Russ Mason Mar 11, 2014
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    And what if the airplane was simply out of transponder range?

  • notexactly Mar 11, 2014

    Very strange indeed, if not interesting. I hope it didn't crash for the passengers sake. But being hijacked would be bad to. At least if hijacked they may still be alive. But I with others on here, if it crashed there should be some parts or something floating you would think. Maybe not. Hope they find out what happened

  • SaveEnergyMan Mar 11, 2014

    The story is from an expert not involved in the case. He can speculate all he wants, but really knows no more than we do.

    This case is curious as a bomb would leave debris in the water. It's a big ocean, maybe they haven't found it yet if they strayed off-course. I'm not sure who would want to hijack a plane to land somewhere else and then not tell anyone their demands or let the passengers go when they got there.

    Speculation is all we have and that keeps the news story alive, at least for now.

  • simplelogic Mar 11, 2014

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    Thanks - does the transponder relay altitude? If so, and there was no descent before it went silent, wouldn't that mean that it was either turned off deliberately, or the plane basically blew up?

  • Kristin Byrne Mar 11, 2014
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    I was thinking possibly North Korea. They're crazy enough.