Report: Malaysia Airlines Co-Pilot Made “Desperate Call” Before Plane Went Missing

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 12 2014 3:06 PM

Report: Malaysia Airlines Co-Pilot Made “Desperate Call” Before Plane Went Missing

Trent Wyatt, a crew member of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion, on lookout during the search to locate missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at sea over the Indian Ocean

Photo by Richard Wainwright - Pool/Getty Images

Investigators who are looking into the disappearance of Flight MH370 believe co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid made a “desperate call from his mobile phone as the plane was flying low near Penang,” reports Malaysia’s New Straits Times. The newspaper cites anonymous sources who claim the attempted phone call was picked up by a cellphone tower but ended abruptly. "The telco's (telecommunications company's) tower established the call that he was trying to make. On why the call was cut off, it was likely because the aircraft was fast moving away from the tower and had not come under the coverage of the next one," according to a source cited by the newspaper. Another source, however, says that the signal linked to the cellphone could have been the result of the co-pilot switching on his phone rather than making a call.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned that the signals thought to be from the plane's black boxes are “rapidly fading” and finding the plane will involve a “massive, massive task.” Batteries in the black boxes are already past their normal 30-day lifespan, points out Reuters. The goal of investigators is to try to narrow down the search area as much as possible. At the very least, there is optimism that the signals detected in recent days do belong to at least one of the two black boxes from the missing plane, reports CNN.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

John Oliver Debunks the Miss America Pageant’s Claim That It Gives Out $45 Million in Scholarships

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Sept. 22 2014 2:55 PM Nuptial Expert Sarkozy Worries About Gay Marriage and the Family
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Sept. 22 2014 2:12 PM Crusader, Sans Cape The superhero trappings of Gotham are just a clever disguise.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.