It would seem the year 2014 is not the time to fly--anywhere.
Last night Air Algerie flight AH-5017 disappeared off radar screens as it traveled from Ouagadougou, Barkina Faso to Algiers. According to NBC it departed at 1:17 AM local time and was due to arrive at 5:10 AM. NBC also reported that the Swiftair operated MD-83 contacted air control 21 minutes after take off and requested to change its route due to heavy rain and storms.
Initial reports say the aircraft was last contacted near Gao, Mali which is in the far south east part of that country. A day long search failed to find any signs of the plane A couple of hours ago Reuters, quoted Mali president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as saying wreckage was spotted in the northern desert region of his nation. The report remains unconfirmed and in fact, at this moment, there are at least two other claims of wreckage being spotted in completely different areas of the country.
That's right, welcome to 21st century journalism, everyone can go global in a nano second and they do it before confirming anything.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Agency describes the air space over Mali as "potentially hostile." At least one expert on the area thinks none of the armed groups operating in the country have the means to bring down a jet flying at an altitude above 24,000 feet. Yes, yes, we've heard similar opinions lately, although in a different place and at a different height. The Malaysian prime minister makes sure we're well aware of them.
According to reports there were 116 passengers and crew aboard, 51 of them French nationals.
Yesterday, a Trans Asia flight crashed on the Taiwanese island of Penghu. Of the 58 people on board 48 were killed and 10 were injured. In addition five people on the ground were hurt. The turbo prop had made one attempted landing, but aborted and was going around again for a second attempt. Early speculation is weather was a factor in the crash.
Meanwhile a couple of more planes loaded with the bodies of victims in the Malaysia Airlines disaster last week have left Ukraine and are bound for the Netherlands.
Pro Russian separatist forces are still saying they don't have a weapon capable of shooting down the Boeing 777 aircraft. These same master propagandists have spent last 24 hours bragging their anti aircraft crews shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets yesterday. The planes were knocked out of the sky about 25 miles from the MH-17 crash site.
Obviously there are some missile systems in the eastern Ukraine, but not others--you know--the ones which shoot down civilian aircraft. To believe it all we have to do is trust the people around Donetsk who are blasting away at airplanes as if they're hunting ducks somewhere near Monroe, Louisiana.
And finally, as CNN keeps reminding us during this terrible parade of tragedy, Malaysian Airlines flight MH-370 is still missing and no one has a clue as to what, why, or where.
So far in 2014 more people have perished during air travel than the last five years combined.
What does this gruesome number mean? Is it just one of those statistical anomalies which every so often pops up and bites us in the collective ass? Or, as many conspiracy theory quacks speculate, is it the dreaded Illuminati trying to cement their control of the world?
Maybe the first, but certainly not the second. In the end, I tend to go with a third option. Let's face it, as fantastic as our technology has become you still need competent and sane human beings to operate it. Unfortunately, it has been proven time and time again during this century, competency and sanity are two commodities we are are dangerously short of.
sic vita est