How can a jet disappear? Good question. Aircraft flying at altitude just don’t vanish without a trace. If a plane breaks up at altitude it will leave a debris field miles long, easily visible to search and rescue teams. If the plane nosedives into the water then there might not be much visible evidence. However, the seas where MH370 supposedly went down are a shallow 200 feet. This is well within diver depths and wreckage should be easy to locate if not by visuals then certainly by sonar.
The article compares this crash to the Air France 447 crash of 2009 as a way of showing how long it might take to find a crashed plane. This is not an apt comparison as Air France 447 went down in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in waters up to 15,000 feet deep and far away from shipping lanes (and even flight paths). The MH370 allegedly went down in shallow water near ome of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — In an age when people assume that any bit of information is just a click away, the thought that a jetliner could simply disappear over the ocean for more than two days is staggering. But Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is hardly the first reminder of how big the seas are, and of how agonizing it can be to try to find something lost in them.
It took two years to find the main wreckage of an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. Closer to the area between Malaysia and Vietnam where Saturday’s flight vanished, it took a week for debris from an Indonesian jet to be spotted in 2007. Today, the mostly intact fuselage still sits on the bottom of the ocean.
"The world is a big place," said Michael Smart, professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Queensland in Australia. "If it happens to come down in the middle of the ocean and it’s not near a shipping lane or something, who knows how long it could take them to find?"