Point by Hayley FitzPatrick

On March 8, 2014, 239 passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing when the plane routed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared within the first hour of the flight. The transponder turned off — whether that was intentional or not we may never know — and with the pilot’s last words, “All right, good night,” all communication ceased.

Soon after, Thai military radar detected an unknown aircraft traveling in the opposite direction that Flight 370 should have been, flying thousands of miles off course. Presumably, Flight 370 made a massive turn and disappeared off the radar. From the beginning of this tragedy, Malaysian authorities have been a poor source of information, insensitive to the public and incompetent in relaying correct, reliable information.

From the initial announcement of the plane’s disappearance, Malaysian authorities have issued conflicting statements regarding the last known location of the plane and details of the transponder. Since the plane went missing, news headlines have stated that major developments in locating Flight 370 have been made. Instead, just fragments of information are released.

There was news that passengers’ cell phones were still ringing when called, which fueled conspiracy theories that the plane landed in a remote location. There have been questionable reports about the pilot and his motives — was it a suicide mission because of personal trouble at home? Was it politically motivated? The search has created a media circus and Malaysian authorities have done nothing to curtail this. Their incompetence has only propelled the theories and frenzy that follows in the media.

On March 24, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that Flight 370 “ended” in the Indian Ocean. Before the press conference that revealed this news to the public, some of the families learned of the tragic fate of their loved ones via text message. It is unimaginable that the Malaysian government would deem such a compassionless measure of informing the families this way acceptable.

Counterpoint by Christine Angell

It is undeniable that the missing Malaysian plane is a tragedy for all involved. The presumed death toll from the missing flight is 239 and the details of the fate of the plane remain in question.

There have been tremendously harsh criticisms of the way the Malaysian government and the airline have handled the aftermath of the crash; perhaps, a little too harsh. While the airline has provided factual information about the search efforts for the aircraft, they did not provide any details on the crash itself because they have no information. Anything the airline could say with regard to what actually happened to the plane is speculatory.

Today, we are conditioned to want to be informed instantly. But, in this situation, the airline had no information to provide and therefore waited to make a statement until some information was compiled about the search efforts.

The Malaysian government deserves to take a little more of the heat. They have determined that all passengers on the plane have died without actually touching or identifying the debris in the south Indian Ocean as a part of the plane. Yes, they are most likely dead, but it is not certain.

Furthermore, the families of the victims were contacted via text message with the news about their allegedly deceased loved ones. The Malaysian government can be charged with being irresponsible and disrespectful, but what can they do? They have no more information than anyone else, so what are they supposed to say to these families? We hold expectations for information to be instantly provided to us, which the Malaysian government obviously cannot deliver on.

Both Malaysian Airlines and the Malaysian government have made some mistakes in the aftermath of this tragic incident. However, we all need to keep in mind that they do not have the answers we all are asking for and are making the best decisions they can in the moment to prevent speculation and rumors from arising. We all need to just step back for a minute, let them do their jobs and have a little patience.

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