Sunday, 16 March 2014

The eerie case of 1977's Flight 653

Thirty-seven years ago, a Malaysia Airlines jet was hijacked and the ensuing crash, presumably due to a fight between the plane's crew and a terrorist, was so violent no intact bodies were ever found.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 had departed Penang, Malaysia on its way to Kuala Lumpur on a Sunday morning. As the plane descended, a lone terrorist believed to be a member of the Japanese Red Army, a militant communist group, hijacked the Boeing 737. The crew immediately reported the hijacking to air traffic controllers.

According to reports from the Aviation Safety Network, the hijacker demanded to be flown to Singapore. While exactly what happened next isn't clear, it's believed the hijacker shot both pilots and then himself en route to Singapore, presumably during a fight.

"The cockpit voice recordings indicate noises suggestive of the cockpit door being broken in, along with a reasonable amount of screaming and cursing. No noises are heard from within the cockpit to indicate any of the three occupants were conscious. The autopilot was then disconnected, possibly due to a pitch input by someone entering the cockpit and trying to control the aircraft. An investigator speculated that someone pulled back on the column, causing a pitch up, followed by an oscillation," and rapid dive, Aviation Safety Network reports.

It was around this time the plane fell off radar screens and all efforts to reestablish radio contract failed.

Later, a crash was reported by villagers near a Malaysian swamp. Rescue personnel at the swamp found a horrific scene of charred debris and bodies and experts later said the plane hit the ground at a near vertical angle.

All 100 people on board were killed; the collision was so violent no intact bodies were found.

All recovered remains were x-rayed in an attempt to discover evidence of a projectile or weapon. No weapon or bullet was ever found.

The victims' remains were later interred in a mass burial and a memorial was placed at the site.

The Japanese Red Army never claimed responsibility for the crash and conspiracy theories over what really happened abounded.

Sunday 16 March 2014


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