A student from Stanford University has touted a theory about what happened to the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, suggesting a slow decompression may have caused passengers and pilot to suffocate without even knowing.
Andrew Aude, a computer science student, who "considered studying Aerospace engineering", theorised there was a likely fuselage failure near the antenna adapter, disabling all or some of the plane's GPS and other satellite and radar communication systems.
"Thus," Aude explains on his Tumblr post, "only primary radars would detect the plane. Primary radar range is usually less than 100nm [nautical mile], and is generally ineffective at high altitudes."
The 20-year-old, whose father is a pilot, suggests the plane suffered a non-catastrophic decompression which incapacitated the crew.
"It could have been a slow decompression. (This scenario is more likely if the “mumbles” observed by another MH pilot are legitimate.)
"It could have also been an extremely rapid decompression, forcing the lungs to exhale more rapidly than they are capable of. Either type of decompression makes it difficult for the crew to respond before becoming incapacitated."
Aude explains although alarms will go off in a plane when unexpected decompression occurs, it is "far more difficult" to react to this correctly.
"It takes a surprising amount of training to instill into pilots that what they *need* to do first is put on oxygen masks," he adds."
The student points out the Boeing 777 had an early history of decompressions - but do not deploy passenger oxygen masks until the cabin altitude reaches 13,500ft.
An old newspaper article from the New Straits Times
A similar scenario happened in 2005 on a Helios Airways Boeing 737 aircraft, which suddenly lost cabin pressure at high altitude, causing the pilot to pass out.
Aude also has an explanation for the ringing phones, saying: "If the plane flew over or near land, then cellular connectivity is still possible."
The mystery surrounding the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger plane deepened on Thursday morning after the Malaysian Transport Minister robustly dismissed a number of reports.
Officials confirmed they still know nothing, with a press conference this morning ending with lots of denials, little new information and still no sign of the plane.
There was yet another dramatic twist as Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein denied reports the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet may have flown for four hours, escalating the confusion over what is already one of the most baffling mysteries in modern aviation history.
Amid all the speculation, Aude's stands out as the only one with logical reasoning.