Mystery of vanished Malaysia Airlines plane bewilders, frustrates
On Wednesday, the FBI said it has been enlisted to analyze files that the airplane's captain deleted from a flight simulator he kept at home.
The government in China — where two-thirds of the passengers were from — has criticized Malaysia, saying it has been slow to release reliable information. A group of passengers' relatives in Beijing, the flight's destination, announced a hunger strike to express anger over the handling of the investigation.
Malaysia has defended its investigation, saying it wants to release information only after it is corroborated and pointing out that the search is arguably the most complicated in aviation history.
Meanwhile, search teams from 26 nations were active. There are Chinese satellites, Australian surveillance planes and Indonesian naval ships. All spend tedious hours "mowing the grass," as surveillance plane crews call the task of meticulously covering thousands of square miles of ocean each day.
Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, likened finding the Boeing 777 to locating a few people somewhere between New York and California.
In other words, luck is at play. Or perhaps something more mysterious.
When it became clear that the plane was going to be harder to find than initially thought, help came from an unusual quarter. A shaman, known in the local language as "bomoh," appeared at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, apparently uninvited, to offer his services.
Ibrahim Mat Zin — who calls himself Raja Bomoh Sedunia, or "World Shaman King " — strode into the departure area of the airport wearing a suit and tie and began his ritual: With hundreds of curious onlookers watching, he used bamboo binoculars and a fish trap to begin zeroing in on the plane's location.
Lowy reported from Washington, Pritchard from Los Angeles. Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Eric Tucker in Washington and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this story. Contact Joan Lowy: https://twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy. Contact Justin Pritchard: https://twitter.com/lalanewsman
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