Marie Claire (South Africa) - - REPORTAGE - By J BROOKS SPEC­TOR, as­so­ciate ed­i­tor / The Daily Mav­er­ick

ON 8 MARCH, ML370 left Kuala Lumpur, head­ing for Beijing, car­ry­ing 239 peo­ple from 14 coun­tries. With­out plane veered off course head­ing out over the In­dian Ocean where it likely plunged to a wa­tery grave, killing all on board. De­spite in­creas­ingly fran­tic in­ter­na­tional search and res­cue ef­forts, satel­lite imag­ing and high-tech re­mote sens­ing equip­ment, no trace of the plane has been dis­cov­ered. As the fruit­less search con­tin­ued, fam­ily mem­bers of the pas­sen­gers de­manded ex­pla­na­tions, in­creas­ingly crit­i­cal of their treat­ment by Malaysia Air­lines. With no ex­pla­na­tion, an­guished fam­i­lies have re­fused to ac­cept the plane just, well, van­ished.

Just four months later, on 17 July, a sec­ond catas­tro­phe struck the air­line. Flight MH17, en route to Kuala Lumpur from The Nether­lands, was east­ern Ukraine. Malaysia Air­lines had, up to that point, de­clined to shift de­spite other in­ter­na­tional air­lines choos­ing to do so. With no ad­vance warn­ing, an ex­plo­sion tore into the plane, car­ry­ing all 298 peo­ple, in­clud­ing South African he­li­copter pi­lot Cameron Dalziel, to their deaths.

For days after the at­tack, the crash site de­scended fur­ther into chaos as the man­gled wreck­age and dis­mem­bered bod­ies lay ex­posed in the sum­mer heat. Ukrainian rebel forces ini­tially blocked in­ves­ti­ga­tors onto the scene and would not al­low coroners to gather re­mains. Now, months after the crash, there is still no agree­ment on what hap­pened.

In­dus­try ex­perts have spec­u­lated about Malaysia Air­lines’ sur­vival th­ese calami­ties, with pas­sen­gers avoid­ing the air­line. In the ab­sence of any cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion, the mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ance of ML370 has trig­gered con­spir­acy the­o­ries that range from the plane’s ab­duc­tion to a real-life ver­sion of the TV se­ries

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