I could feel my own heavy heart as Prime Minister of Malaysia declared that the missing flight MH370 has indeed plunged deep into the remote corner of Southern Indian Ocean. Not that I had any hope that any passenger would survive, neither, I had any loved ones in that flight. However, for some reason, this tragedy has stunned many of us thinking a flight carrying 239 people on board could simply vanish leaving the entire world clueless. In this modern age, where we do something stupid hoping nobody would see, and we end up on YouTube the next morning for the whole world to see, and here we have a missing Boeing 777 that the entire world is searching and we are not able to find it. This has freaked most of us. Suddenly, whatever advancement in aviation technology that we have been boasting about has stared looking farce. And to be more honest, with this news of missing flight not going away anywhere for some time, those of us who fly or whose loved ones frequently fly, we are all nervous imagining the vulnerability of the whole flying business. My husband travels abroad frequently, and I have to be honest that this time I am scared thinking, “What if….?”. When I stop myself picturing that unimaginable tragedy, I cannot help but think about those families who have lost their loved ones in this tragedy.
We still do not know what exactly happened to MH370. Did it crash mid-air? Are terrorists involved? Was it a pilot suicide? Or a pilot sabotage? Is the flight in Pakistan? Or did aliens take away the flight? There are thousands of theories floating around, with each expert coming with different answers. Amid the void of information, somehow the media seems to forget that there were 239 lives inside that flight who have left behind hundreds of family members. For one moment, let us just imagine the plight of those families who are still looking for answers what exactly happened to their loved ones. Let us imagine their unbearable days of waiting for information. This is not the first crash that we have heard about, and these families are not the first ones who have faced such tragedies. Yet, coping with the trauma of losing a family member is one thing, but not knowing what exactly happened to their loved ones could be utterly devastating and heart-breaking. A grieving husband of the passenger stated, “ I only hope that she didn’t have much pain, after hours of harrowing travel,” and one can imagine how painful it is for anyone to first deal with the loss, and then come to terms by hoping that the loved one had an easy death.
Worse, these families are not able to get closure because in their minds, they still think of remote possibility that their loved ones are still alive. With all those advanced and sophisticated technologies being used to search the missing flight, yet, authorities are not able to provide any physical evidence that the plane has indeed crashed. With only probabilistic evidence with no sign of debris, how can we expect families and relatives to reconcile that their loved ones are actually dead. Perhaps questions about how their loved ones actually met the end give these relatives sleepless nights. “Did he know something was wrong the moment the flight turned back?”, “Did she cry for six hours before the plane finally crashed?”, “Is she alive somewhere in the remote place?” and so on. Their pain, anger, hope, frustration, and desperation- it is difficult to imagine the emotional turmoil they have been going through and even harder to imagine the psychological impact of this distress.
While the 24-hours news channels and social media are busy speculating what exactly happened to the flight, and coming up with several theories, let us for one second, think about those family members and pray that God give them enough strength to cope with this unimaginable tragedy. And let us just hope that for the sanity of those hundreds of relatives and families that are left behind by the passengers and crew members of MH370, and other frequent flyers like many of us, the Government does not give up and continue searching the flight.