Ever since the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 mysteriously vanished into thin air after disappearing from the civilian radar system on the fateful morning of 8 March, the aircraft's automated ping to Inmarsat's satellite has been taken as the only credible clue to its final whereabouts.
Building on that data, Malaysian authority revealed on Tuesday evening that the aircraft finally "logged off" from the satellite system by 9:15am (Malaysian time). The most plausible explanation to that was that the aircraft had finally run out of the fuel before it catastrophically crashed into the Ocean.
This analysis is consistent with what has been referred to as the 'Ghost Plane' theory, which suggests that the plane was flying in auto-pilot and it finally went down when the fuel ran out.
"No response was received from the aircraft at 01:15 UTC (9.15am Malaysian time), when the ground earth station sent the next log on/log off message. This indicates that the aircraft was no longer logged on the network," acting Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein told a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday.
"Therefore, sometime between 00:11 UTC (8.11am) and 01:15 UTC (9:15am), the aircraft was no longer able to communicate with the ground station.
"This is consistent with the maximum endurance of the aircraft," he said adding: "I must emphasize that this is not the final position of the aircraft," referring to the 8:11am handshake with the satellite.
This new revelation gives ample credibility to the theory, now widely discussed as the 'Ghost Plane' theory, which suggests that the plane suddenly lost its capin pressure before veering off its path. The pilots only managed to veer the plane off its route in their attempt to find the nearest landing place, most possible somewhere in Malaysia itself or possibly the nearest country.
Why couldn't they pass the mayday code? The simple explanation is that they simply had no time. By the time they veered off the plane the lost cabin pressure took the better of them and no sooner had they turned the plane drastically towards the opposite direction than they lost consciousness themselves.
What happened next is easy to guess, going by this theory. The Auto-pilot of the plane automatically took over the plane; it continued to fly relentlessly following a straight path down into the southern ocean. Eight hours into its blind 'ghost' ride, the ill-fated plane finally ran out of fuel before catastrophically plunging into the ocean in the remote waters of roaring forties.
The ping at 8:11 was initially used by investigators to establish the northern and southern corridors search area, which was considered to be the sixth ping the aircraft sent. Hishammudin revealed on Tuesday that investigators observed a seventh and partial handshake that was sent out at 8:19am from the aircraft, which was yet unexplained.