AT PRECISELY 00:41 ON 8 MARCH, MALAYSIAN AIRWAYS Flight 370 thundered down runway 32 R and lifted into the cloudy, moonlit night. It was the last time the Boeing 777 was seen.
At 01:19, a voice from the flight deck of MH 370, later confirmed to be that of First Officer, Fariq Hamid, signs off from radar control in Kuala Lumpur.
One moment radar showed the plane travelling northwest at 542 miles per hour; the next, it had vanished. 370's flight transponder had ceased responding. The military noted the time: 43 seconds past 1: 20 am.
At 2:15 am Malaysian military radar spots an aircraft that isn't using its transponder on the west side of the Malaysian peninsular. At this point Flight 370 would have been roughly 180° off course.
At 8:11 am the last satellite signal ("ping") sent from 370, and known as a "hand-shake", is detected.
Almost a month later, no debris from the plane has been found, and the mystery deepens, in large part due to the over-cautious statements issued by the Malaysian government, which has had the effect not only of adding to the anguish of the relatives but generating deep doubt as to the veracity and competence of the Malaysian authorities in charge of the search.
At first efforts to locate the missing plane were focussed on the Gulf of Thailand but by 16 March it was established that the 777's trajectory lay across the southern Indian ocean. The search was thus relocated and concentrated on an area the size of Italy, a thousand or so miles off the south west coast of Australia.
The journey in terms of information was just as convoluted. There were red herrings, first in the form of two passengers travelling on stolen passports, initially thought to be potential terrorists or hijackers and later confirmed as young asylum-seekers. The second red herring was the last voice transmission from the cockpit. "Alright, Good-night" was not the usual form of signing-off, and spawned speculation that it was a coded way of disclosing a problem. However, on 1 April Fariq's last words were revealed to be quite as they should: "Goodnight, Malaysian Three Seven Zero".
THERE ARE FIVE MAIN THEORIES AS TO THE DEMISE of Flight 370: a terrorist act, a hijack, sabotage, a catastrophic malfunction, and a suicide mission.
The first three theories can be discounted. Any organization behind a terrorist act would have been proud to claim responsibility, and there have been no declarations and no celebrations. Furthermore, there was no increase in "chatter" prior to the date of the doomed flight, which has preceded other acts of terrorism. Police have cleared all the passengers of the four key areas being investigated - hijacking, sabotage and psychological and personal problems. Were the plane to have exploded, such an event would have been detected by satellite.
Which leaves a catastrophic malfunction and a suicide mission.
A catastrophic malfunction is also beginning to look increasingly unlikely. For a start, the Triple Seven has one of the best records for safety of any aircraft. Were, say, a fire to have broken out or some other major failure to have occurred, that it disabled both transponders, which, incidentally, are specifically designed to be difficult to turn on or off accidentally, yet allowed the ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System) to function is incredible. Not impossible but incredible. Also of great significance is that a portion of the ACARS stopped working 14 minutes after the loss of the transponders, which leads some experts to believe that someone intentionally tried to turn off the system. And it isn't an easy job negotiating your way through a complicated flight management computer system. Even finding the circuit breaker isn't a job for an amateur.
Another big question is why the Triple Seven went above its "ceiling" of 38,000 feet to 45,000 feet, then plunged down to 15,000 feet. While this is not incompatible with a valiant attempt by the pilots to extinguish a fire or cope with some other dire emergency, it is also not incompatible with a struggle in the cockpit.
The main problem with the theory of a catastrophic event is that so many of the actions in the wake of the last communication at 1:19 am appear to have been deliberate. Someone had command of the plane. The aircraft changed course intentionally - someone in the cockpit had to manually type seven or eight key strokes into a computer lodged in a pedestal between the captain and the First Officer in order to do so. And although in an emergency all pilots are conditioned to activate, navigate and communicate - in that order - it would have taken less time to shout "MayDay! MayDay!" than to instruct the aircraft to change course; and, of course, you could do both things at the same time.
So, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
And that to my mind means a suicide mission.
THE HOROSCOPE FOR FLIGHT 370 TELLS A MYSTERIOUS STORY. In Kuala Lumpur on 8 March as the Triple Seven bound for Beijing took off, 7° Sagittarius was rising with 7° Virgo on the Mid-heaven. Situated within a degree and a half of the IC was planet Neptune, squaring the moon in Gemini precisely on the Descendant. And if there is one planet uniquely associated with mystery it is Neptune; it is also synonymous with loss, deception, sacrifice and betrayal. Let's take these one at a time.
Mystery - obviously because we have no idea what happened; and it may remain a mystery.
Loss - the plane is lost and, although no bodies have been found, it must be assumed that all 239 passengers and crew have lost their lives.
Deception: while the Malaysian authorities might not be lying to the relatives and the rest of the world, they have certainly been economical and tardy with the truth. In consequence conspiracy theories are rampant. Deception also applies to the probability that the person or persons responsible for the loss of the plane deceived everyone.
Betrayal: getting on an airplane in the first place demands a level of trust in the people who are flying it, and, if, as it seems, the plane was deliberately flown into oblivion, for those on board Flight 370 that trust was well and truly broken.
Also the near-certitude that the plane ended in the deeps of the Indian Ocean places Neptune's trident firmly on this mystery.
There is enough evidence in the horoscope to support the possibility that we may never know what happened. The plane and its black box will never be found. However, one small ray of hope lies in the aspect between the sun in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio. That the ruler of the ninth house of travel is favourably angling Saturn - and an applying aspect at that - suggests ultimately there will be answers. The sun is also widely angling the Jupiter-Pluto opposition in the second and eighth houses, which is indicative of vast pay-outs to the relatives of those who died, and secrets eventually being revealed. Also, the horoscope does not contain a particularly violent and explosive theme, which leads me to believe that there was not a huge amount of turmoil involved in the event, and that most, if not all on board, were unconscious at the time the plane plunged into the Indian Ocean.
Finally, that other element to Neptune - sacrifice.
When you commit suicide, you perform the ultimate sacrifice. And with Neptune's imprint on this event, suicide must be considered a factor. And, if you commit suicide by deliberately crashing a commercial jet filled with passengers, those 239 individuals will have been sacrificed for your moment of desperation.
Since the authorities have discounted any of the passengers as possible terrorists, madmen and saboteurs, this leaves the crew, more specifically Captain Zaharie Shah and First Officer, Fariq Hamid.
NOT A LOT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE CAPTAIN AND THE First Officer, other than they both appeared to be thoroughly nice men who were passionate about flying. Much was initially made of the co-pilot having invited passengers into the cockpit on other flights, but he was by all accounts a serious and religious young man, engaged to be married to another pilot. Flight 370 was his first unsupervised flight on a Triple Seven, although he had flown supervised on six other occasions. He had been with Malaysian Airways for seven years.
FARIQ HAMID WAS BORN ON 1 APRIL 1987 in Segamat, Malaysia. There is no known time of birth. What we can see from his solar chart is that he is a sun Aries with the moon and Mars in Taurus. The sun is conjunct Jupiter and square Neptune, so we can surmise that he is adventurous, quite the dreamer, and prone to taking risks, even something of a gambler. At this point in time Uranus-Pluto-Jupiter and Mars are all activating his natal chart, which, on the one hand, might indicate a blossoming of extremist religious views and, on the other, the potential to be caught up in some life-altering events. Transiting Saturn is close to natal Mars, which could have frustrated his efforts in recent weeks; and since Mars is the sun ruler, we could say that Saturn may not only have thwarted his ambitions but could have cut short his life.
As always, it is important to remember that such transits will be affecting countless numbers of charts in a similar way right now, and while not every one of these individuals is becoming an extremist or facing life-altering events, they will nonetheless be undergoing some profound experiences which will change them as people.
CAPTAIN ZAHARIE SHAH IS A VETRAN PILOT. He joined Malaysian Airways in 1981, and has logged 18,000 hours of flying time. He is married, the father of three, a passionate cook and a keen fisherman. Those who knew him speak well of him.
Reports abound, however, that his wife and children had moved out of the house the day before the ill-fated flight; his wife having informed Zaharie that she was leaving him. According to a fellow pilot who spoke to the New Zealand Herald, the Captain had been "terribly upset" over his "relationship troubles".
Also, a matter of hours before the flight, the Malaysian Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim - an in-law of Zaharie's - was given a jail sentence.
We do not have a time of birth for Captain Zaharie Shah but on the day he was born the sun was in Leo, the moon in Pisces or Aries, and Mars in Virgo. There is an important T-square configuration formed by the sun in opposition to Jupiter squaring Neptune; and there could be another - moon opposing Mars squared by Venus. Mercury in Cancer is opposed by Saturn, an aspect worthy of consideration here since not only does it underpin Shah's scientific, mathematical and technical skills but may also have inspired periodic bouts of depression, and certainly some dark thoughts from time to time.
At this point in 2014 there are no significant transits affecting the captain's solar chart, with the exception of Neptune's opposition to natal Pluto. However, with the known difficulties that he is presently working through, we must assume that the current Grand Cross (Jupiter opposition Pluto squaring Mars opposition Uranus) is hammering one or both major axes.
At the time Flight 370 took off the four angles of the horoscope, the moon and Neptune picked up Shah's radical Pluto while Venus conjuncted his natal Jupiter - within a minute of exactitude. In Hamid's case the four angles of the flight chart, Neptune and the moon all connect with his natal Neptune while Uranus conjoins his north-node - arguably the most fateful point in a horoscope.
We have the benefit of hindsight here so we can see clearly etched in these configurations the promise of a Neptunian journey. I am particularly drawn to the Venus-Jupiter connection in the captain's chart since this suggests to me that some aspect of this terrible journey was beautiful and uplifting...
TO MY MIND, CONSIDERING ALL THE KNOWN DETAILS OF EVENTS thus far combined with the astrology, a suicide mission is the most likely cause of the loss of Flight 370. And the most likely architect of the tragedy: Captian Zaharie Shah.
Of course, I hesitate to make such a statement, given that there is no solid proof and no plane wreckage, let alone the black box, and it is never right to cast blame on someone who cannot defend himself. But astrologers are forensic specialists, and this mysterious situation is one they should have the courage to examine.
For the moment, however, we must continue to play the waiting game in the knowledge that one day we will almost certainly know what happened to Flight 370.
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