I first heard about it from Jac, and the first thing that came to mind was 'How do you lose an entire plane?!'. (I'd been thinking of the 'missing' police guns report from sometime last year.) Then I read about it, and was pretty horrified; 'missing' seemed to be a euphemism more than anything else.
Hope is a fragile thing, and I'd be loathe to crush it without sufficient evidence, but things really aren't looking good. According to Yahoo! Malaysia, a Vietnamese news site reported that 'Vietnam Emergency Rescue Center just announced it [...] found signal of the missing plane at 9.50am 120 miles South West of Ca Mau cape, the Southern-most point of Vietnam. The signal is believed to be the ELT (Emergency Locator Transmittor), which can be activated manually by the flight crew or automatically upon impact.'. That was at 11.30am, Malaysian time. It's 10.30pm right now, and search-and-rescue missions are still underway; the latest news is that an oil streak has been spotted, and it's believed to have been from the 'missing' aircraft.
The oil streak they found was 20km long. The sheer immensity of everything blows my mind. I'm feeling a bit stupid because I thought the search-and-rescue mission would be over quickly -- it's a huge freakin' plane they're looking for, isn't it? I guess I kind of forgot that the sea is much, much huger. People are talking about Air France Flight 447 which crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 2009, and took a whopping two years to find. That's scary. You always hear it said that it's a small world and things like that, but physically, geographically, it is huge. And I'm only just beginning to appreciate that.
I cannot imagine how families and loved ones of those on the flight must feel. It's an awful enough situation to be in, but netizens are coming up with all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories that are stupid enough to piss off even the unaffected. All anyone can really do now is to sit tight, wait, and pray and pray and pray. Also, someone online had a good point: remember those involved in the search-and-rescue missions. Pray for them too, and not just for their success -- pray for their safety as well.
It's going to be a long night. But we'll get through.