Flaw in B777 Fuselage, Why Passengers Cell Phones Ringing: Missing Malaysia Airlines Conspiracy Theory

March 11, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Slow decompression caused by a flaw in the Boeing 777 fuselage could have knocked out the crew and passengers of MH370, and the availability of cellular communication hardware allowed passengers cell phones to ring, according to a post on Tumblr.

In MH370 – what happened, an anonymous Tumblr user claims that despite having a reputation and a track record of being a safe and reliable plane, the Boeing 777 has a flaw that might have caused the Malaysian Airlines plane to mysteriously disappear.

The Tumblr user cites a November 2013 FAA Airworthiness Directive for the 777 issued by the US National Transportation Safety Board.

The directive addresses a report of cracking in the “fuselage skin underneath the satellite communication (SATCOM) antenna adapter.” A recommendation was made to address the “cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin,” which could lead to “rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane.”

The Tumblr user hypothesizes that the MH370’s fuselage suffered the exact flaw outlined in the Airworthiness Directive (AD). That would explain why air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane, as satellite communications would be knocked out.

Passengers cell phones would still ring, though, as the Tumblr user speculates that the B777 was equipped with aftermarket cellular communication hardware that is not connected to SATCOM.

A hole in the fuselage would also cause slow decompression, which probably incapacitated and eventually caused the crew and passengers to lose consciousness.

The writer surmises that the plane probably flew on autopilot until it crashed in the ocean or on land.

The writer concludes by offering suggestions on how to better search for the plane, such as checking primary radars along MH370’s route to China, viewing passengers’ cellphone logs and iOS location data from Apple, as well as searching locations in a “300nm radius around Beijing, focusing on surrounding bodies of water.”

Given that the Malaysian military said on March 11 that the plane flew many miles west off-course, however, the Tumblr user’s suggestion to search China might not be relevant.

However, according to a statement by Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya on Mar. 11, “There were no issues on the health of the aircraft.”

At the time of writing, it hasn’t been determined if the Tumblr post is a hoax.