It's been more than five years since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and it doesn't seem we're much closer to knowing where it is now than we were immediately after the plane with 239 on board vanished on March 8, 2014. Since then, as William Langewiesche writes for a new story in the July issue of the Atlantic, the mystery swirling around the into-thin-air plane "has been a focus of continued investigation and a source of sometimes feverish public speculation," prompting a slew of "preposterous" theories. Langewiesche tackles the story from a variety of angles, anchored by the story of Blaine Gibson, an American who moved to Laos of his own accord and became MH370's "private beachcomber," looking along coastlines for debris, instead of in the deeper waters where others were searching.
Gibson traveled to Myanmar, the Maldives, and other islands in the Indian Ocean, with no luck until July 29, 2015, when a 6-foot piece of the plane washed up on the French island of Reunion. "Here was the necessary physical evidence of what had already been electronically surmised—that the flight had ended violently in the Indian Ocean," Langewiesche writes. He also looks at the harassment Gibson has faced; what role the captain could have played; the rampant conspiracies (one Aussie claims he's found the plane via Google Earth and will soon crowdfund a trip to the site); and the secrecy of Malaysian officials, who Langewiesche thinks may still be holding onto info. "The important answers probably don't lie in the ocean but on land," he writes. "The Malaysian police know more than they have dared to say. The riddle may not be deep. ... If Blaine Gibson wants a real adventure, he might spend a year poking around Kuala Lumpur." Read the full story. (Read more unsolved mystery stories.)