March 17, 2014 | Mark Paradies

Missing Malaysian Airlines 777 – How Do You Investigate When the “Facts” Are Few & Far Between?

Before the news broke, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 seemed to have disappeared without a trace. As I watched coverage of the mysterious “accident,” I thought that people might be interested in how one would investigate the disappearance and others like this where the facts are few and far between. Below, I set out how to do that using TapRooT®.

First, all TapRooT® Users know you start with a SnapCharT®.

The first problem you encounter with this incident is … what goes in the circle?

The circle on the SnapCharT® is the incident – usually the worst thing that happened. But in this case we don’t know what happened.

Should the circle be losing contact with the jet?

Perhaps. At least until we find out more about what happened.

Next, we lay out the sequence of events. Some of the events are pretty easy to detail. The flight seemed pretty routine to start with. But then things start to diverge from a normal fight sequence. Tracking equipment is turned off (not lost instantaneously as one would expect if there was a massive mechanical failure or explosion), and the plane then seems to have changed course and descended. As of now, changing course and descending are dotted boxes (assumptions) since we aren’t sure of these “facts”.

This is where the SnapCharT® gets even more difficult to draw. New information seems to be available every day from different sources. One would add this information to the chart using dotted boxes and ovals (events and conditions) keeping track of the source for each piece of information. One would then try to find more evidence to either confirm or eliminate each of these new pieces of information and redirect the investigation to find more information.

The SnapCharT® would become the main source of information and help direct the investigation by suggesting where investigators should focus their attention to help narrow down the seemingly large number of possibilities for “What happened?”
Note that at this point we are nowhere near identifying the “accidents” root causes. Until you have a fairly complete sequence of events, you aren’t ready to identify causal factors and start finding root causes.

I hope this give you some ideas the next time you start an investigation of a mysterious accident. And I hope, for the sake of all those involved and their loved ones, this investigation finds the true root causes of the flight’s disappearance so they can feel some sense closure.

Please leave your comments below. 

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