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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Passengers’ phones ring; no connections made

11 Mar, 2014

19 family members sign a joint statement saying the phones of their relatives ring when the numbers are called. The calls are not answered, and eventually disconnect. Some relatives ask authorities to use GPS tracking to locate the missing plane. The sister of a Chinese passenger dials her brother’s phone number while live on television, and the phone rings. She says:

This morning, around 11:40 [a.m.], I called my older brother’s number twice, and I got the ringing tone. … If I could get through, the police could locate the position, and there’s a chance he could still be alive

However, according to wireless analyst Jeff Kagan, the ringing means virtually nothing:

What it means is the network is at work, trying to locate the party you are calling. It rings once, twice, three times, and if it finds the phone, it delivers the call. If it doesn’t find the phone, then the call is disconnected. Family members over there are hearing the [ring] tone and they are hoping, but this is not a sign of anything. This is just how the networks work.