Ken Edwards has flown this area many times as a pilot in the RNZAF. He provides the following possible scenario for the ill-fated flight.
Based on likely crosswind and fuel reserves, a cabin failure, perhaps a windscreen break, would cause mayhem. It’s possible a crew member selected the diversion to Langkawi or Butterworth before passing out, which would be a natural first action.
A windscreen or side screen failure would result in an explosive decompression initially outwards as the air inside has much higher volume than outside. However if you've tried to ride a motorbike without a windsceen at 50mph how would you like 450mph at minus 52 degrees then coming in? The speed is actually higher. The Canberra B12s we had, cruised at Mach .72 at around 40,000 ft. I believe the 777 cruises at about .76 that equates to about 440knots or 500mph.
A headwind of this magnitude into your face? Could you speak? No. Could you hear? No. Could you find your oxygen mask? Probably no and where did it go in the dark anyway. So with head down it may have been possible for one of them to dial in the diversion heading. Anoxia would be quick.
A fellow aviator, Ross, who trained with me lost an eye in Florida on a training mission. His plane hit a hawk that came through the frontside canopy and hitting him in the face. Despite having a full visor he lost an eye and was semi counscious when he pulled the alternate ejection handle between his knees. At low altitude everything happened automatically - that is the barometrics worked, he was evacuated from the seat immediately by the drogue parachute. He was pulled him clear as the main one opened. I met him in Canberra for dinner a few years later and he told me the story.
So a similar failure on the Malaysian flight would give them little chance of survival over a very few minutes. I don't know the 777 electronics but if the alternate airfields are pre-programmed for a quick select my suggestions might hold up.
This (I say possible) screen failure could be caused by an item of space junk, or a small meteorite, marble size or come from a servicing incident un-reported. For example, the gantry used to gain access for painting, cleaning or whatever impacted the windscreen left a visible scratch but also a highline crack that was not obvious. Plausible that's all I could say. But's Ross's bird impact was sudden and disabling. This may have been something similar.
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