When the mystery shrouding the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was continuing to baffle everyone, another news related to the missing aircraft gave everyone goosebumps. This happened when a family member of one of the passengers appeared on Chinese television to show people that her brother’s phone was still ringing.
The phone rang multiple times before it disconnected and other families tried it too. A group of 19 families have all claimed that the phones of their loved ones are still ringing but they have received no answer from any of the calls. These families sent a joint legal statement to Malaysian Airlines officials, asking for an explanation.
But unfortunately, a ringing tone does not mean that the device is active. Wireless analysts say that the ringing tone is a psychological trick used intentionally to keep callers on the line while the network tries to connect their call. A ringing tone does not necessarily mean that the phone on the other end is still operational. A spokesperson from the CTIA-The Wireless Association further confirmed this.
Basically, when you call someone on a mobile, the mobile network starts to search the phone at its last known location. If the network isn’t able to find it there, it expands its search to a larger area. This process of searching takes a 2-3 seconds and during this time, the network will play the ringing tone for the caller so that he doesn’t hang up. However, once the network confirms that the phone is off, it will hang up the call. This explains the mystery of ringing tones.
One woman from the family of a passenger said that if she could get through to a ringing phone than authorities should be able to locate it and hence, the missing airplane. Unfortunately, triangulating a phone’s location requires that everything would have to be working perfectly. The phone being tracked must have a GPS in it and this feature must be turned on. If all these requirements are met then they could locate the phone, but if its at the bottom of the ocean and the ringing is caused only by the network carrier, then it will be almost impossible to track its location.
Surely all of this information is yet another hard pill that the families of the passengers will have to swallow. With loved ones missing and barely any scrap of information available to them, they must now also deal with the diminished hope that the ringing calls were never actually delivered.
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