Source – dailymail.co.uk
– A mysterious Chinese blogger has provoked a storm of speculation online over claims he predicted the disappearance of an AirAsia flight thirteen days before one vanished.
In a series of posts which have gone viral, the man appears to warn that the airline would be targeted by a shadowy group he calls the ‘Black Hand’ which he claims brought down Malaysian Airlines flights MH17 and MH370 earlier this year.
An AirAsia flight went missing yesterday with 162 people on board after losing contact en route from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore in the third crisis for a Malaysian carrier this year.
Since its disappearance, social media users have reacted with astonishment at the apparent prediction, while others claim the posts were probably just edited afterwards to make it look authentic.
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A Chinese blogger has provoked a storm of speculation online over claims he predicted the disappearance of an AirAsia flight two weeks before one of its Airbus A320s (like the one above) vanished yesterday
The apparent predictions have gone viral on social media and discussion forums such as Reddit (above), with some users expressing astonishment at the forewarning and others claiming it could be a hoax
In one comment on December 15, which has been loosely translated by a Reddit member, the blogger apparently warns: ‘Black hand has hijacked and shot down MH370 and MH17.
‘This has pretty much killed the sixth largest airline: Malaysian airline.
‘Now the black hand are targeting AirAsia to ruin this airline cause (sic) it too belong to Malaysia.
‘Given how powerful the black hand are I suggest that all Chinese thinking about travelling to avoid AirAisa, so that you don’t disappear like those on MH370.’
Black Hand is a term believed to be a metaphor for a covert organisation or a number of underground groups.
One Reddit user suggests the translation should read ‘International big black hand’ which they say is more of a reference to a ‘despicable international bully’.
No Chinese nationals were on Flight 8501 when it disappeared.
The blogger reportedly peppered social media with a total of 39 posts on the subject which have been viewed by more than 650,000 people.
Mystery: The flight went missing from radar at 6.18am local time – six minutes after last communication with air traffic control – while travelling from Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board. Search planes spotted objects and two oily patches in the search area on Monday afternoon
An Indonesia Navy search and rescue crew looks for AirAsia QZ 8501 on a Maritime Patrol Navy Aircraft above Bangka-Belitung Islands in the Java Sea
When asked how he could make such a prediction – with one user calling him a ‘conspiracy nut’ – he reportedly replied: ‘All you civilians get away (from the airline).
‘You can still hide, all those that see the post can still save themselves.’
Other reports suggested the blogger repeated his warning on December 16 and 17, adding: ‘This is a major event in human life, we have to pay attention.’
Despite facing continued accusations of being ‘crazy’, he relays a further message to ‘be suspicious of the US,’ writes one Reddit user who says he got a friend to translate the posts.
The blogger later claims to have persuaded some people to follow his warning.
But after December 17, there was no more activity on his account.
Since the disappearance of Flight 8051, many have reacted with astonishment at the apparent prediction, with speculation rife that he was a Chinese intelligence official or a hacker who had obtained information from the group allegedly responsible.
Inconsolable: Family members of passengers on board missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 cry at a waiting area in Juanda International Airport as they wait for news of the search and rescue operation
Family members of people on Air Asia flight QZ8501 pray together at Juanda International Airport
Reddit user lolrus_bukkit wrote: There is an ongoing conspiracy in Chinese forums that this guy is in Chinese intelligence or a hacker that got sensitive information trying to save as many people he could without making a big scene (guess he failed the second part).’
Aviation mysteries like this often spark conspiracy theories as happened when MH370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March last year, with explanations ranging from the airliner being shot down to being abducted by aliens.
Sceptics also argue that the original posts may have been edited with information about the AirAsia flight after it vanished to make it appear like a prediction.
The Chinese version of the Epoch Times suggested the blogger called himself the ‘Landlord’ although some forum users claim this was a mistranslation.
Dozens of planes and ships searching Indonesian waters for a missing AirAsia plane focused Monday on a patch of oil for possible clues as a senior official warned the aircraft was likely ‘at the bottom of the sea’.
Australia, Singapore and Malaysia joined the Indonesia-led search as anguished relatives awaited news of their loved ones more than a day after Flight QZ8501 disappeared.
Indonesian Air Force spokesman Hadi Tjahjanto told AFP the search was now concentrated on an oil patch spotted off Belitung island, across from Kalimantan on Borneo island.
‘We are making sure whether it was avtur (aviation fuel) from the AirAsia plane or from a vessel because that location is a shipping line,’ he said.
As the second day’s search ended at dusk, National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said an Indonesian corvette was on its way to collect an oil sample, with an announcement expected tomorrow.