UT employee says missing Malaysia flight similar - WKRN News 2

UT employee says missing Malaysia flight similar to Air Force disappearance in 1997

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Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Andy White worked on the case of a missing fighter jet in 1997. (source: Lt. Col. Andy White) Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Andy White worked on the case of a missing fighter jet in 1997. (source: Lt. Col. Andy White)
"We couldn't find it, and yet the public couldn't understand how could the Air Force lose a fighter jet?" said Lt. Col. Andy White. "We couldn't find it, and yet the public couldn't understand how could the Air Force lose a fighter jet?" said Lt. Col. Andy White.

By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - As the mystery deepens with Malaysia Flight 370, a University of Tennessee employee says the situation is very similar to an incident he remembers from his time in the military.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Andy White worked on the case of a missing fighter jet in 1997.

The Air Force later found that plane crashed in Colorado, and White tells 6 News when he heard about the circumstances surrounding Malaysia Flight 370, the memories came flooding back.

"I was a public affairs chief at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. That's in Tucson, Ariz., and we had a plane disappear," said White.

White says he remembers the day Capt. Craig Button and his A-10 aircraft disappeared like it was yesterday.

"They had taken off on a training mission from our base in Tucson to go out to a range and drop bombs in the desert, and the third plane in a three-ship formation just disappeared. He was in the back and the other two didn't see him break off, and there was no radio calls, no explanation, so a lot of confusion for quite a while," said White.

What brought those memories to the surface was the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370.

"Also like Flight 370 there was no distress calls, no radio calls, no emergency communication of any kind," said White.

White says their search was similar and just as difficult because like Flight 370 Captain Button had turned off his transponder which tells the location of the plane.

The plane had also veered off course.

"We couldn't find it, and yet the public couldn't understand how could the Air Force lose a fighter jet?" said White.

Questions asked then are much like those asked today: How does an airline jet just vanish?

White says it can happen, and certain circumstances can make it nearly impossible to find.

"If someone doesn't want to be found then that makes it very very hard. If they're an experienced aviator and they know what to do and how to evade then that can complicate things," he said.

Captain Button's plane was found crashed in Colorado.

The Air Force ruled it a suicide, but White says he still holds out hope for a better ending for Malaysia Flight 370.

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