Saturday, March 22, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
9M-MRO, the missing aircraft, in 2011
Missing aircraft summary
Date 8 March 2014
Aircraft type Boeing 777-200ER
Operator Malaysia Airlines
Flight origin Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Destination Beijing Capital International Airport
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370/MAS370)[a] was a scheduled international passenger flight that disappeared on 8 March 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport. The aircraft, aBoeing 777-200ER, last made contact with air traffic control less than an hour after take-off. Operated by Malaysia Airlines, the plane carried 12 crew members and 227 passengers from 15 nations, the majority of passengers Chinese citizens.
On the same day, a joint search and rescue effort, later reported as the largest in history, was initiated in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. On 11 March, the search area was extended to the Strait of Malacca. On 12 March, authorities also began to search the Andaman Sea, northwest of the Strait of Malacca. Subsequently, new information led to the search area being expanded to include the Indian Ocean south of Sumatra, as well as significant tracts of land.
On 15 March, in the wake of media reports that US investigators believed that the aircraft had headed west back across the Malay Peninsula after air traffic control lost contact and that a satellite had continued to receive "pings" from the aircraft for several hours,[b] Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that satellite-related data showed that the aircraft's ACARS and transponder had been switched off and that radar data indicated that the aircraft's "movements are consistent with the deliberate action of someone on the plane." As of 18 March, there were 26 countries participating in the revised search, focusing on a northern locus from the Kazakh–Turkmen border to northern Thailand, as well as a southern locus from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
1.1 Timeline of tracking
1.2 Subsequent communication
1.3 Estimated route
2.2 International participation
2.3 Information sharing
4 Passengers and crew
5.1 Timeline of response
5.2 International participants
5.3 Stolen passports
6 Criticism and response
9 External links
The flight departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 8 March at 00:41 local time (16:41 UTC, 7 March) and was scheduled to land at Beijing Capital International Airport at 06:30 local time (22:30 UTC, 7 March). It climbed to its assigned cruise altitude of 35,000 feet (10,700 m) and was travelling at 471 knots (542 mph; 872 km/h) true airspeed when it ceased all communications and the transponder signal was lost. The aircraft's last known position on 8 March at 01:21 local time (17:21 UTC, 7 March) was 6°55′15″N 103°34′43″E, corresponding to the navigationalwaypoint IGARI in the Gulf of Thailand, at which the aircraft was due to alter its course slightly eastward.
The aircraft was expected to contact air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh City as it passed into Vietnamese airspace just north of the point where contact was lost. The captain of another aircraft had attempted to reach the pilots of MH370 "just after 1:30 a.m." to relay Vietnamese Air Traffic Control's request for MH370 to contact it; the captain said he was able to establish contact, but just heard "mumbling" and static.
Malaysia Airlines issued a media statement at 07:24, one hour after the scheduled arrival of the flight in Beijing, stating that contact with the flight had been lost by Malaysian ATC at 02:40. Malaysia Airlines stated that the government had initiated search and rescue operations. It later emerged that Subang Air Traffic Control had lost contact with the aircraft at 01:22 and notified Malaysia Airlines at 02:40. Neither the crew nor the aircraft's onboard communication systems relayed a distress signal, indications of bad weather, or technical problems before vanishing from radar screens. The last words that Malaysian air traffic controllers heard, at 01:19, were those of the co-pilot saying "All right, good night".
Timeline of tracking
Route: Kuala Lumpur – Beijing. Inserted: initial search areas and known path. Small red squares: radar contacts. Small circles: claimed spotting of debris.
Time into flight
00:00 Take-off from Kuala Lumpur 00:41 16:41
00:20 MH370 confirms altitude of 35,000 feet 01:01 17:01
00:26 Last ACARS data transmission received 01:07 17:07
00:26 At 1:07:55 MYT, MH370 repeats confirmation they are at 35,000 feet 01:07 17:07
00:38 Last Malaysian ATC voice contact at 1:19:29 MYT: "All right, good night" 01:19 17:19
00:40 Last secondary radar (transponder) contact at 6°55′15″N 103°34′43″E 01:21 17:21
00:41 Transponder and ADS-B now off 01:22 17:22
00:49 Unsuccessful voice contact from another aircraft, mumbling/static audible 01:30 17:30
00:56 Missed expected half-hourly ACARS data transmission 01:37 17:37
01:30 First of seven automated hourly ACARS contacts with Inmarsat 3F1 satellite 02:11 18:11
01:34 Last primary radar contact by Malaysian military, 200 miles NW of Penang 02:15 18:15
05:49 Missed scheduled arrival in Beijing 06:30 22:30
07:30 Last automated hourly ACARS contact with Inmarsat satellite 08:11 00:11
New Scientist reported that, prior to the aircraft's disappearance, two ACARS reports had been automatically issued to engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce's monitoring centre in the United Kingdom; and The Wall Street Journal, citing sources in the U.S. government, asserted that Rolls-Royce had received an aircraft health report every thirty minutes for five hours, implying that the aircraft had remained aloft for four hours after its transponder went offline.
The following day, the acting Transport Minister of Malaysia announced that the details of The Wall Street Journal report were inaccurate, stating that the final engine transmission was received at 01:07, prior to the flight's disappearance from secondary radar. Follow-up reporting by Reuters suggested that the evidence may have taken the form of "pings" sent by the aircraft's communication systems, and possibly not data (telemetry reports).
The Wall Street Journal later removed references to Rolls-Royce from its report and stated that the belief of continued flight was "based on analysis of signals sent by the Boeing 777's satellite-communication link... the link operated in a kind of standby mode and sought to establish contact with a satellite or satellites. These transmissions did not include data..." On 13 March, the White House Press Secretary said "an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean based on some new information" and a senior official at The Pentagon told ABC News: "We have an indication the plane went down in the Indian Ocean." Inmarsat said that "routine, automated signals were registered" on its network, although a company executive did add that "keep-alive message[s]" continued to be sent after air traffic control first lost contact and that these "ping signals" could be analysed to help estimate the aircraft's location.
On 14 March, The Independent stated, based on the continued pinging by the aircraft, that it could not have disintegrated in mid-flight or had other sudden catastrophic occurrence: "all signals – the pings to the satellite, the data messages and the transponder – would be expected to stop at the same time". A call for transponders to be automated and not arbitrarily controlled by humans gained momentum after the attacks of 11 September 2001, when three of the hijacked aircraft had their transponders switched off. However, no changes were made as aviation experts opted for a flexible control, believing that transponders may need to be reset in case of a malfunction or an electrical emergency.
According to Chinese media, relatives heard ringing tones when calling to the passengers. However, Flight 370 was not equipped with a base station that some airlines offer for in-flight cellphone contact, it is presumed that the passengers' low powered cellphones were not able to transmit back due to distance from a transmission tower, flight altitude, and shielding by the aircraft body.
Possible last known locations of MH370 in red, based on final satellite ping at 08:11 Malaysia time
On 11 March, it was reported that military radar indicated the aircraft had turned west and continued flying for 70 minutes before disappearing off the Malaysian radar near Pulau Perak, and that it was tracked flying at a lower altitude across Malaysia to the Malacca Strait. This location was approximately 500 kilometres (310 mi) from its last contact with civilian radar. The next day, the Royal Malaysian Air Force chief distanced himself from the report saying it should not be misinterpreted. According to the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Transport, Pham Quy Tieu, "We informed Malaysia on the day we lost contact with the flight that we noticed the flight turned back west but Malaysia did not respond."
US experts, assigned to assist with the investigation while maintaining a low profile that did not upstage Malaysian authorities, analysed the radar data and subsequently reported that the radar data did indeed indicate that the aircraft had headed west back across the Malay Peninsula, with Reuters and The New York Times saying that the route changes suggested that the aircraft remained under a trained pilot's control. The New York Times also said the aircraft experienced significant changes in altitude.
Although Bloomberg News said that analysis of the last satellite "ping" received suggested a last known location approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) west of Perth, Australia, the Malaysian Prime Minister on 15 March said that the last signal, which was received at 08:11 Malaysian time, might have originated from as far north as Kazakhstan. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak explained that the signals could not be more precisely located than to one of two possible loci: a northern locus stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern locus stretching from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. China, Thailand and India all stated that there was no evidence that the aircraft ever entered their airspace.
On 17 March, The New York Times, citing "senior American officials," said that the scheduled flight path was pre-programmed to unspecified western coordinates through the flight management system before the ACARS stopped functioning, and a new waypoint "far off the path to Beijing" was added. With such a reprogramming the aircraft would make a banked turn at a comfortable angle of around 20 degrees and the passengers would not feel anything unusual.
Early search efforts generated multiple false leads. An admiral of the Vietnamese Navy reported that radar contact with the aircraft was last made over the Gulf of Thailand. Oil slicks detected off the coast of Vietnam on 8 and 9 March later tested negative for aviation fuel. Alleged discovery of debris about 80 km (50 mi) south of Thổ Chu Island on 9 March was also found to be not from an aircraft. Searches following a Chinese website's satellite images, taken on 9 March, showing three floating objects measuring up to 24 by 22 metres (79 ft × 72 ft) at 6.7°N 105.63°E also turned up blank; Vietnamese officials said the area had been "searched thoroughly".
The Royal Thai Navy shifted its focus in the search away from the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea at the request of its Malaysian counterpart, which was investigating the possibility that the aircraft had turned around and could have gone down in the Andaman Sea, near Thailand's border. The chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, Rodzali Daud, claimed that military recordings of radar signals did not exclude the possibility of the aircraft turning back on its flight path. The search radius was increased from the original 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi) from its last known position, south of Thổ Chu Island, to 100 nautical miles (190 km; 120 mi), and the area being examined then extended to the Strait of Malacca along the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, with waters both to the east of Malaysia in the Gulf of Thailand, and in the Strait of Malacca along Malaysia's west coast, being searched.
On 12 March, authorities also began to search the Andaman Sea, northwest of the Strait of Malacca, and the Malaysian government requested help from India to search in the area. On 17 March, Australia agreed to lead the search in the southern locus from Sumatra to the southern Indian Ocean. The search would be coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, with an area of 600,000 km2 (230,000 sq mi) between Australia and the Kerguelen Islands lying more than 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) from Perth to be searched by ships and aircraft of Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
It emerged on 17 March that the last ACARS message at 01:07 did not mean the system was turned off at that moment, as had been previously suggested. Malaysian authorities said ACARS had been switched off sometime between 01:07 and the next scheduled ACARS contact, due at 01:37
On 20 March, the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, announced in parliament that two objects that might be related to the aircraft, one of them 24 m (79 ft) long, had been spotted by a satellite in the Indian Ocean on 16 March, 2,500 km (1,600 mi) south-west of Perth (coordinates44°03′02″S 91°13′27″E), where the ocean depth could reach 5,000 metres (16,000 ft). An Australian Lockheed P-3 Orion arrived in the area at 02:50 UTC. The Australian naval ship HMAS Success, a United States Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon, two more Orions (one Australian and one from New Zealand), Myanmar naval vessels, and a Lockheed C-130 Hercules were also tasked to the area. A Norwegian merchant ship, Höegh St. Petersburg, also diverted to the area. A civilian Gulfstream V joined the search on 21 March. A civilian Bombardier Global Express and two Chinese Ilyushin Il-76s joined the search the following day.
On 22 March, a Chinese satellite image was released, from four days earlier, of potential debris, about 120 km (75 mi) south west of the earlier images. The object's size was estimated at 22.5 m × 13 m (74 ft × 43 ft), at coordinates 44°57′29″S 90°13′43″E, near one of the 45×90 points approximately 3,170 km (1,970 mi) south west of Perth.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Search of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
In response to the incident, the Malaysian government mobilised its civil aviation department, air force, navy, and Maritime Enforcement Agency; and requested international assistance under Five Power Defence Arrangements provisions and from neighbouring states. Various nations mounted a search and rescue mission in the region's waters. Within two days, the countries had already dispatched more than 34 aircraft and 40 ships to the area. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission analysed information from its network of infrasound detection stations, but failed to find any sounds made by Flight 370.
On March 11, 2014 Chinese authorities activated the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, a 15 member international organization whose purpose is to "...provide a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or man-made disasters through Authorized Users."
Another 11 countries joined the search efforts by 17 March, after more assistance was requested by Malaysia, bringing the total to 26. While not participating in the search itself, Sri Lanka gave permission for search aircraft to use its airspace.Assets deployed by Malaysia included military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. and vessels from the navy and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. A co-ordination centre at the National Disaster Control Centre (NDCC) in Pulau Meranti, Cyberjaya was established. The country of destination, China, deployed Type 053H3 frigate Mianyang, marine police vessel No. 3411, Type 052C destroyer Haikou, Type 071 amphibious transport dock JinggangShan, KunlunShan, patrol ship Haixun 31, Type 925 submarine support ship Yongxingdao, research vessel Xuelong, rescue ship Haixun 01, and merchant ships, rescue vessel Nanhaijiu 101 and Type 903 replenishment ship Qiandaohu. Furthermore, several of its military satellites were retasked. Other nations provided the following asset types:
Australia: air force P-3 maritime patrol aircraft and C-130 Hercules; navy ship HMAS Success dispatched after possible debris sightings. Two Ilyushin Il-76s were hosted by RAAF Base Pearce in Perth to assist in the search of the southern Indian Ocean.
Bangladesh: navy frigates BNS Bangabandhu and BNS Umar Farooq; navy Dornier Do 228 maritime patrol aircraft.
Brunei: Darussalam-class offshore patrol vessel.
Cambodia: Harbin Z-9 helicopters and P46-type navy ships.
China: Two military planes from China arrived Saturday in Perth to join Australian, New Zealand and U.S. aircraft in the search. Japanese planes will arrive Sunday and ships were in the area or on their way.
France: a team from the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA).
India: surface and airborne assets from the Andaman and Nicobar Command and Eastern Naval Command: navy ships INS Satpura, INS Sahyadri, INS Saryu, INS Batti Malv, INS Kesari and INS Kumbhir; coast guard vessels ICGSKanaklata Baruah, ICGS Bhikaji Cama and ICGS Sagar; navy Boeing P-8, Dornier Do 228 and Tupolev Tu-142 maritime surveillance aircraft; air force C-130 and Mil Mi-17. Rukmini naval satellite. A navy Boeing P-8 and an air force C-130 were deployed to Malaysia to join the international search force.
Indonesia: corvette KRI Sutanto, patrol boat KRI Siribua and fast patrol vessels KRI Matacora, KRI Tarihu and KRI Krait; IPTN NC-212 maritime patrol aircraft.
Japan: naval defense force P-3 Orion and air defense force C-130 Hercules aircraft; coast guard Gulfstream V; and a disaster relief team.
Myanmar: naval vessels in Gulf of Martaban and the Bay of Bengal.
New Zealand: air force P-3 Orion.
Norway: a Norwegian RoRo merchant ship, the Höegh St. Petersburg.
Pakistan: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak asked Pakistan for help in tracing Malaysian airline's missing Boeing 777 and Pakistan assured Malaysian authorities of its cooperation.
Philippines: navy ships BRP Gregorio del Pilar, BRP Emilio Jacinto and BRP Apolinario Mabini; air force Fokker F27 and navy Britten-Norman Defender aircraft; and navy AgustaWestland AW109 helicopter. A Hamilton-class cutter vessel and a C-130 Hercules on standby.
Russia: Resurs-P No.1 satellite.
Singapore: in South China Sea/Malacca Strait: air force C-130 Hercules; navy Formidable-class frigate with one Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk helicopter; a submarine rescue ship with divers; Victory-class corvette; an air force Fokker 50maritime patrol aircraft. In Indian Ocean all previously-deployed ships and aircraft stood down and the armed forces' Information Fusion Centre activated.
South Korea: navy P-3 Orion and air force C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Taiwan: air force C-130 Hercules; ROCS Tian Dan and a La Fayette-class frigate; two coast guard patrol vessels.
Thailand: Dornier Do 228, AgustaWestland Super Lynx helicopter and patrol ship HTMS Pattani. Other ships on standby.
United Arab Emirates: two military search and rescue aircraft.
United Kingdom: a team of Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigators. HMS Echo – a multi-role hydrographic survey ship.
United States: Navy Lockheed P-3 Orion and Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft; Navy ships USS Kidd and USS Pinckney with Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters; a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) team.
Vietnam: Antonov An-26, CASA C-212 Aviocar, de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, Mil Mi-171, and ships from the navy, coast guard, fisheries control, and Maritime Search & Rescue Coordination Centre.
Although Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the country's Defence Minister, denied the existence of problems between the participating countries, academics said that because of regional conflicts, there were genuine trust issues involved in co-operation and sharing intelligence, and that these were hampering the search. International relations experts said entrenched rivalries over sovereignty, security, intelligence, and national interests made meaningful multilateral co-operation very difficult. A Chinese academic made the observation that the parties were searching independently, thus it was not a multilateral search effort.
Malaysia had initially declined to release raw data from its military radar, deeming the information "too sensitive", but later acceded. Defence experts say that giving others access to radar information may be sensitive on a military level. As an example: "The rate at which they can take the picture can also reveal how good the radar system is". One suggested that some countries may already have had radar data on the aircraft and were reluctant to share any information that could potentially reveal their defence capabilities and compromise their own security.Similarly, submarines patrolling the South China Sea might have information in the event of a water impact, and sharing such information could reveal the subs' locations and listening capabilities. However, The Guardian noted the Vietnamese permission given for Chinese aircraft to overfly its airspace as a positive sign of co-operation.
Satellite imagery is also being analysed by the public with the help of crowdsourcing site Tomnod.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Malaysia Airlines 9M-MRO.
Flight 370 was operated with a Boeing 777-2H6ER,[c] serial number 28420, registration 9M-MRO. The 404th Boeing 777 produced, it first flew on 14 May 2002, and was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on 31 May 2002. The aircraft is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines, and is configured to carry 282 passengers – 35 in business class and 247 in economy. 9M-MRO had accumulated 53,460 hours and 7,525 cycles in service, and had not previously been involved in any major incidents, though a minor incident while taxiing at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in August 2012 resulted in a broken wingtip. Its last maintenance 'A' check was carried out on 23 February 2014.
The Boeing 777 is generally regarded by aviation experts as having an "almost flawless" safety record, one of the best of any commercial aircraft. Since its first commercial flight in June 1995, there have been only two serious accidents, in 2008 with British Airways Flight 38 and in 2013 with Asiana Airlines Flight 214.
Passengers and crew[
Nationalities of people on board Flight 370NationalityPassCrewTotal Australia 6 6
Canada 2 2
China 152 152
France 4 4
Hong Kong 1 1
India 5 5
Indonesia 7 7
Iran[d] 2 2
Malaysia 38 12 50
Netherlands 1 1
New Zealand 2 2
Russia 1 1
Taiwan 1 1
Ukraine 2 2
United States 3 3
Total (15 nationalities) 227 12 239
Malaysia Airlines released the names and nationalities of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members, based on the flight manifest.
Two-thirds of the 227 passengers are Chinese citizens, including a group of 19 artists with 6 family members and 4 staff returning from a calligraphy exhibition of their work in Kuala Lumpur; 38 passengers are Malaysian. The remaining passengers come from 13 different countries. Of the total, 20 are employees of Freescale Semiconductor, a company based in Austin, Texas – 12 are from Malaysia and 8 from China.
Malaysia Airlines sent a team of caregivers and volunteers to provide assistance to family members of the passengers. In its press releases, the carrier stated that it would bear the expenses of bringing family members of the passengers to Kuala Lumpur and providing them with accommodation, medical care, and counselling. Altogether, 115 family members of the Chinese passengers flew to Kuala Lumpur. Other family members chose to remain in China, fearing they would feel too isolated in Malaysia. The airline offered an ex gratia condolence payment of US$5,000 to the family of each passenger, but relatives considered the conditions unacceptable and asked the airline to review them.
All the crew members were Malaysian citizens. The flight's captain was 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah of Penang; he joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and had 18,365 hours of flying experience. Zaharie was also an examiner qualified to conduct simulator tests for pilots.
The first officer was 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid, an employee of Malaysia Airlines since 2007, with 2,763 flying hours. Fariq was transitioning to the Boeing 777-200 after having completed his simulator training.
Timeline of response
8 Malaysia Airlines confirmed they lost contact with flight MH370 at 02:40 local time (later corrected to 01:30). An international search and rescue mission was mobilized focusing on South China Sea.
9 The search area was expanded as the aircraft might have turned back.
10 Tests revealed that oil slicks on the South China Sea did not come from Flight 370. Ten Chinese satellites were now utilized in the search. Malaysia Airlines announced it will give US$5,000 to the relatives of each passenger.
11 Malaysian police concluded that two passengers travelling on stolen passports were probably asylum seekers.
12 Chinese satellite images showed possible debris from Flight 370 in the South China Sea at 6.7°N 105.63°E; however, planes were not able to locate them Beijing criticized Malaysia for inadequate answers regarding Flight 370.
13 Search was expanded to the Indian Ocean.
14 Investigation concluded that Flight 370 was still under the control of somebody after it lost contact with ground control.
15 The last satellite transmission from Flight 370 was traced to the Indian Ocean off Australia. Malaysian police searched the homes of both of the plane's pilots.
16 The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation reached 25.
18 China started a search operation in a northern region of its own territory. Relatives of Chinese passengers threatened a hunger strike for lack of information from Malaysian authorities.
19 Experts attempted to restore logfiles deleted from the flight simulator in the captain's home.
20 Aircraft and ships were dispatched to locate two objects seen by satellite to be floating in the southern Indian Ocean at 44°03′02″S91°13′27″E. 26 nations are involved in search
21 Search focused on an area 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) southwest of Perth, Australia.
22 Chinese satellite image shows a possible object measuring 22.5 by 13 metres (74 by 43 ft) at 44°57′30″S 90°13′40″E, approximately 3,170 kilometres (1,970 mi) west of Perth and just 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the earlier sighting.
On 8 March, Boeing announced that it was assembling a team of experts to provide technical assistance to investigators, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) protocols. In addition, the United States National Transportation Safety Board announced in a press release on the same day that a team of investigators had been sent along with technical advisers from the Federal Aviation Administration to offer assistance in the investigation. The country that would lead the investigation would not be determined until the missing aircraft was found. Because a formal (ICAO-sanctioned) investigation had not yet started, cooperation and coordination between involved parties could suffer, there being "a risk that crucial early detective work could be hampered, and potential clues and records lost", according to experts.
On March 11, 2014 Chinese authorities activated the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, a 15 member organization consisting of international space agencies whose purpose is to "...provide a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or man-made disasters through Authorized Users."
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had already deployed technical experts and agents to investigate the disappearance. A senior US law enforcement official clarified that FBI agents had not been sent to Malaysia. By 17 March the investigation was also being assisted by Interpol and other relevant international law enforcement authorities according to the Malaysian government. United States and Malaysian officials were reviewing every passenger named on the manifest in addition to the two passengers who were confirmed as possessing stolen passports. On 18 March the Chinese government announced that it had checked all of the Chinese citizens on the aircraft and ruled out the possibility that any were potential hijackers.
Two men identified on the manifest, an Austrian and an Italian, had reported their passports stolen in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Interpol stated that both passports were listed on its database of lost and stolen passports, and that no check had been made against its database. Malaysia's Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, criticised his country's immigration officials for failing to stop the passengers travelling on the stolen European passports.
The two one-way tickets purchased for the holders of the stolen passports were booked through China Southern Airlines. It was reported that an Iranian had ordered the cheapest tickets to Europe via telephone in Bangkok, Thailand. The tickets were paid for in cash. The two passengers were later identified as Iranian men, one aged 19 and the other 29, who had entered Malaysia on 28 February using valid Iranian passports. The head of Interpol said they were "inclined to conclude that it was not a terrorist incident". The two men were believed to be asylum seekers.
China Daily reported that there was also a passenger on the boarding list provided by Malaysia Airlines whose name did not match the passport owner's name and passport number.
Police searched the homes of the pilot and co-pilot. CNN reported that police investigated a flight simulator in the pilot's home and that US Intelligence officials were leaning towards the view that those in the cockpit had been responsible for the aircraft's disappearance.
On 21 March, the chief executive officer of Malaysia Airlines, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said that potentially flammable lithium batteries, "packed as recommended by the ICAO," were on the flight. There was concern about this because the investigation into UPS Airlines Flight 6 of September 3, 2010 had concluded “with reasonable certainty” that the fire which caused the crash originated in a cargo container which held thousands of lithium batteries.
Criticism and response
Public communication from Malaysian officials regarding the loss of the flight was initially beset with confusion.
Malaysian authorities initially reported that four passengers used stolen passports to board the aircraft before settling on two – one Italian and one Austrian.
Malaysia abruptly widened the search area to the west on 9 March, and only later explained that military radar had detected the aircraft turning back. This was later formally denied by Rodzali Daud.
Malaysian authorities visited the homes of pilot Zaharie and co-pilot Fariq on 15 March, during which they took away a flight simulator belonging to Zaharie. Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said this was the first police visit to those homes. On 17 March, the government contradicted this by saying police first visited the pilots' homes the day following the flight's disappearance, although this had been previously denied.
On 16 March, Malaysia's acting transport minister contradicted the prime minister's account on the timing of the final data and communications received. Najib Razak said that the ACARS system was switched off at 01:07, while Hishammuddin said that the last ACARS transmission was received at 01:07, and the transmission expected at 01:37 was missed.
The New York Times noted that the Malaysian government and the airline released imprecise, incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate information, with civilian officials sometimes contradicting military leaders. Malaysian officials were also criticised after the persistent release of contradictory information, most notably regarding the last point and time of contact with the aircraft.
Vietnam temporarily scaled back its search operations after the country's Deputy Transport Minister cited a lack of communication from Malaysian officials despite requests for more information. China, through the official Xinhua News Agency, said that the Malaysian government ought to take charge and conduct the operation with greater transparency, a point echoed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry days later: "Help all sides in the search to make their search more effective and accurately targeted". Questions and criticisms were raised by air force experts and the Malaysian opposition about the current state of Malaysia's air force and radar capabilities. The Washington Post reported that Malaysia Airlines had also declined an upgrade for a system called Swift that would have provided critical information about the aircraft even after the ACARS system and the transponder went dead, a key element that helped significantly during the search for Air France 447 previously.
Criticism was also levelled at the delay of the search efforts. A report in the Wall Street Journal suggested that British satellite company Inmarsat had provided officials with data on 11 March, three days after the aircraft disappeared, suggesting the plane was nowhere near search areas at the time in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea and may have diverted its course through a southern or northern corridor, information only publicly acknowledged and released by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on 15 March in a press conference. Responding to criticisms that information about satellite signals had not been made available earlier, Malaysia Airlines said that it was critical that the raw satellite signals were verified and analysed "so that their significance could be properly understood". While this was being done, the airline was unable to publicly confirm their existence.
As anxious relatives in Kuala Lumpur awaited news of missing Flight 370, some found comfort from Buddhist volunteers from the Tzu Chi Foundation, based in Taiwan. While hoping their family members were still alive, families were preparing for the worst.
On 14 March 2014, Malaysia Airlines retired the MH370 and MH371 flight number pair for the Kuala Lumpur–Beijing–Kuala Lumpur route, replacing them with MH318 and MH319 respectively.
Jump up^ MH is the IATA designator and MAS is the ICAO designator. The flight was also marketed as China Southern Airlines Flight 748 (CZ748) through a codeshare.
Jump up^ According to a source cited by the New York Times, "American aviation investigators in Malaysia told the government there that it was searching for the plane in the wrong areas, and that it needed to redirect its search to the Indian Ocean".
Jump up^ The aircraft is a Boeing 777-200ER (for Extended Range) model; Boeing assigns a unique customer code for each company that buys one of its aircraft, which is applied as an infix in the model number at the time the aircraft is built. The code for Malaysia Airlines is "H6", hence "777-2H6ER".
Jump up^ The manifest released by Malaysia Airlines listed an Austrian and an Italian. These were subsequently identified as two Iranian nationals who boarded Flight 370 using stolen passports.
Jump up^ MacLeod, Calum; Winter, Michael; Gray, Allison (8 March 2014)."Beijing-bound flight from Malaysia missing". USA Today. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
Jump up^ Neuman, Scott. "Search For Flight MH370 Reportedly Largest in History". The Two-way. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Malaysia Airlines MH370: Last communication revealed". BBC. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
^ Jump up to:a b c Hildebrandt, Amber (10 March 2014). Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: 'Mystery compounded by mystery'. CBC News.
^ Jump up to:a b Buncombe, Andrew; Withnall, Adam (10 March 2014). "Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Oil slicks in South China Sea ‘not from missing jet’, officials say". The Independent.
Jump up^ Grudgings, Stuart. "Malaysia Airlines plane crashes in South China Sea with 239 people aboard: report". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
Jump up^ Tasnim Lokman (9 March 2014). "MISSING MH370: Indonesia helps in search for airliner". New Straits Times. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
^ Jump up to:a b c Michael Forsythe and Michael S. Schmidt (14 March 2014),Sharp Changes in Altitude and Course After Jet Lost Contact The New York Times.
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^ Jump up to:a b The Telegraph, "Revealed: the final 54 minutes of communication from MH370"
^ Jump up to:a b Out of Control Videos, "Timing of ACARS deactivation unclear. Last ACARS message at 01:07 was not necessarily point at which system was turned off"
Jump up^ The New Yorker, "The Story of Flight 370 Changes Again"
Jump up^ Paul Marks (11 March 2014), Malaysian plane sent out engine data before vanishing New Scientist.
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Jump up^ Martha Raddatz (13 March 2014), US Officials Have 'Indication' Malaysia Airline Crashed into Indian Ocean ABC News.
Jump up^ Inmarsat statement on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Inmarsat. 14 March 2014.
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*by g surach (16 March 2014). "Missing MH370: No way plane flew over Indian airspace undetected – Nation | The Star Online". The Star. Malaysia.
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Jump up^ "Missing MH370: Australia to lead southern search for MH370".The Star. 17 March 2014.
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Jump up^ Avionics Magazine :: Malaysian PM Clarifies MH370 Avionics Disablement
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Jump up^ Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Floating debris spotted by Chinese satellite image Sydney Morning Herald
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^ Jump up to:a b Missing Malaysian jet: Search reaches Chennai coast in Bay of Bengal Times of India 14 March 2012
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Jump up^ "Malaysia Airlines MH370: India deploys 4 warships in search ops". Livemint. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
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Jump up^ Indian Navy joins the search for missing Malaysian plane IBN Live 13 March 2014
Jump up^ India deploys aircraft in Malaysia for MH 370 search Deccan Herald 21 March 2014
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Jump up^ "Multinational maritime forces co-operate in Malaysian aircraft search". Jane's Navy International. 10 March 2014.
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Jump up^ "マレーシア航空機消息不明事案に対する国際緊急援助活動".Ministry of Defense (in Japanese). 14 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
Jump up^ "マレーシア航空機行方不明事案への対応について（第4報）".Japan Coast Guard (in Japanese). 14 March 2014.
Jump up^ "MH370 SAR ops: Japan Joins Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370". The Diplomat. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
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Jump up^ Haider, Mateen (18 March 2014). "Malaysian PM seeks Pakistan's cooperation in tracing missing jet". Dawn. Pakistan. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Malaysian plane crashed off Vietnam coast: state media".Yahoo News. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
Jump up^ "PH joins SE Asia search for Malaysian plane". Rappler. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Malaysia Airlines: How is the search being carried out?". BBC News. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
Jump up^ "PH planes ships still have no sighting of missing malaysian jet". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Phl Navy's helicopter joins search for missing Malaysian Airlines plane". The Philippine Star. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Российские спутники помогают искать пропавший самолет рейса MH370" (in Russian). Russian Federal Space Agency. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
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Jump up^ "Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370: Live Report". Digital Journal. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
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Jump up^ Leong, Wai Kit (14 March 2014). S'pore deploys another patrol aircraft for MH370 search". Channel NewsAsia
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Jump up^ "News – SAF Offers IFC in Support of SAL Efforts (17 Mar 14)". MINDEF.
Jump up^ "MISSING MH370: South Korea sends two aircraft to help with SAR". New Straits Times. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Taiwan joins search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370". Taiwan Today. 11 March 2014. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Search for missing Malaysian jet involves 8 countries". The Nation. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Missing Malaysia Airlines latest update: UAE Armed Forces now part of search". Emirates 24/7 News. 18 March 2014.
Jump up^ "UAE Armed Forces join search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370". The National. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Missing MH370: Britain's air accident investigation team arrives". The Star. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
Jump up^ "UK sending HMS Echo to assist in Malaysia plane search". ITV. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
Jump up^ "US Navy's P-8A Poseidon Arrives in Australia, Continues MH370 Search". U.S. Seventh Fleet Public Affairs. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
Jump up^ "US P-3 and USS Pinckney helicopter over Malaysian Airlines search site". U.S. Seventh Fleet Public Affairs. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
Jump up^ "U.S. Sends Destroyer to Aid Search for Malaysia Airlines Jet".NBC News. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
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Jump up^ "RSAF sends plane to search for missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft". Channel NewsAsia. 8 March 2014.
Jump up^ "No piece of metal found 60km from Vung Tau". Bubblews.
^ Jump up to:a b c d e Malakunas, Karl (AFP) "Distrust adding to Malaysian jet confusion: analysts". Google News. 14 March 2014.
^ Jump up to:a b c d e Tania Branigan in Beijing. "Malaysia flight MH370 hunt sees suspicion and cooperation". The Guardian.
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Jump up^ "浦东机场滑行跑道内东航马航两飞机剐蹭 ["Two planes from China Eastern Airlines and Malaysian Airlines snag each other on the runway of Shanghai Pudong Airport"]" (in Chinese). Xinhua News Agency. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Malaysia Airlines: experts surprised at disappearance of 'very safe' Boeing 777". The Guardian. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
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Jump up^ "HK resident was aboard missing plane". RTHK. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
^ Jump up to:a b "Stolen jet passport 'no terror link'". BBC News. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
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Jump up^ "Behind jet's passenger list is rich human tapestry". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
Jump up^ "No sign of Malaysia Airline wreckage; questions over stolen passports". CNN. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Loss of employees on Malaysia flight a blow, U.S. chipmaker says". Reuters. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Missing MAS flight: MAS team arrives in Beijing". The Star. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Caregivers from Malaysia, Australia assigned to families of passengers onboard MH370". The Malay Mail.
Jump up^ "Missing Malaysia jet may have veered off course". CNBC. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
Jump up^ "MISSING MH370: Families cling to faint hopes: psychologist".New Straits Times. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
Jump up^ Rose, Adam (12 March 2014). "Malaysia Airlines says no reason to think crew caused jet's disappearance". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
Jump up^ "MAS cash aid snubbed by kin of Chinese aboard MH370". The Malay Mail. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
Jump up^ "Missing MAS flight: Captain piloting MH370 a Penang boy". The Straits Times. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
Jump up^ Koswanage, Niluksi (9 March 2014). "Pilot of missing Malaysian flight an aviation tech geek". Reuters. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
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^ Jump up to:a b Watkins, Tom (10 March 2014). "First officer on missing jet was transitioning to 777-200s". CNN. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
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Jump up^ O’Donnell, J. Kyle; "Timeline of Malaysian Air’s Missing Flight 370" Bloomberg News.
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Jump up^ Serrano, Richard A. "FBI to investigate disappearance of a Malaysian Airlines jet." Los Angeles Times. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
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Jump up^ Chris Buckley and Keith Bradsher. "China Rules Out Terror Ties Among Citizens on Jet". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
Jump up^ Catherine E. Shoichet and Ray Sanchez (9 March 2014). "Plane bore painters, pilgrims, others from around the world". CNN. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
Jump up^ "INTERPOL confirms at least two stolen passports used by passengers on missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 were registered in its databases". Interpol. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
^ Jump up to:a b Murdoch, Lindsay (10 March 2014). "Fake passports on Malaysia Airlines flight reveal flaw in airline safety". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
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Jump up^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca (10 March 2014). "Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Iranian Middleman Asked Thai Agent to Book Tickets on Stolen Passports". International Business Times (UK). Retrieved 11 March 2014.
Jump up^ "'There are no answers': Days later, no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370". CNN. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
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Jump up^ Buddhist Volunteers Comforting MH370 Families in MalaysiaNBC News 22 March 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
Transcript of conversations between the co-pilot and ATC
Updates regarding MH370 Malaysia Airlines
Coverage from the New Straits Times
Meteorological and oceanographic maps and charts relevant to Flight 370
NOAA Bathymetry & Digital Elevation Models (ocean depth in metres)
777-200 Airplane Characteristics Technical information from Boeing
Location history of MH370 on Flightradar24.com
SkyVector aeronautical chart showing jet airways