Malaysia flight MH 370 disappearance: All you need to know
Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The name of the flight was Boeing 777 and it carried 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
When did MH 370 go missing?
MH 370 took off at 12.41 am and reached a cruising altitude of 10,700 meters at 1.01 am. The Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) which transmitted data about the aircraft’s performance send its last transmission at 1.07 am and went off. Around 1:19 am the last communication from the crew occurred and at 1.21 am, the plane’s transponder that communicated with the air-traffic control got switched off just when the plane was about to enter Vietnamese airspace over the South China Sea.
The tracking of the plane began at 1.30 am by the Malaysian military and civilian radar when the plane turned around and flew southwest over the Malay Peninsula and then northwest over the Strait of Malacca. At 2.22 am, the Malaysian military radar lost contact with the plane over the Andaman Sea. An Inmarsat satellite in geostationary orbit over the Indian Ocean received hourly signals from flight 370 and last detected the plane at 8.11 am.
Where did the search start?
Initially, the search started for MH 370 in the South China Sea. However, after determining that the flight turned to the west shortly after the transponder went off, the search efforts moved to the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea. After a week the disappearance, the Inmarsat contract was disclosed. The analysis of the signal couldn’t locate the precise location but did suggest that the plane might have been anywhere on two arcs, one stretching from Java southward into the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia and the other stretching northward across Asia from Vietnam to Turkmenistan. Then, the search area expanded to the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia on the southern arc and Southeast Asia, western China, and Central Asia on the northern arc and the Indian subcontinent.
Finally, on March 24, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that according to the analysis of the final signals, Inmarsat and the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) had concluded that the flight crashed in a remote part of the Indian Ocean 2,500 km southwest of Australia. Therefore, it is highly impossible that passengers survived.
What were the results of the search?
On 6th April, an Australian ship detected some acoustic pings about 2,000 km northwest of Perth, Western Australia that could have possibly come from the Boeing 777’s flight recorder. Further investigation by the AAIB of the Inmarsat data also deduced a partial signal at 8.19 am consistent with the acoustic pings, the last of which were heard on 8th April. If the signals were from flight 370, it is possible that the flight recorder’s battery life has ended. The search continued using a robotic submarine. However, it turns out the pings were spread over a wide area and the submarine did not find any debris.
When did the debris from flight 370 got discovered?
The first piece of debris was found on 29th July 2015. Over the next year and a half, 26 pieces of debris were found on the shores of Tanzania, South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Mauritius. Out of the total 27 pieces, 3 were identified as coming from flight 370 and 17 were thought to have possibly come from the plane.
In Jan 2017, the Australian, Malaysian, and Chinese governments called off the search for flight 370. Then, an American company received permission from the Malaysian government to continue searching until May 2017. Later, in July 2018, the Malaysian government issued its final report on the disappearance of flight 370. In the report, it was deduced that the mechanical malfunctioning of the flight was deemed highly unlikely however the reason for the disappearance was still not discovered.
The evidence that revealed the reason for the disappearance
In 2017, a Madagascan fisherman named Tataly discovered the landing gear of the Malaysian Airlines MH 370, after it washed up on the shore due to a tropical storm. Being unaware of the importance of the debris the fisherman kept the gear with him for five years until the researcher discovered it in 2022.
As per the experts, this discovery is a crucial piece of evidence as it suggests that the pilots intentionally destroyed the aircraft putting the life of 239 passengers at risk. This suggestion is made by British engineer Richard Godfrey and American wreckage hunter Blaine Gibson after studying the parts of the flight. The theory is based on the four quasi-parallel gashes on the door, which they suggest were caused by the disintegration of one of the two engines of the plane.
Mr. Godfrey and Gibson also published a report in support of the matter saying a high-speed dive and the extended landing gear clearly show the intent to hide the evidence of the crash soon after the crash. It also added that the pilots are aware that the landing gear during an emergency landing on ocean water causes more destruction, breaking into several pieces. Due to this, the passengers get very less time to get out of the plane before it crashes completely.