A Summary of the MH 370 Disappearance

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Hitz.fm Facebook page

I don’t claim to know everything about what has happened, I wrote this post because I was sharing updates on Facebook and some people were curious. While I have included some theories, I have deliberately chosen to not add news I deem irrelevant to the finding of MH 370. I’ll continuously update this post down below as new information comes along. #PrayforMH370

Timeline of Malaysian Airlines Flight

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On the 8th of March, Malaysia Airlines released a media statement confirming that the flight MH 370 bounded for Beijing had lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control.14 nationalities were present on the MH 370, the bulk being of Chinese nationality. Based on the last contact with the pilots it was previously thought that the Boeing 777 crashed off the coast of Vietnam.

Help has been given from many countries. This includes Vietnam, China, USA, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan. ‘Forty-two ships and 39 planes from 12 countries have been searching the sea between the northeast coast of Malaysia and southwest Vietnam’. The latest to join the search are India, Japan and Brunei. While all help has been very well received and appreciated, the uncertainty over the exact path taken by the plane has sparked tension between the countries providing aid, in particular Vietnam.

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Google Maps

On March 12th it was revealed by a senior Malaysian Air Force official that the route taken by the plane was not as originally thought and that the plane had instead turned around and travelled hundreds of miles off course. It was last detected near Pulau Perak in the Straits of Malacca. The Straits of Malacca is what separates Peninsula Malaysia and Sumatra. This has not been confirmed by any other Malaysian authority. The current search will focus on both the areas of the Straights of Malacca and the South China Sea covering up to 27,000 nautical miles.

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Several things have come into question. Firstly in regards to the plane itself. The missing flight MH 370 was a Boeing 777-200ER, Boeing 777’s have a remarkably good track record for being safe in comparison to any major aircraft that has been introduced in the last 20 years. More than 1000 of these aircrafts have been produced with less than 60 incidents reported, most of them being minor. The airline, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has been one of the world’s top airlines, coming in at 10th place in 2012 and 14th in 2013. Their air safety profile is visible here, and social media airline ratings here. The plane was piloted by Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a flight veteran with over 18,365 flying hours under his belt. The first officer, Fariq Ab Hamid started working for MAS in 2007.

Regarding the level of difficulty in finding an aircraft the length of five school buses, Mothership.sg looks at how planes are tracked, the feasibility of all communications malfunctioning and how search and rescue is being conducted. There exists precedent for jetliners to go missing, CNN looks at the 2009 disappearance of Air France flight 447. This had taken four searches over the course of almost two years to locate the bulk of the wreckage and most of the 228 bodies.

Many news and other websites have put forth their own opinions as to what may have happened. At this current time none have proven to be more than theory and speculation.

CNN: Four Scenarios Fuel Speculation Among Experts

1. Mechanical Failure

Due to the absence of debris, it has been suggested that the plane may have landed on water without breaking up. However these planes are able to glide for more than 100 miles which seems like sufficient time for pilots to send an SOS. Although the missing plane had suffered a clipped wing tip in the past but had been repaired and was deemed safe to fly.

2. Hijacking

Radar data indicated that the plane may have turned around to head towards Kuala Lumpur. No reports have shown that the flight crew sent any signals that a hijacking occurred. The turn around could have been a deliberate response to the mechanical failure mentioned above. However the fact that every single form of communication the plane had with the outside world was all stopped at the same time leads experts to believe that it must have been deliberate and by somebody who understands the systems on the plane in detail.

3. Pilot Error

Comparisons have been made to the Air France Flight 447 which went down in a storm in 2009. However the situation was largely different, not least that the weather was reported as good along MH370’s scheduled route.

4. Terrorist Attack

Just days before the MH 370 disappeared, Taiwanese intelligence had received warning about possible terrorist planned attacks on Beijing airport and the city’s subway system. This coupled with the fact that two passengers had boarded the plane with stolen passports was the primary reason for the stirring of the topic on terrorism. The identity of one of the men, Pouri Nourmohammadi has since been discovered to be an Iranian man who was trying to emigrate to Germany using the stolen Austrian passport. There has been no evidence to suggest Nourmohammadi or the other man Mohammad Reza are connected to any terrorist organisations. So far no one has come forth to claim credit for any terrorist act nor has any bomb blast debris been found.

Prior to the discovery of the identities of the men, our eloquent department of aviation gives a press conference describing the men as ‘they look like Italian footballer Mario Balotelli [to some approximation of the last name]‘

Recent News

China Handling Disaster

The Epoch Times, AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

It has been reported that calling the cellphones belonging to some Chinese passengers and crew members on the MH370 have yielded actual ringtones. Family members using QQ (an instant messaging service) have also said that the service shows that their loved ones who were on the plane are online. This has lead people to believe . This ‘phantom call’ theory has been debunked on CNN although nothing further has been said regarding the QQ accounts.

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New Straits Times, photo by Dzullkeffli Mustapha

Currently the latest development surrounds a group of fishermen who found a life raft with the word “Boarding” written on it, 10 nautical miles from Port Dickson. This raft was then handed over to the custody of the Malaysian maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). However the raft sunk back into the sea while the MMEA attempted to bring it on board.

Bomoh Ibrahim Mat Zin has held rituals at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in attempts to ‘weaken the bad spirits so that the rescuers can find the plane if it has indeed crashed’.

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You can get the latest news from Malaysia Airlines by clicking this link. It continuously updates but this is the 14th Media Statement displayed as I view it from 9.25 AM Wednesday 12th March 2014.

Update Thursday 13th March 2014 – 6th Day

CNN – China’s satellite images show  three floating objects in an area suspected to be a crash site. Images were captured on March 9th but were not released until Wednesday. However Vietnamese searchers reported seeing no sign of debris on Thursday when they flew over the area Chinese authorities had flagged.

CNN Second update posted at 12.50 pm – Vietnamese and Malaysian planes spot no sign of the debris as found in the image from the Chinese satellites. Chinese authorities have said to Hishammuddin (Malaysian Transport Minister) that the images were a mistake and did not show any debris related to the plane.

 

Update Friday 14th March 2014 – 7th Day

CNN – Reuters said unidentified source claims that the jet was following navigational waypoints that would have taken the plane over the Andaman Islands

Other interesting articles

Legality regarding who has jurisdiction over the wreckage

Agonising families await answers over missing MH 370

Malaysian Airlines jet was ‘at safest point in flight’

Websites to stay up to date

CNN

Hitz.fm’s Twitter account (Malaysian radio station)

Astro Awani’s YouTube account, collation of views and press conferences given

Malaysian Airlines Facebook page

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