An Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration 9M-MRO performing flight MH-370 from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Beijing (China) with 227 passengers and 12 crew, was enroute at FL350 about 40 minutes into the flight about 90nm northeast of Kota Bharu (Malaysia) over the Gulf of Thailand in contact with Subang Center (Malaysia) just about to be handed off to Ho Chi Minh Air Traffic Control Center (Vietnam) when radar and radio contact was lost at about 01:22L (17:22Z Mar 7th). Subang Air Traffic Control Center officially told the airline at around 02:40L (18:40Z Mar 7th) that the aircraft was missing. The aircraft would have run out of fuel by now, there have been no reports of the aircraft turning up on any airport in the region. On Mar 8th 2014 the airline confirmed on their website the aircraft is missing, a search and rescue operation has been initiated. Subang Air Traffic Control reported at 02:40 local Malaysian time, that radar and radio contact with the aircraft had been lost. The last radar position was N6.92 E103.58. There has been no distress call, no ELT or other signal was received from the aircraft. The focus is currently to locate the aircraft, as of 11:20Z Mar 8th search teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam have failed to find any evidence of the aircraft. On Mar 9th 2014 14:43L (06:43Z) the airline added, that still no evidence of the aircraft has been found more than 24 hours after last contact with the aircraft and corrected the time of last contact with the aircraft to 1:30L. The airline stated, they are fearing for the worst, depending on where the aircraft will be found a command center will be set either at Kota Bharu or Ho Chi Minh City. In a press conference the airline stated, the last contact with the aircraft had been about 120 miles (90nm) northeast of Kota Bharu (Malaysia), over the Gulf of Thailand. The aircraft was piloted by an experienced captain (53, 18,365 hours total) and a first officer (27, 2,763 hours total). The aircraft carried 154 Chinese citizens, 38 Malaysians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 5 Indian, 4 French, 3 citizens of USA, 2 New Zealanders, 2 Ukrainians, 2 Canadians, 1 Russian, 1 Italian, 1 Dutch and 1 Austrian. On Mar 11th 2014 the airline reported that the aircraft had accumulated 53,465 flight hours in 7,525 flight cycles since its delivery to Malaysia Airlines in 2002. The aircraft has last undergone maintenance on Feb 23rd 2014. All Malaysia Airlines aircraft are equipped with ACARS transmitting monitoring data automatically. However, no distress call and no information was relayed. The search area has been extended and includes the Strait of Malacca west of Malaysia looking at the possibility that the aircraft may have turned back and diverted to Subang (Malaysia). On Mar 8th 2014 search missions have been launched along the estimated flight track of the aircraft from Gulf of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos to China (South China Sea). On Mar 8th 2014 at about noon local time Vietnamese search personnel reported they have detected an ELT signal about 20nm south of the coast of Ca Mau. Vietnam officials subsequently stated that they have not yet detected flight MH-370. On Mar 8th 2014 in the afternoon local time an Admiral of the Vietnamese Navy was understood to indicate that the crash site of the aircraft has been located about 130nm south of the Vietnamese Island Tho Chau (110nm southwest of main land Ca Mau), the Navy later said that the admiral only referred to the position of last radio/radar contact with the aircraft, the aircraft has not yet been found. On Mar 8th 2014 China reported that the aircraft did not enter Chinese airspace (editorial note: which effectively discounts rumours and false reports by a Malaysian outlet of the aircraft having landed in Nanning (China)). On Mar 8th 2014 Nanning Airport stated the aircraft did not arrive at the airport. On Mar 9th 2014 the NTSB reported that a go-team has been dispatched to Asia to assist with the investigation into the missing flight MH-370. The NTSB wrote: Once the location of the airplane is determined, International Civil Aviation Organization protocols will determine which country will lead the investigation. In the evening of Mar 9th 2014 local time Malaysias Transport Ministry reported, that no trace of the missing aircraft has been found at dawn Mar 9th after two days of search. The oil slicks as well as debris found so far are not related to the aircraft. Rumours like other crew establishing contact to the accident flight after radar contact was lost, phone contact to a mobile phone of one the passengers of the missing flight or the aircraft having landed in China or Vietnam, are false. In the night of Mar 9th 2014 Vietnams Search and Rescue Control Center released a photo of a part floating in the Gulf of Thailand, that despite darkness was discovered by a Twin Otter Aircraft of Vietnams Coast Guard at position N8.792 E103.374 about 31nm southsouthwest of Tho Chu (editorial note: 114nm north of the last radar contact position) and is believed to be a part of the aircraft. The Control Center stated, the part is definitely made of composite material. Forces will be dispatched to the part after daybreak Mar 10th 2014. Malaysias Department of Civil Aviation said later that this part is unrelated to MH-370, it was not recovered. Hong Kongs Air Traffic Control Center reported on Mar 10th 2014 around 17:30L (09:30Z) that an airliner enroute on airway L642 reported via HF radio that they saw a large field of debris at position N9.72 E107.42 about 80nm southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, about 50nm off the south-eastern coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea and about 281nm northeast of the last known radar position. Ships have been dispatched to the reported debris field. On Mar 10th 2014 Vietnams Search and Rescue Control Center confirmed receiving the report by Hong Kongs Air Traffic Control Center stating that a Hong Kong based airliner reported a large field of debris while enroute on airway L642. A Thai cargo ship in the area was asked for assistance and has set course to the area but did not find anything unusual so far. A second vessel asked for assistance did find some debris. Following this finding Vietnams Maritime Search and Rescue Services (MRCC) dispatched a ship to the debris field. On Mar 10th 2014 Hong Kongs Civil Aviation Department confirmed a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur spotted large amount of debris while enroute off the coast of South East Vietnam. Vietnams Search and Rescue Center later announced that the border guard vessel arriving at the position of the debris field did not find any objects. There were high winds and large waves, the debris possibly drifted away. On Mar 11th 2014 Malaysias Air Force reported their primary radar data suggest, the aircraft may have turned west over the Gulf of Thailand at about 1000 meters/3000 feet below the original flight level (editorial note: another possible interpretation could be: at 1000 meters of height compared to 10000 meters original level) and flown past the east coast near Kota Bharu and the west coast of Malaysia near Kedah, the radar return was last seen at 02:40L near Pulau Perak in the Straits of Malacca, about 285nm westsouthwest of the last known (secondary) radar position. Local Police at Kota Bharu confirmed a number of locals reported lights and a low flying aircraft at Kota Bharu at an estimated height of 1000 meters/3000 feet. Early Mar 12th 2014 the commander of Malaysias Air Force stated, he did not make statements about the aircraft being tracked across Malaysia into the Strait of Malacca. The Air Force does not discount the possibility of an air turn back however, as stated in a press conference on Mar 9th 2014. In the evening of Mar 11th 2014 Vietnams Search and Rescue Center reported they were expanding their search areas both to the east and west including the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand. Two Chinese search planes in addition to the Vietnamese ships and aircraft have been operating over Vietnamese waters, so far there has not been any finding. The oil slicks and debris found in the Gulf of Thailand south of Tho Chau Island proved unrelated to MH-370, the field of debris of Mar 10th was determined false alert too. On Mar 12th 2014 Vietnams Search and Rescue Control Center reported that analysis of satellite images of Vietnams coastal regions, capable of showing objects sized 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters, did not detect any signs of the aircraft. Around noon the Control Center reported, that the search operation continues in full like the days before based on official information from Malaysia that the aircraft has not been tracked in the Strait of Malacca. 9 Vietnamese aircraft and 9 Vietname ships plus 14 foreign aircraft and 22 foreign ships are searching Vietnamese waters. On Mar 12th 2014 officials of Malaysias Civil Aviation Authority talking to families of occupants of MH-370 in Beijing reported that the aircraft was just in the process of being handed off to Vietnam, the last radio transmission heard from the aircraft was Okay, good night. The crew did not report on Vietnams frequency anymore. About three minutes later Vietnams control center noticed that the aircraft had disappeared from radar and had not reported on his frequency. There had been no emergency or distress calls on any means of communication, although radio coverage of the area is generally good. Malaysias CAA officials stressed, that they do not have any indication that the aircraft may have turned back or deviated from the planned route. The aircraft suddenly disappeared. So far the aircraft has not been found although a total of 1788 ships are participating in the search for the aircraft. Editorial note on Mar 12th 2014: On Mar 10th Malaysia expanded the search area into the Strait of Malacca assigning substantial forces to that large search area (much larger than the search area in the Gulf of Thailand with a radius of 100nm around the last known secondary radar position east of Malaysia). It remains unclear why this has been done given the Mar 12th denials of reports of Mar 11th that the aircraft may have been tracked by primary radar into the Strait of Malacca explaining that widened search. It also remains unclear why on Mar 12th the search is now moving northwest into the Andaman Sea west of Malaysia, especially when there are/were no indications of the aircraft turning back as Malaysia officials told families in Beijing on Mar 12th. In the evening of Mar 12th 2014 the commander of Malaysias Air Force confirmed in a televised news conference, that an unidentified radar target was last seen at FL295 about 200nm northwest of Penang (Malaysia) at 02:15L after a number of intermittent returns (editorial note: this translates to just off the coast of Phuket (Thailand) in the Andaman Sea). As the primary radar does not identify which aircraft produced the return (other than secondary radar identifying the aircraft via the aircrafts transponder), it is not clear whether that unidentified target was MH-370. This radar observation however prompted Malaysias Authorities to expand the search into the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea. Late Mar 12th 2014 Chinas State Administration of Science (SASTIND) reported, they discovered three large objects sized 13x18, 14x19 and 24x22 meters at position N6.7 E105.63 (121nm eastsoutheast of the last known secondary radar position), all three objects within a radius of 20km (11nm) and published the satellite images, taken on Mar 9th 2014 at 11:00 Beijing time (03:00Z), see below. SASTIND stated they are committed to provide further search services to locate flight MH-370. On Mar 13th 2014 two Vietnamese aircraft reached the position identified by SASTIND but did not find any debris scanning the area for about 3 hours. Chinas head of government ordered Chinese ships to the position to try harder to find the debris identified by the satellite images. The head of Chinas Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) stated, that the SASTIND satellite images show smoke and floating objects, however, at this time the CAAC can not confirm these objects are related to MH-370 (editorial note: media reports converted this statement into the debris is not from MH-370). On Mar 13th 2014 afternoon Malaysias Transport Minister said in a televised press conference, that the last ACARS transmission was received from the aircraft at 01:07L (17:07Z), there were no later transmissions via ACARS (editorial note: which effectively states a report by a single US news paper of the engines monitoring recording information via ACARS for 4 more hours is untrue), the last transmission received from the aircraft indicated all systems were operating normally. Boeing, Roll Royce, and NTSB confirmed the last data transmission received from the aircraft was at 01:07L. Malaysias Search Control Center consulted with the NTSB and other agencies with respect to the unidentified primary radar returns and it was a common decision, that there were sufficient grounds to dedicate forces to search for the aircraft west of Malaysia. The aircraft dispatched to the location identified by SASTIND did not find anything, China did not intend to release the satellite images to the public. Malaysia is committed to find the aircraft and is going to intensify search efforts further. In the afternoon of Mar 14th 2014 Malaysias Transport Minister re-iterated, that there was a primary target seen indeed, it may be MH-370 but could be any other aircraft too. It can neither be confirmed nor ruled out that this radar target was MH-370. As result the search areas are being widened into the Indian Ocean beyond Andaman Islands to the west as well as to the east further into the South China Sea. Two oil slicks have been discovered near the position of last contact, one of these oil slicks contained jet fuel, however, it is not clear whether this jet fuel comes from MH-370 or not. Malaysia is sharing data that would normally not be shared with the public in the interest of national security. Media reports that the aircraft transmitted any data beyond the point of last contact are not true. During the press conference in the afternoon of Mar 14th 2014 Malaysias Transport Minister provided more details about the primary radar observation stating, the target was first picked up at waypoint IGARI at FL350 (editorial note: waypoint IGARI nearly conincides with the last secondary radar position of MH-370) at 01:21L moving towards waypoint VAMPI, then waypoint GIVAL and finally turning northwest towards waypoint IGREX. The target was lost at FL295 after GIVAL at 02:15L. On Mar 14th 2014 Inmarsat released following statement on their website: Routine, automated signals were registered on the Inmarsat network from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during its flight from Kuala Lumpur. This information was provided to our partner SITA, which in turn has shared it with Malaysia Airlines. For further information, please contact Malaysia Airlines. (Editorial note: this statement does NOT state at which times this occurred, nor does it state that those signals were registered after 17:22Z on Mar 7th). According to The Aviation Heralds radar data the aircraft was last regularly seen at 17:22Z (01:22L) at position N6.9 E103.6 about half way between Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) at FL350 over the Gulf of Thailand about 260nm northnortheast of Kuala Lumpur and 90nm northeast of Kota Bharu 40 minutes into the flight, followed by anomalies in the radar data of the aircraft over the next minute (the anomalies may be related to the aircraft but could also be caused by the aircraft leaving the range of the receiver). On Mar 8th 2014 aviation sources in China reported that radar data suggest a steep and sudden descent of the aircraft, during which the track of the aircraft changed from 024 degrees to 333 degrees. The aircraft was estimated to contact Ho Chi Minh Control Center (Vietnam) at 01:20L, but contact was never established. Italys Foreign Ministry said, the Italian citizen is alive and was not on board of the aircraft other than the passenger manifest suggests, the man called his parents from Thailand. The foreign ministry later added, that the passport of the citizen had been recently stolen in Thailand. Austrias Foreign Ministry stated in the afternoon (European time) that the Austrian listed on the passenger manifest was not on board of the aircraft. The foreign ministry later added, that the passport of the Austrian citizen had been stolen about two years ago when the citizen was touring through Thailand. According to the states run Chinese news agency Xinhua Chinese police established that one of the Chinese passengers listed on the manifest never left China, is still at home and in possession of his passport, therefore was not on the accident flight. The passengers passport had not been lost or stolen, the numbers on his passport and the passport number noted on the manifest are identical however. On Mar 11th 2014 Malaysian investigators reported a 19 year old Iranian was travelling on one of the false passports to join his family waiting for him in Germany. They were contacted by his mother admitting she knew her son was using a false passport. In the evening Malaysian investigators summarized that there is no evidence suggesting there is a link between the disappearance of the aircraft and the use of false passports. Investigation continues however, the background of all passengers is being investigated, for example whether there are high life insurances. On Mar 10th 2014 Malaysias Defense Ministry said, that as result of the verified discrepancies between passenger manifest and people on board of the aircraft, the Austrian and the Italian, the entire manifest is under scrutiny. At least 4 names are suspicious and are being investigated with the participation by the FBI from the USA. On Mar 9th 2014 China Southern Airlines, code share partner of Malaysia Airlines, reported that they sold a total of 7 tickets for the accident flight, amongst them the tickets for the Italian and the Austrian as well as one Dutch, one Malaysian, two Ukrainians and one Chinese.
Posted on: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 17:03:23 +0000