Malaysia Airlines’ Missing Flight MH370: Timeline of an Air Mystery

By Ludovica Iaccino
International Business Times
March 12, 2014

Missing Malaysian airlines flight crash

Saturday 8 March

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 takes off at 12:21am local time (16:21 GMT) from Kuala Lumpur with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

Flight MH370 was supposed to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport at 6:30am but two hours after takeoff, air traffic control loses contact with the plane. It is last heard of 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

No panic call is received from the crew and weather in the flight path is clear.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) confirms the jetliner never registered entering the airspace between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City.

Fear of a crash grow as Malaysia and Vietnam launch a search and rescue operation in the South China Sea. China dispatches two maritime rescue ships.

Terrorist plot, engine failure, disintegration, hijacking and pilot suicide all under consideration as the cause of the disappearance.

Malaysia Airlines releases the passenger list which includes 154 people from China and Taiwan, 38 from Malaysia, seven from Indonesia and six from Australia

Chinese premier Li Keqiang appeals to the Malaysian government to speed up the search operation.

Vietnam confirms seeing a giant oil slick and column of smoke in its waters. The slick is not connected to the missing aircraft, it is discovered.

Terror attack theory strengthens when two “missing” passengers of the flight MH370 reveal that their passports were stolen last year in Thailand.

Sunday 9 March

Radar signals indicate flight may have turned back from its scheduled before disappearing.

Malaysian rescue teams intensify their search off the west coast.

The FBI and Malaysian counter-terrorism units start investigating the terror angle after it emerges that two impostors had boarded the plane on stolen passports. One is described as Italian and the other Austrian.

The Thai travel agency that booked the tickets for the men had been asked to arrange the travel by an Iranian middleman.

Monday 10 March

No sign of mid-air explosion detected in American spy satellite imagery.

The possible sighting of a yellow life raft is investigated, but it is unrelated.

Fearing a possible bomb explosion aboard the Boeing 777, seven countries resume rescue operation in the seas around Malaysia and Vietnam.

Chinese media claim that some passengers’ mobile phones were ringing when relatives called, but nobody answered.

Five people checked in to board but cancelled their travel at the last minute, Malaysian authorities say.

Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe, says the missing plane is an “unprecedented aviation mystery” and that hijacking cannot be ruled out.

China begins using its orbiting satellites in a bid to find the missing flight.

Malaysia Airline’s share plunges.

Tuesday 11 March

At least 40 ships and 34 aircraft taking part in the search in the seas off Vietnam and Malaysia.

China Airlines reveals that a terror threat was made against Beijing Capital international airport in the days prior to the abrupt disappearance of MH370.

One man using stolen passport not affiliated with terrorist organisations, Malaysian police say. Iranian Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, was allegedly migrating to Germany.

The second stolen passport holder is identified as Delavar Syed Mohammed Reza who was allegedly heading to Sweden to seek asylum.

Malaysian authorities examining personal details of everybody aboard the missing flight.

Malaysia is outraged following allegations that co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid had invited South African tourists into the cockpit on previous flights.

US-based satellite imaging firm DigitalGlobe allows the public to analyse high-resolution images to look for any sign of the missing plane.

Meanwhile, two men from different locations in the Malaysian state of Kelantan claim to have spotted the aircraft plunging into the sea at approximately the same location and time.

Malaysian military says the flight was last seen above the Strait of Malacca, over an hour after it disappeared from air traffic control screens.

After some people claimed to have located the plane using Google Maps, the company responds saying that users should not rely on its satellite imagery because the images are not live.

Wednesday 12 March

Vietnam partially suspends its search and rescue mission to locate the missing plane, citing a lack of response from Malaysian authorities.

Malaysia says it is extending search operations to the Andaman Sea, hundreds of miles from the original search radius.

Malaysian aviation authorities reveal the final conversation between the ground officials and the pilot. “Alright, good night” were the last words of the pilot.

Malaysia’s air force rejects claims that the plane was detected above the Strait of Malacca.

A prominent Iranian lawmaker blames the US for the disappearance of the flight, while a new theory suggests that a slow decompression of the cabin left both passengers and pilots unconscious

Investigators working under even more pressure as 30 days is said to be optimum window to dinf black box to help unravel the mystery.

Images of debris from the missing flight are captured by a Chinese satellite showing three “large, floating, objects” in the South China Sea.

Chinese authorities said the images were captured on March 9, the day after the plane went missing, but have only just been released on Wednesday 12 March.

Thursday 13 March

The search initiated following the images captured by the Chinese satellite is unsuccessful.

Police are carrying out psychological investigations to verify whether any passenger or crew member was suffering personal or psychological problems.

Investigators are considering the possibility that the pilot may have crashed the plane in a suicide bid.

A man claims to have witnessed the plane crashing off Vietnam coast.

According to latest reports, the Boeing 777 might have flown for 5 hours, which is now thought to be four hours after it lost contact.

Nasa joins the search to find the plane.

The US space agency will send any relevant data it finds to the US Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observations and Science Hazard Data Distribution System.

The five-hour theory is denied by Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein who called the reports “inaccurate”.
Hussein also refutes claims that satellite images of debris from flight MH370 were authentic.

US aviation watchdog warns airlines of a problem with cracks in Boeing 777s that could lead to a mid-air break up; meanwhile Pentagon officials moves its searches into the Indian Sea, where they think the plane might have crashed four of five hours after disappearing from radar.

Friday 14 March

US officials believe the plane was being flown towards the Andaman Islands, an archipelago between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

Chinese researchers detect seismic activity near the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam when the flight went off the radar.

China also urges Malaysia’s government to release any information it has regarding the missing jetliner.

The shaman who has been performing rituals at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to find the flight threatens to take legal action against those who ridicule his practices.

A hoax advert featuring the Boeing 777-300 appears on Craigslist causing puzzled comments on social media.

Indian authorities launch a search of the uninhabited islands located in the Andaman Sea using heat-seeking technology in the hope of a breakthrough in the hunt.

A British woman claims she has found the missing plane after she takes part in a mass volunteer examination of satellite photos to find the plane.

Illusionist Uri Geller, using a technique called “remote viewing” to establish the fate of the plane, believes the pilots were overcome by a fire.

Saturday 15 March

Kuala Lumpur denies a report which said the ongoing investigation “conclusively” suggests the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was hijacked.

Meanwhile, a US official reveals that investigators are looking into the possibility that the “conclusive” hijacking may have been “an act of piracy”.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak confirms the movement of the aircraft was consistent with deliberate action by someone aboard to divert the flight from its original path.

Sunday 16 March

Rivalry among two prominent Malaysian politicians is also being mooted as being behind the abrupt disappearance of the flight.

Malaysian investigators fly an identical 777-200 in an attempt to retrace the missing airliner’s flight path.

British tech genius Simon Bax is asked to lead the search of the plane.

Fears that pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah may have hijacked the plane in an anti-government protest grow.

Monday 17 March

The missing plane is believed to have flown at an altitude as low as 5,000ft (1,500m) to escape detection by ground radar, reports claim.

New Delhi denies speculations that the missing flight was heading towards India for a 9/11-style attack.

The flight engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat on board the missing flight is being investigated by Malaysian police.

Tuesday 18 March

Families of the missing passengers threaten to go on hunger strike in protest at the lack of information.

Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim admits he is related to missing pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

“I am not denying that he [Zaharie] is related to one of my in-laws and that I have met him on several occasions,” Ibrahim said.

Beijing rules out claims that any of the 153 Chinese nationals on board were involved in sabotage or hijacking.

Wednesday 19 March

Investigators reveal that several files in the homemade flight simulator of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah were deleted recently. Malaysian authorities say the files could have provided crucial information regarding the mysterious disappearance of the aircraft.

Chinese relatives of the missing passengers are physically thrown out of the daily press conference in Kuala Lumpur. Two relatives of passengers had approached journalists to ask for information on the search and staged a protest against Malaysian authorities.

Some residents of Kuda Huvadhoo in Dhall Atoll, a remote Maldivian island, claim they sighted an unidentified plane flying low over their houses on the morning of 8 March.

Thailand’s military says its radars had picked up an unknown airliner, suspected to be the missing plane, hours after the aircraft vanished.

Thursday 20 March

The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation launches an intensive probe to determine the nature of two objects of “reasonable size”, spotted in the southern Indian Ocean by a satellite.

Malaysia’s transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein says the two objects are a “credible lead”.

Friday 21 March

China is to send at least seven vessels to scour the southern Indian Ocean for debris.

UK prime minister David Cameron offers Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak a list of military vessels he would be willing to send to assist the search.

India turns down China’s request to enter its territorial waters to search for the aircraft.

New Delhi says it does not want the Chinese warships “sniffing around” Indian maritime territories under the pretext of searching for the jetliner’s wreckage.

Britain’s HMS Echo survey vessel joins the search for the missing plane.

The Daily Telegraph reveals the last 54 minutes of communication with the flight before it disappeared.

Malaysian Airlines officials confirm the aircraft had been carrying highly flammable lithium-ion batteries in its cargo hold.

Saturday 22 March

The Chinese government claims to have new images of debris that may be part of the missing flight

Relatives of the passengers accuse Malaysian authorities of a cover up.

Sunday 23 March

Volunteer observers aboard Australian jets claim they have seen a number of small floating objects, possibly aircraft debris.

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah received a phone call from a stolen phone hours before the take-off, it is revealed.

Images from French satellites show unidentified debris in the Indian Ocean.

Monday 24 March

A Chinese plane spots several “suspicious white and rectangular” objects around an area where satellite images had detected what could be aircraft debris.

Malaysian authorities say the first floating objects could be recovered by an Australian ship within a few hours.

Malaysian Airlines management said in a public statement they assume “beyond any reasonable doubt” that the missing flight “has been lost and that none of those on board survived”.

Tuesday 25 March

The announcement by Malaysian Airlines was received with grief and dismay by the relatives of the passengers, prompting China to double-check the data to verify Malaysian authorities’ assumption.

Chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya could lose his job as he faces accusations of gross insensitivity, after sending a text message informing relatives of passengers that their loved ones are almost certainly dead.

Analysts in the investigation become increasingly convinced that the airliner crashed into the Indian Ocean due to a “rational” suicide mission, because of the routing, signalling and communications data transmitted from the aircraft.

Wednesday 26 March

The US Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator 25 (TPL-25) is brought to Australia to assist in the hunt for the plane.

Malaysian authorities said fresh satellite images have located 122 objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean, where the plane is believed to have crashed.

Januari Siregar, father of Indonesian passenger Chandra Siregar, seeks information of the flight’s data via the Chicago-based law firm Ribbeck Law Chartered. The move is seen as a prelude to a complete lawsuit against the airline.

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is said he was in “no state of mind to be flying,” after his wife had left him.

Investigators studying the final path taken by the jet disclose that the plane sent a final incomplete ping just eight minutes after the last of hourly pings was transmitted to the satellite.

Underwater geologist Robin Beaman, from the James Cook University in Australia, believes that volcanoes will make the search much more difficult because of the changing landscape beneath the southern Indian Ocean.

Thursday 27 March

Ahmed Seth, the youngest son of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, rejects the latest allegations that Shah could have been on a suicide mission.

Meanwhile, bad weather forces Australia to suspend the ongoing search for debris in the southern Indian Ocean.

A Thai satellite detects 300 floating objects near the search area for the missing plane.

Debris from the plane may be impossible to find due to strong ocean currents, experts claim.

Malaysian and Chinese insurance firms begin awarding compensation to the relatives of passengers , despite there being no official confirmation of the death.

Friday 28 March

Naval vessels and aircraft will be scouring a fresh search zone in the southern Indian Ocean, following a “new credible lead” from radar data, according to Australian authorities.

Malaysian authorities say satellite images showing objects potentially related to the missing plane floating in the ocean are still relevant to the search, despite a shift in focus of some 1,100km.

An Australian plane spots objects that may be related to the missing aircraft in a new search area.

Saturday 29 March

A black box locator heads to the a search area in the southern Indian Ocean after several floating objects are spotted by surveillance aircraft.

Objects retrieved by a Chinese ship are not debris from the missing flight.

Sunday 30 March

China is said to be planning to build dozens of satellites in order to set up a global monitoring network to avoid a repeat of the MH370 mystery disappearance.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detects a distress signal in the southern Indian Ocean near Antarctica. The emergency beacon comes from a fishing vessel but the nature of the distress call is unknown.

Experts warn that finding the plane could prove one of the toughest tasks in aviation history.

Chinese relatives of passengers arrive in Kuala Lumpur to vent their anger at officials and to demand more information about what happened to the airliner.

Monday 31 March

A black box locator and an underwater drone have been attached to the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield as the ship begins sailing to the remote southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysian aviation authorities warn that “time is running out” to find the black box.

Tuesday 1 April

Malaysian authorities release the transcript of the final words exchanged between the control tower in Kuala Lumpur and the flight.

“Previously, Malaysia Airlines had stated the initial investigation indicated that the voice which signed off was that of the co-pilot,” it says in an accompanying statement.

“The police are working to confirm this belief, and forensic examination of the actual recording is ongoing.”

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 4 April 2014 - 4:39 am

    Dis 1DERful land’s POROUS borders – air, land, sea

    A plane dat flew through our air space unchallenged, untracked

    Armed men fr another nation visited our cuti-cuti land n curi-curi a Chinese tourist n a hotel worker fr a dive resort n then fled by speed boat

    N our cowboy ministers all said ALL is WELL, national SECURITY OK 1 what

    Meanwhile, what did Perkosa-UmnoB/BN kaki, including n especially EmSiEh, do?

    “They and their families should be hung to death and receive severe punishment of the law.”
    WHOA, OMG, if d above statement is TRUE 1 fr d mouth of d EmSiEh butcher/executioner, we will need a HANGING TREE 4 MOB justice

    Senseless BRUTAL, man, first “HUNG 2 DEATH”, then AFTER death, still kena severe punishment of d law

    Pray, EmSiEh butcher/executioner, tell rakyat, WHAT is MORE “severe punishment” than DEATH?
    How do U propose 2 punish severely a DEAD person?

    HOW come Perkosa-UmnoB/BN kaki LOVE 2 punish, kick out, kill MESSENGERS but dare NOT criticise constructively d well known wide spread incompetence n failures of most of our systems?

    Do they know HOW 2 differentiate between TRAITORs n PATRIOTs, pro-national n anti-national, LOYAL n disloyal

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Friday, 4 April 2014 - 4:39 am

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Friday, 4 April 2014 - 5:06 am

    Er, halo, EmSiEh n Perkosa-UmnoB/BN, can mention abt ‘London-bound MAS flight MH002 forced 2 double back 2 KLIA due 2 technical faults’ or not huh

    Won’t get citizenship revoked or asked 2 move 2 another country or kena hung high high, ya

    YES lor, rakyat knew they r supposed 2 ‘love n protect d good name of their country’ n ‘d ruling gomen’, warts n all, including all d MAS (mana ada sistem), WOW, LOL

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Friday, 4 April 2014 - 8:35 am

    “They want me in jail,” said Karpal
    YES, looks like THEY want Karpal 2 keep AI company in jail, two senior jailbirds, PREREQUISITES 4 political greatness, like Nelson M
    So, R U ready, Karpal
    Who knows, more PR kaki may join both U n AI veri soon
    D courts n prosecution r working overtime doubly quick

    LUCKY U, Karpal, veri heng oh, NOT judged n sentenced by d female “HUNG 2 DEATH” EmSiEh butcher/executioner

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