A now three-week-long search is being carried out near Australia for the plane that was originally supposed to land in Beijing. The disappearance of flight MH370 has become a global issue with at least 26 countries joining in the search and the conversation of just what could have happened to the 227 people on that plane.
As the days turned to weeks, new theories, new data and new criticism popped up. The co-pilot was brought under scrutiny. Two unexplained passports and the people who carried them came into the light. And Malaysia has faced criticism for how they chose to handle the investigation and then again, when family members were informed by text message that their loved ones had undoubtedly died in a plane crash in the Indian Ocean.
Various theories for what happened include an electrical fire, terrorist action by both the pilots and passengers. Its unclear if we’ll ever know what really happened during the flight, but we seem to at least be closer to finding whatever may remain of the plane.
As we hopefully get more answers and come closer to finding solid leads, review the timeline of how this story has unfolded. We’ll keep updating the list to include new information.
Saturday, March 8
- Bound for Beijing, China, flight MH370 left Malaysia at 12:41 a.m. and was expected to land the morning of March 8, at 6:30 a.m.
- Twelve crew and 227 passengers were on board, including 3 Americans. A search began the morning of March 8 with search and rescue teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam searching. All failed to find anything on the first day.
- Royal Malaysia Police investigated all crew members on board, as well as the ground staff.
Sunday, March 9
- Radar indicates flight may have turned back from its scheduled route to Beijing before disappearing.
- Experts say something caused the plane to take a steep dive, bringing out theories of terrorism or that the pilot crashed the plane on purpose.
- A report issued from the airline indicates that 24 hours after the flight’s last communication, search teams had still not located the aircraft or any wreckage.
- The airline indicated that ‘in fearing the worst,’ a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta would be assisting the airline.
- After looking into the airline staff, investigators visited the homes of both the pilot and co-pilot and spoke to their family members.
- Two stolen passports were used by passengers on the plane, as identified by Interpol.
Monday, March 10
- Search and rescue (SAR) teams from the U.S., Australia, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and New Zealand joined in the search.
Tuesday, March 11
- An object that was thought to be a life raft was discovered to be moss-covered floating trash.
- SAR teams expanded their search away from the flight plan in searching for the missing plane. The possibility of the plane attempting to turn back to Subang has been looked into.
- The oil slick and debris found in the water has been confirmed to not belong to MH370.
- The character of First Officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, is questioned for allegations he for invited women to stay with him in the cockpit two years ago for the duration of a flight.
- Malaysia Airlines confirms the aircraft was serviced 12 days before the flight and no issues were detected with the aircraft. It was reported that four passengers who had purchased tickets for their flight were not on the plane. Questions of whether there was unattended baggage began to rise. It was previously stated that five people had checked in but did not board. Instead, four people were not checked-in who had purchased tickets for the flight.
- So far, nine aircrafts and 24 vessels are used to locate MH370.
Wednesday, March 12
- Men traveling with stolen passports identified as Iranian, with no terror links.
- Families of passengers begin to arrive in Kuala Lumpur. Financial assistance as well as travel are being provided by the airline.
- In a press briefing on March 21, the Minister of Defense and Acting Minister of Transport, Hishammuddin Hussein, stated that as of March 12, the investigations team had received raw Inmarsat satellite data. Malaysian authorities concluded that the information needed further processing and the data was sent to a U.S. team
Thursday, March 13
- Results for the now-analyzed data were provided on March 13. The U.S. team and Malaysian investigators concluded that more analyzing was needed and the information was sent back.
- Flight codes 370 and 371 are retired to replace the previous numbers on the flights between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.
Friday, March 14
- Experts reveal that the plane plane could have flown for four or more hours after communications stopped.
- The Inmarsat satellite data, now analyzed twice, was presented to investigations at a ‘high-level’ meeting on Friday.
Saturday, March 15
- Police once again visited the homes of the pilot and co-pilot on March 15. During this visit, police took the pilot’s flight simulator, with permission from the family. The simulator was reassembled at police headquarters.
- It was announced that the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting system was disabled before the plane reached the east coast of Malaysia. The transponder was switched off between the border of Malaysia and Vietnam’s air traffic control.
- After the prime minister was briefed on the Inmarsat satellite information, search and rescue operations were shifted to the northern and southern corridor.
- The prime minister announced that the movements of the plane were consistent with ‘deliberate action’ of someone on the plane.
Sunday, March 16
- The search area was significantly expanded and teams switched their focus from shallow seas to large areas of land and deep, remote oceans.
- Countries including U.S., China and France as well as others are providing more satellite data.
Monday, March 17
- The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation has increased to 26.
- It is determined that the one of the plane’s communications systems was turned off before the the last words of “All right, good night’ were spoken. This added to suspicious of both the pilot and co-pilot.“
Tuesday, March 18
- Australia and Indonesia agreed to analyze radar data in their respective locations in the southern corridor. China and Kazakhstan agreed to do the same in the northern corridor.
- Co-pilot identified as person who spoke the final words from the flight of, “All right, good night”.
Thursday, March 20
- The focus shifts to satellite images provided by Australia showing possible debris in the southern Indian Ocean.
- Data from the flight simulator was found to be deleted one month prior to the missing flight’s take-off. U.S. FBI authorities are called in to assist.
Friday, March 21
- Still awaiting confirmation from Australian search and rescue teams to see if objects shown on satellite images in the Indian Ocean are related to the missing plane.
Saturday, March 22
- Search teams in the sea and air were unable to locate the objects seen on satellite images that were identified by Australian authorities. In the area, 2,500 km southwest of Perth, poor conditions (cyclone warning) limited visibility.
- The original transcript of conversation between Malaysian air traffic control and the plane’s crew is being analyzed by investigators. It is announced that though the transcript cannot be released to the public, it doesn’t contain anything abnormal.
- The cargo list has been looked over by investigators and will be released. A preliminary investigation of the manifest doesn’t show anything that might be linked to the missing aircraft.
Monday, March 24
- Two orange objects approximately one meter in length and one white-colored drum were spotted by a search team. However, the objects are otherwise unidentified and haven’t been linked to the missing plane.
- Police confirm they have interviewed more than 100 people.
- Prime Minister Najib Razak announces that based on Inmarsat satellite images and analysis, the plane’s last location was found to be in the southern Indian Ocean. Due to the remote nature, with no landing sites available, it is concluded that the flight ended in the ocean. No passengers or crew are expected to be alive.
- Families were notified in person or by phone.
- In the words of Malaysia Airlines, “using SMS only as an additional means of ensuring fully that the nearly 1,000 family members heard the news from us and not from the media.” Fall out surrounded the airline’s decision to inform families by text message.
Tuesday, March 25
- Despite the prime minister’s announcement that the plane ended its journey in the Indian Ocean, no debris has been identified as being related to MH370.
- Airline announces plans to take families to recovery areas, if they so choose.
- Satellite images from French Airbus Defence and Space were given to Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency from March 23. MRSA was identified 122 potential objects on March 25. Airline notes that there’s no way to tell from images if the ‘potential objects’ are related to the missing plane.
- At the Malaysian embassy in China, about 100 Chinese family members of the missing marched and held banners and signs and chanted things like “liars.”
Thursday, March 27
- A Thai satellite has spotted 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean. The satellite spotted these objects 125 miles away from where a French satellite had spotted 122 objects floating in the ocean.
- Rough weather is still preventing search crews from actually finding objects in the area. It will be at least until Friday until crews will go out and try again.
Friday, March 28
- New calculations on the speed of the plan emerged, indicating the plane would have used fuel faster than originally thought. From these findings, the expected crash site was moved 700 miles north. Objects have been spotted in the area.
- Ten aircrafts that were scheduled to search the previously suspected crash area were re-directed to the new area.