What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Good afternoon:

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 am, Saturday morning with 239 people on board (227 passengers and a crew of 12). The destination was Beijing, China where it was scheduled to arrive at 6:30 am.

It never reached Beijing and despite an impressive array of radio communication devices, radar, satellites GPS trackers, and a multi-national search and rescue operation no one knows where it is or what happened to it.

The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200 ER, which is one of the safest airplanes ever made and Malaysia Airlines has an excellent safety record.

The last communication with the plane occurred at 1:27 am when air traffic control at Subang, which is near Kuala Lumpur, lost contact with the transponder on the aircraft. The transponder continuously transmits a radio signal that identifies the flight, altitude and speed of the aircraft.

The aircraft was on its flight path over the South China Sea at 35,000 feet with no indication of any problems. Air traffic control Subang had just advised the pilot to switch to air traffic control Ho Chi Minh City. The pilot responded, “Roger that. Good night.”

The aircraft is a modern technological marvel with backup electrical and mechanical systems. For example, it has two transponders in case one fails and batteries to back-up batteries. It’s extremely unlikely that both transponders failed

CNN is reporting today,

A senior Malaysian air force official said Tuesday the flight was hundreds of miles off course and traveling in the opposite direction from its original destination. It was last tracked over over Pulau Perak, a tiny island in the Strait of Malacca at about 2:40 a.m., over an hour after air traffic controllers in Subang lost contact with the aircraft.
At the news briefing Wednesday, however, Gen. Rodzali Daud, head of the Malaysian Air Force, and other officials said it wasn’t yet clear whether the object that showed up on military radar flying over the sea northwest of the Malaysian coast early Saturday was the missing plane.

Adding to the puzzle, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the plane may have continued flying for four hours after its last reported contact. The newspaper attributed the information to two unidentified sources who were citing data automatically transmitted to the ground from the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce-manufactured engines. A senior aviation source with detailed knowledge of the matter told CNN’s Richard Quest on Thursday the Wall Street Journal account was incorrect.

Note: The CNN link has excellent maps.

CBS News reported 15 minutes ago that Malaysia has expanded the search westward into the Indian Ocean. In addition,

In the latest in a series of false leads in the hunt, search planes were sent Thursday to search an area off the southern tip of Vietnam where Chinese satellite images published on a Chinese government website reportedly showed three suspected floating objects.

They saw only ocean.

“There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,” said acting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Compounding the frustration, he later said the Chinese Embassy had notified the government that the images were released by mistake and did not show any debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Flight MH 370, Where are you?


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23 Responses to What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370?

  1. The Malay Mail dot common is reporting that an unnamed senior Pentagon official is saying the plane may have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

    “We have an indication the plane went down in the Indian Ocean,” a senior Pentagon official told ABC News.

    The official added there were indications that the plane flew four or five hours after disappearing from radar and that they believe it went into the water.

  2. CNN is reporting two new developments:

    And there’s another confusing twist. An emergency beacon that would have sent data if the plane was about to impact the ocean apparently did not go off, the official said. The beacons, known as Emergency Locator Transmitters, activate automatically upon immersion in fresh or salt water, but must remain on the surface for a distress signal to transmit.

    The failure of the beacon to activate could mean that the plane didn’t crash, that the transmitter malfunctioned, or that it’s underwater somewhere.


    An ABC News report added another twist to the mystery Thursday evening. Citing two unnamed U.S. officials, the network said two separate communications systems on the missing aircraft were shut down separately, 14 minutes apart.

    The officials told ABC they believe the plane’s data reporting system was shut down at 1:07 a.m. Saturday, while the transponder transmitting location and altitude was shut down at 1:21 a.m.

    “This is beginning to come together to say that …this had to have been some sort of deliberate act,” ABC aviation analyst John Nance told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

  3. The Guardian also has a good article summarizing where the search stands now.

  4. Here is the latest update by the Washington Post, Asia and Pacific region.

    Obama administration officials later said the new information was that the plane’s engines remained running for approximately four hours after it vanished from radar early Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

    One senior administration official said the data showing the plane engines running hours after contact was lost came from the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, a way that planes maintain contact with ground stations through radio or satellite signals. The official said Malaysian authorities shared the flight data with the administration.

    The article summarizes what is now known and includes the Wall Street Journal’s correction of its earlier story that the flight continued for four hours based on monitoring systems embedded in the two Rolls Royce engines. Instead, the conclusion is based on satellite data.

    Unfortunately, we still don’t know if that blip on Malaysian radar headed E/B across Malaysia toward the Straits of Malacca and beyond was MH 370.

    The article concludes,

    The U.S. officials said they did not know what direction the plane flew — or whether it simply circled — during the approximately four hours or whether it was airborne at all. But that stretch of additional flight time could have put the plane somewhere over the Indian Ocean, prompting U.S. officials to consider expanding the search into that area.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the investigation.

    There you have it.

    Back to square 1.

  5. Two sides to a story says:

    Fogen has a new interview on his divorce attorney’s website. Apparently they want to cash in on a famous name and Fogen is trying to clean his slate. http://www.myfloridalaw.com/georgezimmerman/

    • bettykath says:

      omg. We have been so wrong about poor George. He’s such a hero. [sarcasm]

    • racerrodig says:

      This clown has got to be kidding. Wait, just a few weeks ago he said he didn’t want all this publicity and stuff….just wanted to be a normal guy and all that.

      Sooooooo, he lied ??? I’m shocked!!!!!!!!!!

      About 3 minutes was all I could take.

  6. Two sides to a story says:

    Meanwhile, a Federal grand jury subpoenas some of Kendrick Johnson’s school mates. http://globalgrind.com/2014/03/13/kendrick-johnson-federal-grand-jury-subpoena-schoolmates-death-investigation-details/

  7. New Development: ABC News is reporting:

    U.S. officials have an “indication” the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner may have crashed in the Indian Ocean and is moving the USS Kidd to the area to begin searching.

    It’s not clear what the indication was, but senior administration officials told ABC News the missing Malaysian flight continued to “ping” a satellite on an hourly basis after it lost contact with radar. The Boeing 777 jetliners are equipped with what is called the Airplane Health Management system in which they ping a satellite every hour. The number of pings would indicate how long the plane stayed aloft.

    It’s not clear, however, whether the satellite pings also indicate the plane’s location.

    The USS Kidd has helicopters, but it will take it 24 hours to get into position.

  8. Okay, process of elimination. If cabin pressure was lost, like in Payne Stewart’s plane, the plane would not have taken a dramatic turn, and the transponder would not have gone off, right?

  9. The 777-200. This is a new one, that is starting up for the first time, and taking off from Paine Field in Everett, WA, to go to a nearby Boeing plant in Seattle, to be painted: (Turkmenistan Airlines)

  10. lyn says:

    This is probably crazy Fred, but is it possible the plane did not go down and has been landed somewhere?

    • Yes, it is possible, but it’s a huge plane that would be difficult to conceal and a lot of people to control.

      Also, groups who take hostages usually make demands and no one has claimed responsibility or made any demands.

  11. New information from Stuff in New Zealand about where the US is searching:

    “It’s my understanding that based on some new information that’s not necessarily conclusive – but new information – an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “And we are consulting with international partners about the appropriate assets to deploy.”

    It’s beyond Indonesia in the Indian Ocean.

  12. A logical place to attempt to solve this mystery is to ask why the transponder stopped transmitting?

    A catastrophic explosion might be the answer, but the absence of visible debris in the ocean casts doubt on that explanation.

    Another possibility is hijacking or suicide because the transponder can be turned off manually. If the blip on the air force radar was Flight 370, someone diverted the flight for some as yet unknown purpose.

  13. voiceofReason says:

    I’m thinking the recent mass subway attack in china by knife wielding maniacs could be connected to this plane. The chinese seem to be looking out when they should look within

    • I think Uighur separatists were responsible for that attack and I don’t believe any Uighurs or people with connections to them were on board.

      Terrorism seems unlikely at this point since no group has claimed responsibility and Malaysia Airlines is an unlikely target.

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