MH370: Proposed Wikipedia Replacement Article

Please Note: Text in black font from the original Wikipedia article on MH370 and remains unchanged. Text in green is proposed text. Since this is entirely Wikipedia content, all decisions as to changes must be made by Wiki editors. That is, it is not within my purview. I propose changes that reflect the realities of the search for MH370, which was filmed with Sonar in June 2017, and again in May 2021. Australia, Malaysia, and a large portion of the flying public now knows where this plane is located. It’s up to Australia voters to decide if they appreciate being lied to for years by their own government. It is all fairly unprecedented in my experience.

In many instances, text with UK spellings are now in US English. It is not a statement or preference. It is simply that I do not have the dictionaries for UK English on my equipment.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370/MAS370)[a] was an international passenger flight operated by Malaysia Airlines that disappeared on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia to its planned destination, Beijing Capital International Airport.[1] The crew of the Boeing 777-200ER registered as 9M-MRO, last communicated with air traffic control (ATC) around 38 minutes after takeoff when the flight was over the South China Sea. The aircraft was lost from ATC radar screens minutes later, but was tracked by military radar for another hour, deviating westwards from its planned flight path, crossing the Malay Peninsula and Andaman Sea. It left radar range 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) northwest of Penang Island in northwestern Peninsular Malaysia.

With all 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard presumed dead, the disappearance of Flight 370 was the deadliest incident involving a Boeing 777 and the deadliest in Malaysia Airlines’ history until it was surpassed in both regards by Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down while flying over conflict-stricken Eastern Ukraine four months later on 17 July 2014. The combined loss caused significant financial problems for Malaysia Airlines, which was renationalized by the Malaysian government in August 2014.

The search for the missing airplane, which became the most expensive in aviation history, focused initially on the South China Sea and Andaman Sea, before analysis of the aircraft’s automated communications with an Inmarsat satellite indicated a possible crash site somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. The lack of official information in the days immediately after the disappearance prompted fierce criticism from the Chinese public, particularly from relatives of the passengers, as most people on board Flight 370 were of Chinese origin. Several pieces of marine debris confirmed to be from the aircraft washed ashore in the western Indian Ocean during 2015 and 2016. After a three-year search across 120,000 km2 (46,000 sq mi) of ocean failed to locate the aircraft, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre heading the operation suspended its activities in January 2017. A second search launched in January 2018 by private contractor Ocean Infinity also ended without success after six months.

Relying mostly on analysis of data from the Inmarsat satellite with which the aircraft last communicated, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) proposed initially that a hypoxia event was the most likely cause given the available evidence, although no consensus has been reached concerning this theory among investigators. At various stages of the investigation, possible hijacking scenarios were considered, including crew involvement, and suspicion of the airplane’s cargo manifest; many disappearance theories regarding the flight have also been reported by the media. The Malaysian Ministry of Transport’s final report from July 2018 was inconclusive, but highlighted Malaysian ATC’s failures to attempt to communicate with the aircraft shortly after its disappearance. In the absence of a definitive cause of disappearance, air transport industry safety recommendations and regulations citing Flight 370 have been intended mostly to prevent a repetition of the circumstances associated with the loss. These include increased battery life on underwater locator beacons, lengthening of recording times on flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders, and new standards for aircraft position reporting over the open ocean.


Main article: Timeline of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

This section includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this section by introducing more precise citations. (February 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Map showing the scheduled destination of the flight and the wider surrounding region

The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER operated by Malaysia Airlines, last made voice contact with ATC at 01:19 MYT, 8 March (17:19 UTC, 7 March) when it was over the South China Sea, less than an hour after takeoff. It disappeared from ATC radar screens at 01:22 MYT, but was still tracked on military radar as it turned sharply away from its original northeastern course to head west and cross the Malay Peninsula, continuing that course until leaving the range of the military radar at 02:22 while over the Andaman Sea, 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) northwest of Penang Island in northwestern Malaysia.

The multinational search effort for the aircraft, which was to become the most expensive aviation search in history,[2][3][4] began in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea,[5] where the aircraft’s signal was last detected on secondary surveillance radar, and was soon extended to the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea. Analysis of satellite communications between the aircraft and Inmarsat’s satellite communications network concluded that the flight continued until at least 08:19 and flew south into the southern Indian Ocean, although the precise location cannot be determined. Australia assumed charge of the search on 17 March, when the search effort began to emphasize the southern Indian Ocean. On 24 March, the Malaysian government noted that the final location determined by the satellite communication was far from any possible landing sites, and concluded, “Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”[6] From October 2014 to January 2017, a comprehensive survey of 120,000 km2 (46,000 sq mi) of sea floor about 1,800 km (1,100 mi; 970 nmi) southwest of Perth, Western Australia, yielded no evidence of the aircraft. Several pieces of marine debris found on the coast of Africa and on Indian Ocean islands off the coast of Africa—the first discovered on 29 July 2015 on Réunion—have all been confirmed as pieces of Flight 370.[7][8][9][10] The bulk of the aircraft has not been located, prompting many theories about its disappearance.

On 22 January 2018, a search by private US marine exploration company Ocean Infinity began in the search zone around 35.6°S 92.8°E, the most likely crash site according to the drift study published in 2017.[11][12][13] In a previous search attempt, Malaysia had established a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the incident, working with foreign aviation authorities and experts. Malaysia released a final report concerning Flight 370 in October 2017.[citation needed] Neither the crew nor the aircraft’s communication systems relayed a distress signal, indications of bad weather, or technical problems before the aircraft vanished. Two passengers travelling on stolen passports were investigated, but eliminated as suspects. Malaysian police identified the captain as the prime suspect if human intervention was the cause of the disappearance, after clearing all others on the flight of suspicion over possible motives. Power was lost to the aircraft’s satellite data unit (SDU) at some point between 01:07 and 02:03; the SDU logged onto Inmarsat’s satellite communication network at 02:25, which was three minutes after the aircraft had left the range of radar. Based on analysis of the satellite communications, the aircraft was postulated to have turned south after passing north of Sumatra and the flight continued for six hours with little deviation in its track, ending when its fuel was exhausted.[citation needed]

With the loss of all 239 aboard, Flight 370 is the second-deadliest incident involving a Boeing 777 and the second-deadliest incident of Malaysia Airlines’ history, second to Flight 17 in both categories. Malaysia Airlines was struggling financially, a problem that was exacerbated by a decrease of ticket sales after the disappearance of Flight 370 and the downing of Flight 17; the airline was renationalized by the end of 2014. The Malaysian government received significant criticism, especially from China, for failing to disclose information promptly during the early weeks of the search. Flight 370’s disappearance brought to public attention the limits of aircraft tracking and flight recorders, including the limited battery life of underwater locator beacons (an issue that had been raised about four years earlier following the loss of Air France Flight 447, but had never been resolved). In response to Flight 370’s disappearance, the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted new standards for aircraft position reporting over open ocean, extended recording time for cockpit voice recorders, and, starting from 2020, new aircraft designs will be required[needs update] to have a means of recovering the flight recorders, or the information they contain, before they sink into the water.[14]


Interior photographs of 9M-MRO (April 2004)


Economy Class Seats

Business Class Seats

Flight 370 was operated with a Boeing 777-2H6ER,[b] serial number 28420, registration 9M-MRO. It was the 404th Boeing 777 produced,[16] first flown on 14 May 2002, and was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on 31 May 2002. The aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines[16] and configured to carry 282 passengers in total capacity.[17] It had accumulated 53,471.6 hours and 7,526 cycles (takeoffs and landings) in service[18]: 22  and had not previously been involved in any major incidents,[19] though a minor incident while taxiing at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in August 2012 resulted in a broken wing tip.[20][21] Its last maintenance “A check” was carried out on 23 February 2014.[22] The aircraft was in compliance with all applicable Airworthiness Directives for the airframe and engines. A replenishment of the crew oxygen system was performed on 7 March 2014, a routine maintenance task; an examination of this procedure found nothing unusual.[18]: 27

The Boeing 777 was introduced in 1994 and has an excellent safety record.[23][24] Since its first commercial flight in June 1995, the type has suffered only six other hull losses: British Airways Flight 38 in 2008; a cockpit fire in a parked EgyptAir Flight 667 at Cairo International Airport in 2011;[25][26] the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in 2013, in which three people died; Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over Ukraine killing all 298 people aboard in July 2014;[27][28] Emirates Flight 521, which crashed and burned out while landing at Dubai International Airport in August 2016,[29] and in November 2017, the seventh Boeing 777 hull-loss occurred when a Singapore Airlines 777-200ER was written off after catching fire and burning out at Singapore Changi Airport.[30]

The aircraft was carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 14 different nations.[35] On the day of the disappearance, Malaysia Airlines released the names and nationalities of the passengers and crew, based on the flight manifest.[31] The passenger list was later modified to include two Iranian passengers travelling on stolen Austrian and Italian passports.


All 12 crew members—two pilots and 10 cabin staff—were Malaysian citizens.[31]

The pilot in command was 53-year-old Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah from Penang. He joined Malaysia Airlines as a cadet pilot in 1981 and, after training and receiving his commercial pilot’s license, he became a second officer with the airline in 1983. He was promoted to captain of Boeing 737-400 airliners in 1991, captain of Airbus A330-300 in 1996, and captain of Boeing 777-200 in 1998. He had been a type rating instructor and a type rating examiner since 2007. Zaharie had a total of 18,365 hours of flying experience.[18]: 13 [36][37]

The co-pilot was 27-year-old First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid. He joined Malaysia Airlines as a cadet pilot in 2007; after becoming a second officer of Boeing 737-400 airliners, he was promoted to first officer of the Boeing 737-400 in 2010 and then transitioned to the Airbus A330-300 in 2012. In November 2013, he began training as first officer of Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Flight 370 was his final training flight and he was scheduled to be examined on his next flight. Fariq had accumulated 2,763 hours of flying experience.[18]: 14 [38][39]


Of the 227 passengers, 153 were Chinese citizens,[35] including a group of 19 artists with six family members and four staff returning from a calligraphy exhibition of their work in Kuala Lumpur; 38 passengers were Malaysian. The remaining passengers were from 12 different countries.[31][40] Twenty passengers, 12 of whom were from Malaysia and eight from China, were employees of Freescale Semiconductor.[40][41][42]

Through a 2007 agreement with Malaysia Airlines, Tzu Chi (an international Buddhist organization) immediately sent specially trained teams to Beijing and Malaysia to give emotional assistance to passengers’ families.[43][44] The airline also sent its own team of caregivers and volunteers[45] and agreed to bear the expense of bringing family members of the passengers to Kuala Lumpur and providing them with accommodation, medical care, and counselling.[46] Altogether, 115 family members of the Chinese passengers flew to Kuala Lumpur.[47] Some other family members chose to remain in China, fearing they would feel too isolated in Malaysia.[48]

Flight and disappearance

Map of southeast Asia that shows the southern tip of Vietnam in the upper right (northeast), Malay Peninsula (southern part of Thailand, part of Malaysia, and Singapore), upper part of Sumatra island, most of the Gulf of Thailand, southwestern part of the South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, and part of the Andaman Sea. The flight path of Flight 370 is shown in red, going from KLIA (lower centre) on a straight path northeast, then (in the upper right side) turning to the right before making a sharp turn left and flies in a path that resembles a wide “V” shape (about a 120–130° angle) and ends in the upper left side. Labels note where the last ACARS message was sent just before Flight 370 crossed from Malaysia into the South China Sea, last detection was made by secondary radar before the aircraft turned right, and where final detection by military radar was made at the point where the path ends.

Known flight path taken by Flight 370 (red), derived from primary (military) and secondary (ATC) radar data

Flight 370 was a scheduled flight in the early morning of 8 March 2014 from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China. It was one of two daily flights operated by Malaysia Airlines from its hub at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Beijing Capital International Airport—scheduled to depart at 00:35 local time (MYT; UTC+08:00) and arrive at 06:30 local time (CST; UTC+08:00).[49][50] On board were two pilots, 10 cabin crew, 227 passengers, and 14,296 kg (31,517 lb) of cargo.[18]: 1, 12, 30

The planned flight duration was 5 hours and 34 minutes, which would consume an estimated 37,200 kg (82,000 lb) of jet fuel. The aircraft carried 49,100 kilograms (108,200 lb) of fuel, including reserves, allowing an endurance of 7 hours and 31 minutes. The extra fuel was enough to divert to alternate airports—Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport—which would require 4,800 kg (10,600 lb) or 10,700 kg (23,600 lb), respectively, to reach from Beijing.[18]: 1, 30


At 00:42 MYT, Flight 370 took off from runway 32R,[18]: 1  and was cleared by air traffic control (ATC) to climb to flight level 180[e]—approximately 18,000 feet (5,500 m)—on a direct path to navigational waypoint IGARI (located at 6°56′12″N 103°35′6″E). Voice analysis has determined that the first officer communicated with ATC while the flight was on the ground and that the Captain communicated with ATC after departure.[18]: 21  Shortly after departure, the flight was transferred from the airport’s ATC to “Lumpur Radar” air traffic control on frequency 132.6 MHz. ATC over peninsular Malaysia and adjacent waters is provided by the Kuala Lumpur Area Control Centre (ACC); Lumpur Radar is the name of the frequency used for en route air traffic.[51] At 00:46, Lumpur Radar cleared Flight 370 to flight level 350[e]—approximately 35,000 ft (10,700 m). At 01:01, Flight 370’s crew reported to Lumpur Radar that they had reached flight level 350, which they confirmed again at 01:08.[18]: 1–2 [52]

Communication lost

External video

video icon ATC conversations with Flight 370 Audio recordings of conversations between ATC and Flight 370 from pre-departure to final contact (00:25–01:19).

The aircraft’s final transmission was an automated position report, sent using the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) protocol at 01:06 MYT.[53]: 2 [54][55]: 36  Among the data provided in this message was the total fuel remaining: 43,800 kg (96,600 lb).[56]: 9  The last verbal signal to air traffic control occurred at 01:19:30, when Captain Zaharie acknowledged a transition from Lumpur Radar to Ho Chi Minh ACC:[f][18]: 2, 21 [52][57]

Lumpur Radar: “Malaysian three seven zero, contact Ho Chi Minh one two zero decimal nine. Good night.”

Flight 370: “Good night. Malaysian three seven zero.”

The crew was expected to signal air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh City as the aircraft passed into Vietnamese airspace, just north of the point where contact was lost.[58][59] The captain of another aircraft attempted to contact the crew of Flight 370 shortly after 01:30, using the International Air Distress (IAD) frequency, to relay Vietnamese air traffic control’s request for the crew to contact them; the captain said he was able to establish communication, but only heard “mumbling” and static.[60] Calls made to Flight 370’s cockpit at 02:39 and 07:13 were unanswered but acknowledged by the aircraft’s SDU.[53]: 18 [55]: 40


Brown background with white lines, dots, and labels depicting air routes, waypoints, and airports. Label in the top of the image reads: “Military radar plot from Pulau Perak to last plot at 02:22H.” Green specks form a trail from bottom centre to left centre that was Flight 370. As the caption explains, the path is in two parts, with a white circle around the blank area between them and appears to highlight a section where the aircraft was not tracked by radar. Label at left end of flight path reads: “Time-02:22H 295R 200nm from Butterworth AB”

Data from Malaysian military radar showing Flight 370 (green) crossing the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea to where it was last detected by radar. The left of the two segments of the flight track follows air route N571 between waypoints VAMPI and MEKAR; the white circle appears to highlight a section where the aircraft was not tracked by radar.

At 01:20:31 MYT, Flight 370 was observed on radar at the Kuala Lumpur ACC as it passed the navigational waypoint IGARI (6°56′12″N 103°35′6″E) in the Gulf of Thailand; five seconds later, the Mode-S symbol disappeared from radar screens.[18]: 2  At 01:21:13, Flight 370 disappeared from the radar screen at Kuala Lumpur ACC and was lost at about the same time on radar at Ho Chi Minh ACC, which reported that the aircraft was at the nearby waypoint BITOD.[18]: 2 [52] Air traffic control uses secondary radar, which relies on a signal emitted by a transponder on each aircraft; therefore, the ADS-B transponder was no longer functioning on Flight 370 after 01:21. The final transponder data indicated that the aircraft was flying at its assigned cruise altitude of flight level 350[e] and was travelling at 471 knots (872 km/h; 542 mph) true airspeed.[61] There were few clouds around this point, and no rain or lightning nearby.[18]: 33–36  Later analysis estimated that Flight 370 had 41,500 kg (91,500 lb) of fuel when it disappeared from secondary radar.[18]: 30

At the time that the transponder stopped functioning, military radar showed Flight 370 turning right, but then beginning a left turn to a southwesterly direction.[18]: 3  From 01:30:35 until 01:35, military radar showed Flight 370 at 35,700 ft (10,900 m)[g] on a 231° magnetic heading, with a ground speed of 496 knots (919 km/h; 571 mph). Flight 370 continued across the Malay Peninsula, fluctuating between 31,000 and 33,000 ft (9,400 and 10,100 m) in altitude.[18]: 3  A civilian primary radar at Sultan Ismail Petra Airport with a 60 nmi (110 km; 69 mi) range made four detections of an unidentified aircraft between 01:30:37 and 01:52:35; the tracks of the unidentified aircraft are “consistent with those of the military data”.[h][18]: 3–4  At 01:52, Flight 370 was detected passing just south of the island of Penang. From there, the aircraft flew across the Strait of Malacca, passing close to the waypoint VAMPI, and Pulau Perak at 02:03, after which it flew along air route N571 to waypoints MEKAR, NILAM, and possibly IGOGU.[53]: 3, 38  The last known radar detection, from a point near the limits of Malaysian military radar, was at 02:22, 10 nmi (19 km; 12 mi) after passing waypoint MEKAR[18]: 3, 7  (which is 237 nmi (439 km; 273 mi) from Penang) and 247.3 nmi (458.0 km; 284.6 mi) northwest of Penang airport at an altitude of 29,500 ft (9,000 m).[62][63]

Countries were reluctant to release information collected from military radar because of sensitivity about revealing their capabilities. Indonesia has an early-warning radar system, but its air traffic control radar did not register any aircraft with the transponder code used by Flight 370, despite the aircraft possibly having flown near, or over, the northern tip of Sumatra.[18]: 4 [52] Indonesian military radar tracked Flight 370 earlier when en route to waypoint IGARI before the transponder is thought to have been turned off, but did not provide information on whether it was detected afterwards.[18]: 4 [64] Thailand and Vietnam also detected Flight 370 on radar before the transponder stopped working. The radar position symbols for the transponder code used by Flight 370 vanished after the transponder is thought to have been turned off.[18]: 4–5  Vietnam’s deputy minister of transport Pham Quy Tieu stated that Vietnam had noticed MH370 turning back toward the west and that its operators had twice informed Malaysian authorities the same day on 8 March.[65] Thai military radar detected an aircraft that might have been Flight 370, but it is not known at what time the last radar contact was made, and the signal did not include identifying data.[66] Also, the flight was not detected by Australia’s conventional system[67] or its long-range JORN over-the-horizon radar system, which has an official range of 3,000 km (1,900 mi); the latter was not in operation on the night of the disappearance.[68]

Satellite communication resumes

At 02:25 MYT, the aircraft’s satellite communication system sent a “log-on request” message—the first message since the ACARS transmission at 01:07—which was relayed by satellite to a ground station, both operated by satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat. After logging on to the network, the satellite data unit aboard the aircraft responded to hourly status requests from Inmarsat and two ground-to-aircraft telephone calls, at 02:39 and 07:13, which were unanswered by the cockpit.[53]: 18 [55] The final status request and aircraft acknowledgement occurred at 08:10, about 1 hour and 40 minutes after it was scheduled to arrive in Beijing. The aircraft sent a log-on request at 08:19:29, which was followed, after a response from the ground station, by a “log-on acknowledgement” message at 08:19:37. The log-on acknowledgement is the last piece of data available from Flight 370. The aircraft did not respond to a status request from Inmarsat at 09:15.[53][55][69][70]

Response by air traffic control

Background is mostly water (blue), at the boundary of the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand with the extreme southern tip of Vietnam in the upper right and a part of the Malay Peninsula at the Malaysia-Thailand border in the bottom left corner. Numerous air routes and a few waypoints are displayed, with some labelled, and the flight path of Flight 370 is shown in bright red. The boundaries of flight information regions are shown. The flight path goes from the bottom, just left of center going north near air route R208, crossing from FIR Kuala Lumpur into FIR Singapore, but there is a note that air traffic control along R208 through FIR Singapore is provided by Kuala Lumpur ACC. A label notes where Flight 370 disappeared from primary radar just before turning slightly to the right at waypoint IGARI, which is along the boundary between FIR Singapore and FIR Ho Chi Minh, and the aircraft begins to follow route M765 towards waypoint BITOD. About halfway between IGARI and BITOD, Flight 370 makes sharp turn about 100° to the left, now heading northwest, and travels a short distance before making another left turn and heads southwest, crossing back over land near the Malaysia-Thailand border and flies close to air route B219.

Flight Information Regions in the vicinity of where Flight 370 disappeared from secondary radar. Kuala Lumpur ACC provides ATC services for two routes, located within FIR Singapore, between Malaysia and Vietnam. (Air routes are depicted as roughly 5 nmi / 8–10 km wide, but vary in width, with some as wide as 20 nmi / 35–40 km.)

At 01:38 MYT, Ho Chi Minh Area Control Centre (ACC) contacted Kuala Lumpur Area Control Centre to query the whereabouts of Flight 370 and informed Kuala Lumpur that ACC had not established verbal communication with Flight 370, which was last detected by radar at waypoint BITOD. The two centres exchanged four more calls during the next 20 minutes with no new information.[52][71]

At 02:03, Kuala Lumpur ACC relayed to Ho Chi Minh ACC information received from Malaysia Airlines’ operations centre that Flight 370 was in Cambodian airspace. Ho Chi Minh ACC contacted Kuala Lumpur ACC twice in the following eight minutes asking for confirmation that Flight 370 was in Cambodian airspace.[52] At 02:15, the watch supervisor at Kuala Lumpur ACC queried Malaysia Airlines’ operations center, which said that it could exchange signals with Flight 370 and that Flight 370 was in Cambodian airspace.[71] Kuala Lumpur ACC contacted Ho Chi Minh ACC to ask whether the planned flight path for Flight 370 passed through Cambodian airspace. Ho Chi Minh ACC responded that Flight 370 was not supposed to enter Cambodian airspace and that they had already contacted Phnom Penh ACC (which controls Cambodian airspace), which had no communication with Flight 370.[52] Kuala Lumpur ACC contacted Malaysia Airlines’ operations centre at 02:34, inquiring about the communication status with Flight 370, and were informed that Flight 370 was in a normal condition based on a signal download and that it was located at 14°54′N 109°15′E.[71] Later, another Malaysia Airlines aircraft (Flight 386 bound for Shanghai) attempted, at the request of Ho Chi Minh ACC, to contact Flight 370 on the Lumpur Radar frequency – the frequency on which Flight 370 last made contact with Malaysian air traffic control – and on emergency frequencies. The attempt was unsuccessful.[52][72]

At 03:30, Malaysia Airlines’ operations centre informed Kuala Lumpur ACC that the locations it had provided earlier were “based on flight projection and not reliable for aircraft positioning.” Over the next hour, Kuala Lumpur ACC contacted Ho Chi Minh ACC asking whether they had signalled Chinese air traffic control. At 05:09, Singapore ACC was queried for information about Flight 370. At 05:20, an undisclosed official contacted Kuala Lumpur ACC requesting information about Flight 370; he opined that, based on known information, “MH370 never left Malaysian airspace.”[52]

The watch supervisor at Kuala Lumpur ACC activated the Kuala Lumpur Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) at 05:30, more than four hours after communication was lost with Flight 370.[71] The ARCC is a command post at an Area Control Centre that coordinates search-and-rescue activities when an aircraft is lost.

Presumed loss

Malaysia Airlines issued a media statement at 07:24 MYT, one hour after the scheduled arrival time of the flight at Beijing, stating that communication with the flight had been lost by Malaysian ATC at 02:40 and that the government had initiated search-and-rescue operations;[73] the time when contact was lost was later corrected to 01:21.[73] Neither the crew nor the aircraft’s communication systems relayed a distress signal, indications of bad weather, or technical problems before the aircraft vanished from radar screens.[74]

On 24 March, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak appeared before media at 22:00 local time to give a statement regarding Flight 370, during which he announced that he had been briefed by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch that it and Inmarsat (the satellite data provider) had concluded that the airliner’s last position before it disappeared was in the southern Indian Ocean. As there were no places there where it could have landed, the aircraft must therefore have crashed into the sea.[75]

Just before Najib spoke at 22:00 MYT, an emergency meeting was called in Beijing for relatives of Flight 370 passengers.[75] Malaysia Airlines announced that Flight 370 was assumed lost with no survivors. It notified most of the families in person or via telephone, and some received an SMS (in English and Chinese) informing them that it was likely that the aircraft had crashed with no survivors.[6][75][76][77]

On 29 January 2015, the Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, announced that the status of Flight 370 would be changed to an “accident”, in accordance with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and that all passengers and crew are presumed to have lost their lives.[78]

If the official assumption is confirmed, Flight 370 was at the time of its disappearance the deadliest aviation incident in the history of Malaysian Airlines, surpassing the 1977 hijacking and crash of Malaysian Airline System Flight 653 that killed all 100 passengers and crew aboard, and the deadliest involving a Boeing 777, surpassing Asiana Airlines Flight 214 (three fatalities).[79][80] In both of those categories, Flight 370 was surpassed 131 days later by Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, another Boeing 777-200ER, which was shot down on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 people aboard.[27]

Reported sightings

The news media reported several sightings of an aircraft fitting the description of the missing Boeing 777. For example, on 19 March 2014, CNN reported that witnesses including fishermen, an oil rig worker and people on the Kuda Huvadhoo atoll in the Maldives saw the missing airliner. A fisherman claimed to have seen an unusually low-flying aircraft off the coast of Kota Bharu; while an oil-rig worker 186 miles (299 km) southeast of Vung Tau claimed he saw a “burning object” in the sky that morning, a claim credible enough for the Vietnamese authorities to send a search-and-rescue mission; and Indonesian fishermen reported witnessing an aircraft crash near the Malacca Straits.[81] Three months later, The Daily Telegraph reported that a British woman sailing in the Indian Ocean claimed to have seen an aircraft afire.[82]


Main article: Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Crane lowering the Bluefin 21 into the water

ADV Ocean Shield deploys the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle, which conducted the seafloor sonar survey from 14 April to 28 May

A search-and-rescue effort was launched in southeast Asia soon after the disappearance of Flight 370. Following the initial analysis of communications between the aircraft and a satellite, the surface search was moved to the southern Indian Ocean one week after the aircraft’s disappearance. Between 18 March and 28 April, 19 vessels and 345 sorties by military aircraft searched over 4,600,000 km2 (1,800,000 sq mi).[83] The final phase of the search was a bathymetric survey and sonar search of the sea floor, about 1,800 kilometres (970 nmi; 1,100 mi) southwest of Perth, Western Australia.[84] With effect from 30 March 2014, the search was coordinated by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), an Australian government agency that was established specifically to manage the effort to locate and recover Flight 370, and which primarily involved the Malaysian, Chinese, and Australian governments.[85]

A P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft of the US Navy departs Perth Airport to search for Flight 370, 22 March 2014

On 17 January 2017, the official search for Flight 370—which had proved to be the most expensive search operation in aviation history[86][87]—was suspended after yielding no evidence of the aircraft other than some marine debris on the coast of Africa.[88][89][90][91] The final ATSB report, published on 3 October 2017, stated that the underwater search for the aircraft, as of 30 June 2017, had cost a total of US$155 million. The underwater search accounted for 86% of this amount, bathymetry 10%, and programme management 4%. Malaysia had supported 58% of the total cost, Australia 32%, and China 10%.[92] The report also concluded that the location where the aircraft went down had been narrowed to an area of 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) by using satellite images and debris drift analysis.[93][94]

In January 2018, the private American marine-exploration company Ocean Infinity resumed the search for MH370 in the narrowed 25,000 km2 area, using the Norwegian ship Seabed Constructor.[95][96][97][98] The search area was significantly extended during the course of the search, and by the end of May 2018, the vessel had searched a total area of more than 112,000 km2 (43,000 sq mi) using eight autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).[99][100] The contract with the Malaysian government ended soon afterward, and the search was concluded without success on 9 June 2018.[101]

Southeast Asia

Map of southeast Asia with flight path and planned flight path of Flight 370 in the foreground. The search areas are depicted in a transparent grey colour. Search areas include the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand near the location where Flight 370 disappeared from secondary radar, a rectangular area over the Malay Peninsula, and a region that covers roughly half of the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea.

The initial search area in Southeast Asia

The Kuala Lumpur Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) was activated at 05:30 MYT—four hours after communication was lost with the aircraft—to coordinate search and rescue efforts.[71] Search efforts began in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. On the second day of the search, Malaysian officials said that radar recordings indicated that Flight 370 may have turned around before vanishing from radar screens;[40] the search zone was expanded to include part of the Strait of Malacca.[102] On 12 March, the chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force announced that an unidentified aircraft—believed to be Flight 370—had travelled across the Malay peninsula and was last sighted on military radar 370 km (200 nmi; 230 mi) northwest of the island of Penang; search efforts were subsequently increased in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.[63]

Records of signals sent between the aircraft and a communications satellite over the Indian Ocean revealed that the plane had continued flying for almost six hours after its final sighting on Malaysian military radar. Initial analysis of these communications determined that Flight 370 was along one of two arcs—equidistant from the satellite—when its last signal was sent. On 15 March, the same day upon which the analysis was disclosed publicly, authorities announced that they would abandon search efforts in the South China Sea, Gulf of Thailand, and Strait of Malacca in order to focus their efforts on the two corridors. The northern arc—from northern Thailand to Kazakhstan—was soon discounted, for the aircraft would have had to pass through heavily militarized airspace, and those countries claimed that their military radar would have detected an unidentified aircraft entering their airspace.[103][104][105]

(Green = proposed wording)

Southern Indian Ocean

The initial multi-year search led by Australia and Malaysia was badly flawed. It is now known that the plane could not have flown as far south as the Southern Ocean. The radius of the plane’s final ping limits the flightpath to “no farther south than -22.2 S Latitude”. And that is precisely where the debris field is located. This section shows how the search was conducted before the plane was located in 2019 by Germany’s Geomar, 2,000 kilometers north of the areas shown here.

The bathymetric map of the southeastern Indian Ocean and western Australia, with the locations of search zones, sonobouy drops, and calculated flight paths. An inset in the upper left shows the path of the ADV Ocean Shield which towed a Towed Pinger Locator and where it detected acoustic signals; the same inset also shows the seafloor sonar search performed in April–May 2014.

The shifting search zones for Flight 370 in the Southern Indian Ocean. The inset shows the path taken by the vessel ADV Ocean Shield operating a towed pinger locator, acoustic detections, and the sonar search. The underwater phase (both the wide area search and priority area) is shown in pink.

The emphasis of the search was shifted to the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia and within Australia’s aeronautical and maritime Search and Rescue regions that extend to 75°E longitude.[106][107] Accordingly, on 17 March, Australia agreed to manage the search in the southern locus from Sumatra to the southern Indian Ocean.[108][109]

Initial search

From 18 to 27 March 2014, the search effort focused on a 305,000 km2 (118,000 sq mi) area about 2,600 km (1,400 nmi; 1,600 mi) southwest of Perth.[110] The search area, which Australian prime minister Tony Abbott called “as close to nowhere as it’s possible to be”, is renowned for its strong winds, inhospitable climate, hostile seas, and deep ocean floors.[111][112] Satellite imagery of the region was analysed;[113] several objects of interest and two possible debris fields were identified on images made between 16 and 26 March. None of these possible objects were found by aircraft or ships.[114]

Revised estimates of the radar track and the aircraft’s remaining fuel led to a move of the search 1,100 km (590 nmi; 680 mi) northeast of the previous area on 28 March,[115][116][117] which was followed by another shift on 4 April.[118][119] Between 2 and 17 April, an effort was made to detect the underwater locator beacons (ULBs, informally known as “pingers”) attached to the aircraft’s flight recorders, because the beacons’ batteries were expected to expire around 7 April.[120][121] Australian naval cutter ADV Ocean Shield, equipped with a towed pinger locator (TPL), joined China’s Haixun 01, equipped with a hand-held hydrophone, and the Royal Navy’s HMS Echo, equipped with a hull-mounted hydrophone, in the search.[53]: 11–12 [94]: 36 [120][122][123] Operators considered the effort to have little chance of success[124] given the vast search area and the fact that a TPL can only search up to 130 km2 (50 sq mi) per day.[124] Between 4 and 8 April, several acoustic detections were made that were close to the frequency and rhythm of the sound emitted by the flight recorders’ ULBs; analysis of the acoustic detections determined that, although unlikely, the detections could have come from a damaged ULB.[53]: 13  A sonar search of the seafloor near the detections was carried out between 14 April and 28 May but yielded no sign of Flight 370.[53]: 14  In a March 2015 report, it was revealed that the battery of the ULB attached to Flight 370’s flight data recorder may have expired in December 2012 and thus may not have been as capable of sending signals as would an unexpired battery.[125][126]

Underwater search

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (category)

In late June 2014, details of the next phase of the search were announced;[127] officials have called this phase the “underwater search” despite the previous seafloor sonar survey.[128] Continued refinement of the analysis of Flight 370’s satellite communications identified a “wide area search” along the “7th arc”[i] where Flight 370 was located when it last communicated with the satellite. The priority search area was in the southern extent of the wide area search.[129] Some of the equipment used for the underwater search is known to be most effective when towed 200 m (650 ft) above the seafloor at the end of a 9.7 km (6 mi) cable.[130] Available bathymetric data for this region was of poor resolution, thus necessitating a bathymetric survey of the search area before the underwater phase began.[131] Commencing in May, the survey charted around 208,000 km2 (80,000 sq mi) of seafloor until 17 December 2014, when it was suspended so that the ship conducting the survey could be mobilised in the underwater search.[132]

The governments of Malaysia, China, and Australia made a joint commitment to thoroughly search 120,000 km2 (46,000 sq mi) of seafloor.[133] This phase of the search, which began on 6 October 2014,[129] used three vessels equipped with towed deep-water vehicles that use side-scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounders, and video cameras to locate and identify aircraft debris.[134] A fourth vessel participated in the search between January and May 2015, using an AUV to search areas that could not be effectively searched using equipment on the other vessels.[135][136][137] Following the discovery of the flaperon on Réunion, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reviewed its drift calculations for debris from the aircraft and, according to the JACC, was satisfied that the search area was still the most likely crash site.[138] Reverse drift modelling of the debris, to determine its origin after 16 months, also supported the underwater search area, although this method is very imprecise over long periods.[138] On 17 January 2017, the three countries jointly announced the suspension of the search for Flight 370.[88][139]

2018 search

On 17 October 2017, Malaysia received proposals from three companies, including Dutch-based Fugro and American company Ocean Infinity, offering to continue the search for the aircraft.[140] In January 2018, Ocean Infinity announced that it was planning to resume the search in the narrowed 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) area. The search attempt was approved by the Malaysian government, provided that payment would be made only if the wreckage were found.[95][96] Ocean Infinity chartered the Norwegian ship Seabed Constructor to perform the search.[98]

In late January, it was reported that the AIS tracking system had detected the vessel reaching the search zone on 21 January. The vessel then started moving to 35.6°S 92.8°E, the most likely crash site according to the drift study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).[11] The planned search area of “site 1”, where the search began, was 33,012 km2 (12,746 sq mi), while the extended search area covered a further 48,500 km2 (18,700 sq mi).[97] In April, a report by Ocean Infinity revealed that “site 4”, farther northeast along the 7th arc,[i] had been added to the search plan.[144] By the end of May 2018, the vessel had searched a total area of over 112,000 km2 (43,000 sq mi), using eight AUVs;[99][100] all areas of “site 1” (including areas beyond that originally planned for “site 1”), “site 2”, and “site 3” had been searched.[145] The final phase of the search was conducted in “site 4” in May 2018,[145] “before the weather limits Ocean Infinity’s ability to continue working this year.”[146] Malaysia’s new transport minister Loke Siew Fook announced on 23 May 2018 that the search for MH370 would conclude at the end of the month.[147] Ocean Infinity confirmed on 31 May that its contract with the Malaysian government had ended,[148][149] and it was reported on 9 June 2018 that the Ocean Infinity search had come to an end.[101] Ocean-floor mapping data collected during the search have been donated to the Nippon Foundation–GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project, to be incorporated into the global map of the ocean floor.[150][151]

In March 2019, in the wake of the fifth anniversary of the disappearance, the Malaysian government stated that it was willing to look at any “credible leads or specific proposals” regarding a new search.[152] Ocean Infinity stated that it was ready to resume the search on the same no-fee, no-find basis, believing that it would benefit from the experience that it had gained from its search for the wreck of Argentinian submarine ARA San Juan and bulk carrier ship Stellar Daisy. Ocean Infinity believed that the most probable location was still somewhere along the 7th arc around the area identified previously and upon which its 2018 search was based.[153][needs update] In March 2022, Ocean Infinity committed to resuming its search in 2023 or 2024, pending approval by the Malaysian government.[154]

Marine debris

By October 2017, 20 pieces of debris believed to be from 9M-MRO had been recovered from beaches in the western Indian Ocean;[155] 18 of the items were “identified as being very likely or almost certain to originate from MH370”, while the other two were “assessed as probably from the accident aircraft.”[94]: 106  On 16 August 2017, the ATSB released two reports: the analysis of satellite imagery collected on 23 March 2014, two weeks after MH370 disappeared, classifying 12 objects in the ocean as “probably man-made”;[156] and a drift study of the recovered objects by the CSIRO, identifying the crash area “with unprecedented precision and certainty” at 35.6°S 92.8°E, northeast of the main 120,000 km2 (46,000 sq mi) underwater search zone.[157][158]


Boeing 777 flaperon

Location of flaperon discovery relative to Flight 370’s flight path and the main search area

Currents within the Indian Ocean

The first item of debris to be positively identified as originating from Flight 370 was the right flaperon (a trailing edge control surface).[159][160][161] It was discovered in late July 2015 on a beach in Saint-André, Réunion, an island in the western Indian Ocean, about 4,000 km (2,200 nmi; 2,500 mi) west of the underwater search area.[162] The item was transported from Réunion (an overseas department of France) to Toulouse, where it was examined by France’s civil aviation accident investigation agency, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA), and a French defence ministry laboratory.[162] Malaysia sent its own investigators to both Réunion and Toulouse.[162][163] On 3 September 2015, French officials announced that serial numbers found on internal components of the flaperon linked it “with certainty” to Flight 370.[164] These serial numbers were retrieved using a borescope.[165][166][167][168]

After the discovery, French police conducted a search of the waters around Réunion for additional debris,[162][169][170] and found a damaged suitcase that might be linked to Flight 370.[171][needs update] The location of the discovery was consistent with models of debris dispersal 16 months after an origin in the search area then in progress off the west coast of Australia.[138][162][172][173] A Chinese water bottle and an Indonesian cleaning product were also found in the same area.[174][175]

In August 2015, France carried out an aerial search for possible marine debris around the island, covering an area of 120 by 40 km (75 by 25 mi) along the east coast of Réunion.[170] Foot patrols were also planned to search for debris along the beaches.[176] Malaysia asked authorities in neighboring states to be on the alert for marine debris that might have come from an aircraft.[177] On 14 August, it was announced that no debris that could be traced to Flight 370 had been found at sea off Réunion, but that some items had been found on land.[178] Air and sea searches for debris ended on 17 August.[179]

Parts from the right stabilizer and right wing

In late February 2016, an object bearing a stenciled label of “NO STEP” was found off the coast of Mozambique; early photographic analysis suggested that it could have come from the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer or from the leading edges of the wings.[7] The part was found by Blaine Gibson[180] on a sandbank in the Bazaruto Archipelago off the coast of Vilanculos[181] in southern Mozambique, around 2,000 km (1,200 mi) southwest of where the flaperon had been found the previous July.[182][183] The fragment was sent to Australia, where experts identified it as almost certainly a horizontal stabilizer panel from MH370.[184][185]

In December 2015, Liam Lotter had found a grey piece of debris on a beach in southern Mozambique, but only after reading in March 2016 about Gibson’s find—some 300 km (190 mi) from his own—did his family alert authorities.[180] The piece was flown to Australia for analysis. It carried a stenciled code 676EB, which identified it as part of a Boeing 777 flap track fairing,[7][186] and the style of lettering matched that of stencils used by Malaysia Airlines, making it almost certain that the part came from 9M-MRO.[7][8][9][10][180][187]

The locations where the objects were found are consistent with the drift model performed by CSIRO,[8] further corroborating that the parts could have come from Flight 370.

Other debris

On 7 March 2016, more debris, possibly from the aircraft, was found on the island of Réunion. Ab Aziz Kaprawi, Malaysia’s deputy transport minister, said that “an unidentified grey item with a blue border” might be linked to Flight 370. Both Malaysian and Australian authorities, coordinating the search in the South Indian Ocean, sent teams to verify whether the debris was from the missing aircraft.[188][189]

On 21 March 2016, South African archaeologist Neels Kruger found a grey piece of debris on a beach near Mossel Bay, South Africa, that had an unmistakable partial logo of Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the missing aircraft’s engines.[190] The Malaysian ministry of transport acknowledged that the piece could be that of an engine cowling.[191] An additional piece of possible debris, suggested to have come from the interior of the aircraft, was found on the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius, in late March.[192] On 11 May 2016, Australian authorities determined that the two pieces of debris were “almost certainly” from Flight 370.[193]

Flap and further search

On 24 June 2016, Australian transport minister Darren Chester said that a piece of aircraft debris had been found on Pemba Island, off the coast of Tanzania.[194] It was handed over to the authorities so that experts from Malaysia could determine its origin.[195] On 20 July, the Australian government released photographs of the piece, which was believed to be an outboard flap from one of the aircraft’s wings.[196] Malaysia’s transport ministry confirmed on 15 September that the debris was indeed from the missing aircraft.[197]

On 21 November 2016, families of the victims announced that they would carry out a search for debris in December on the island of Madagascar.[198] On 30 November 2018, five pieces of debris recovered between December 2016 and August 2018 on the Malagasy coast, and believed by victims’ relatives to be from MH370, were handed to Malaysian transport minister Anthony Loke.[199]

Texas A&M University mathematics professor Goong Chen has argued that the plane may have entered the sea vertically; any other angle of entry would have splintered the airplane to many pieces, which would have necessarily been found already.[200][201]


Ambox current red Americas.svg

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2018)

International participation

Malaysia quickly assembled a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of specialists from Malaysia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France,[53]: 1 [202] which was led in accordance with ICAO standards by “an independent investigator in charge”.[203][204][205] The team consisted of an airworthiness group, an operations group, and a medical and human factors group. The airworthiness group were tasked with examining issues relating to maintenance records, structures, and systems of the aircraft; the operations group were to review the flight recorders, operations, and meteorology; and the medical and human factors group would investigate psychological, pathological, and survival factors.[206] Malaysia also announced, on 6 April 2014, that it had set up three ministerial committees: a Next of Kin Committee, a committee to organise the formation of the JIT, and a committee responsible for the Malaysian assets deployed in the search effort.[206] The criminal investigation was led by the Royal Malaysia Police,[78]: 9  assisted by Interpol and other relevant international law enforcement authorities.[207][208]

On 17 March, Australia took control of coordinating the search, rescue, and recovery operations. For the next six weeks, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and ATSB worked to determine the search area, correlating information with the JIT and other government and academic sources, while the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) coordinated the search efforts. Following the fourth phase of the search, the ATSB took responsibility for defining the search area. In May, a search strategy working group was established by the ATSB to determine the most likely position of the aircraft at the 00:19 UTC (08:19 MYT) satellite transmission. The working group included aircraft and satellite experts from: Air Accidents Investigation Branch (UK), Boeing (US), Defence Science and Technology Group[j] (Australia), Department of Civil Aviation (Malaysia), Inmarsat (UK), National Transportation Safety Board (US), and Thales (France).[53]: 1 [210][211]

As of October 2018, France was the only country that was continuing the investigation (by means of its Air Transport Gendarmerie), with the intention of verifying all of the technical data transmitted, particularly those provided by Inmarsat.[212][213]

Interim and final reports

On 8 March 2015, exactly one year after the disappearance of Flight 370, the Malaysian Ministry of Transport issued an interim report titled “Factual Information: Safety Information for MH370”, which focused on providing factual information about the missing airplane, rather than the analysis of possible causes of the disappearance.[214] A brief update statement was provided one year later, in March 2016, regarding the status of the investigation.[215]

The final ATSB report was published on 3 October 2017.[92] The final report from the Malaysian Ministry of Transport, dated 2 July 2018,[216] was released to the public in Kuala Lumpur on 30 July 2018.[217] This report did not provide any new information concerning the fate of MH370, but it did indicate errors made by Malaysian air traffic controllers in their limited efforts to communicate with the aircraft.[216][217] Following these accounts of air traffic control failings, the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, resigned on 31 July 2018.[218][219][220]

Analysis of satellite communication

Main article: Analysis of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 satellite communications

The communications between Flight 370 and the satellite communication network operated by Inmarsat, which were relayed by the Inmarsat-3 F1 satellite, provide the only significant clues to the location of Flight 370 after disappearing from Malaysian military radar at 02:22 MYT. These communications have also been used to infer possible in-flight events. The investigative team was challenged with reconstructing the flight path of Flight 370 from a limited set of transmissions with no explicit information about the aircraft’s location, heading, or speed.[53]: 16–17 [221]

Technical background

A depiction of a satellite in space.

A depiction of an Inmarsat-3 series satellite. Flight 370 was in contact with Inmarsat-3 F1 (also known as “IOR” for Indian Ocean Region).

Aeronautical satellite communication (SATCOM) systems are used to transmit messages sent from the aircraft cockpit, as well as automated data signals from onboard equipment, using the ACARS communications protocol. SATCOM may also be used for the transmission of FANS and ATN messages, and for providing voice, fax and data links[222] using other protocols.[221][223][224] The aircraft uses a satellite data unit (SDU) to send and receive signals over the satellite communications network; this operates independently from the other onboard systems that communicate via SATCOM, mostly using the ACARS protocol. Signals from the SDU are transmitted to a communications satellite, which amplifies the signal and changes its frequency before relaying it to a ground station, where the signal is processed and, if applicable, routed to its intended destination (e.g. Malaysia Airlines’ operations centre); signals are sent from the ground to the aircraft in reverse order.

When the SDU is first powered on, it attempts to connect with the Inmarsat network by transmitting a log-on request, which is acknowledged by the ground station.[53]: 17 [224] This is partly to determine whether the SDU belongs to an active service subscriber, and also to identify which satellite should be used for transmitting messages to the SDU.[224] After connecting, if no further contact has been received from the data terminal (the SDU) for one hour,[k] the ground station transmits a “log-on interrogation” message, commonly referred to as a “ping”;[53]: 18  if the terminal is active, it will respond to the ping automatically. The entire process of interrogating the terminal is referred to as a “handshake”.[69][225]

Communications from 02:25 to 08:19 MYT

Although the ACARS data link on Flight 370 stopped functioning between 01:07 and 02:03 MYT (most likely around the same time the plane lost contact by secondary radar),[55]: 36  the SDU remained operative.[53] After last contact by primary radar west of Malaysia, the following events were recorded in the log of Inmarsat’s ground station at Perth, Western Australia (all times are MYT/UTC+8):[53]: 18 [55][l]

02:25:27 – First handshake (“log-on request” initiated by aircraft)

02:39:52 – Ground to aircraft telephone call, acknowledged by SDU, unanswered

03:41:00 – Second handshake (initiated by ground station)

04:41:02 – Third handshake (initiated by ground station)

05:41:24 – Fourth handshake (initiated by ground station)

06:41:19 – Fifth handshake (initiated by ground station)

07:13:58 – Ground to aircraft telephone call, acknowledged by SDU, unanswered

08:10:58 – Sixth handshake (initiated by ground station)

08:19:29 – Seventh handshake (initiated by aircraft); widely reported as a “partial handshake'”, consisting of the following two transmissions:

08:19:29.416 – “log-on request” message transmitted by aircraft (seventh “partial” handshake)

08:19:37.443 – “log-on acknowledge” message transmitted by aircraft (last transmission received from Flight 370)

The aircraft did not respond to a ping at 09:15.[55]

(Green = proposed wording)

Inferences: The plane likely crashed on the seventh and final ping.

Analysis: None of the official published analysis conducted by Inmarsat or Australia’s ATSB and CSIRO were in any way useful. They all attempted to used the satellite ping sequence to support a mathematically insupportable notion that MH370 turned south somewhere north of Sumatra and west of the Malacca Strait, and then flew due south or nearly due south, crashing when out of fuel somewhere in the Southern Ocean. That is a mathematical and physical impossibility in that both entities continued to use the ping sequence between plane and satellite for several hours before it crashed. The remainder of the Wikipedia entry is inconsistent with the laws of physics; it is imaginary and cannot be supported mathematically by any technique known to anyone other than Inmarsat and Australia.

To be blunt, the original search for this plane was bungled from beginning to end. The plane’s fuselage was caught by sonar in June 2017. What it gave us is the specular reflection of the fuselage, the left wing, and the left engine. The right wing and engine were either torn from the plane when it hit the ocean surface, or it is folded under the rest of the fuselage in the image below.

This is not only a precise specular image from MH370 at -7,000 meters, the location is precisely where telemetry put the plane on its final ping.

Figure 1
Specular Reflection of MH370 debris at Zenith Abyss, 1200 kilometers west of Exmouth, AU. This reflection was captured by a Kongsberg EM-122 Multibeam Echosounder in June 2017 by Germany’s Geomar. Geomar subsequently tried to delete it, and did delete it from its own data files. However, Geomar had already given the entire dataset to Scripps of California, which used it in a Google Earth plugin known as SRTM15_V2.4. This rendition of the sonar was prepared by Geo-Marine Technology based in Missoula, MT. The work was performed gratis by a team that assisted in the early phase of the MH370 search aboard GO Phoenix. The plane is located at -22.18S, 102.36E, exactly as predicted by ordinary telemetry. The US Government also caught satellite images of the plane’s debris shortly after the crash and notified Australia. At no time did Australia check the seafloor at that location, for reasons known only to Australia.


(Blue = Suggestions)

The remainder of the original Wikipedia article on MH370 has been deleted. It may or may not be useful to try to preserve it. I leave that to others. Some of it is accurate; not controversial, but of questionable value given the finding that the search was fatally bungled by multiple “angels of mercy” efforts. Following is a list of entries that have been deleted

Possible in-flight events

Power interruption

Unresponsive crew or hypoxia

Speculated causes of disappearance

Main article: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappearance theories

Passenger involvement

Crew involvement



Criticism of Malaysian authorities’ management of information

Malaysia Airlines

See also: Malaysia Airlines – 2014 aircraft losses

Financial troubles

Compensation for passengers’ next of kin


Handwritten notes for the flight on display

Messages for MH370 at a bookshop in Malaysia

Before 2016

March 2020


Relatives of passengers


Air transport industry

Aircraft tracking

See also: Future Air Navigation System § Surveillance improvements


Flight recorders

Further information: Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 § Underwater locator beacons

Diagram of location of ship, thermocline, towed pinger locater at end of tow cable, and blackbox pinger.

Safety recommendations

In January 2015, the US National Transportation Safety Board cited Flight 370 and Air France Flight 447 when it issued eight safety recommendations[r] related to locating aircraft wreckage in remote or underwater locations; and repeated recommendations for a crash-protected cockpit image recorder and tamper-resistant flight recorders and transponders.[377][378]