By Airchive Staff / Published March 9, 2014
Last updated Monday 3/10 @ 0045 EDT
UPDATE 0045EDT, Monday:
A press conference was recently held with another update. Here is what we know:
Malaysian’s Civil Aviation Department confirms that they have found no trace of the aircraft, and they cannot confirm that the oil slick is from the aircraft. Additionally, they have not detected any signals from the Boeing 777′s black box.
Officials also say that every angle is being looked at, and they are “not discounting the theory of terrorism” says the department. As far as a rumor that a Chinese group is taking responsibility, government officials have no comment.
Malaysian government officials have confirmed that five passengers did not board the missing flight. They also confirm that all unaccompanied baggage was removed from the aircraft before take off.
The airline will start flying the families of MH370 passengers to Kuala Lumpu soon.
The search continues. Stay tuned…
UPDATE 2100EDT, Sunday:
Unfortunately, there is no new news to report at this time.
The search continues for the jet via sea and once again air, as daylight has rose over the region a few hours ago. Going forward through the day, hopes are that several search ships can locate debris that is suspected to have come from the missing jet.
Vietnamese air search crews found the two items yesterday (Sunday local time in the area) as darkness fell, which prohibited the crews from being able to positively ID the suspicious objects. Officials in the country have said they believe it was an aircraft door. Vessels were dispatched to the area, located 50 some miles off a Vietnamese island. It is unclear whether or not they have reached the area.
UPDATE 1830EDT, Sunday:
As we approach two and one half days since Malaysian Airlines System 370 went missing somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, little is still known.
Vietnamese authorities are still claiming that they spotted two items of interest in the ocean. The two objects could not be confirmed to be from the aircraft, though reports suggested it to be a door and a section of tail. Rescue ships are en route to the last known position, roughly fifty miles south-southwest of Tho Chu Island, Vietnam, after search planes had to turn back after sunset.
The Chinese, meanwhile, who had earlier claimed to have discovered a debris field, have gone silent on the matter ever since.
The search effort thus continues, with forty ships and thirty-four aircraft from nine nations traversing multiple sections of sea in the region.
The stolen passport issue remains a focus of the ongoing investigation. Malaysian has only confirmed two people traveling aboard the flight on stolen passports, both Europeans. Reports are coming out that up to two more people had been traveling aboard MAS370 with stolen passports. The issue remains unconfirmed, however.
What has been confirmed is that the airline and immigration officials failed to check the passports against an Interpol security database. Questions had arisen about how the passengers could’ve boarded with fake documents. Had that been done, the passports would’ve been flagged and the passengers in questions may have been stopped from boarding.
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein reported that they have obtained CCTV images of the two in question. They declined to offer further information, citing the ongoing open investigation.
While the passport question remains under investigation, no nexus between the missing airplane and the issue has been determined.
Reports that the airplane may have tried to turn around still remain unconfirmed. A report that another airplane had contacted MAS370 well after ATC had lost contact has not been fully substantiated.
Meanwhile, families of the passengers aboard the flight grew frustrated. According to reports from CNN, a group of Chinese relatives signed a petition in Beijing that the airline tell the truth, and requested the Chinese government to step in to force more information. The airline had dispatched a care team to the Chinese capital Saturday night, and announced that family members would be transported to the site of the wreck as soon as it could be found.
UPDATE 1605EDT, Sunday:
Yesterday, we learned that at least two passengers were able to board MH 370 with stolen passports. The issue has prompted many questions, primarily how this could’ve happened. We reached out to attorney Adam Wasch with Wasch Law LLP for some insight:
“If we assume that the passengers on board with stolen passports had something to do with the Malaysia Airlines MH370 incident, which is unconfirmed at this point, then it could be argued that the airline and Malaysian authorities were ‘negligent’ in allowing those persons on board,” says attorney Adam Wasch with Wasch Law LLP.
“This type of argument passed muster in U.S. federal court in the 9/11 civil action against American Airlines for allowing terrorists with boxcutters on board before the case settled. However, in this case, a claim against the airline would be governed by the Montreal Convention because this was an international flight between two signatory countries. The convention asks only whether there was an ‘accident’ on board as that term has been defined by international and U.S. courts, and the answer to that question here is probably ‘yes.’”
UPDATE 1045EDT Sunday:
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, a Vietnamese Navy search plane found aircraft components that they believe may be an inner door and a piece of the vertical stabilizer (tail), according to a Wall St Journal report. The parts are suspected of being from the ill fated, missing MH370 777-200ER and were located about 50 miles south-southwest of Tho Chu Island, Vietnam off the coast of mainland Vietnam.
The objects were not picked up by the air crews, which were forced to turn back as darkness fell. Ships, which are not subject the restriction on daylight, are en route to the last known location. Some forty ships continued searching through the night. Roughly thirty aircraft will begin again in the morning.
The lack of a debris field has raised concern that the airplane “disintegrated in flight at around 35,000 feet” according to a source involved in the investigation. But not everyone is sold on that explanation: “Of couse if ADS-B (transponder) was switched off, which can be done by the flight computer, why didn’t ACRS send out a hundred messages if there was a catastrophic event?”, said aviation expert Steven Frischling of Flying With Fish.
Adding to the mystery is that the plane may have turned back. Rodzali Daud, the Royal Malaysian Air Force chief said in a press conference “What we have done is actually look into the recording on the radar that we have and we realized there is a possibility that the air aircraft did make a turn back.” Scott Hamilton, publisher of Leeham News has released an additional interesting list of possible scenarios that suggests that the plane may have deviated from the intended flight path and why.
According to Reuters, the possibility of foul play mounted as the Malaysian Transport Minister said authorities were checking the identities of two other passengers in addition to the the two men who were already know to be flying on stolen Austrian and Italian passports. “All four names are with me…We are looking at all possibilities. We cannot jump the gun. Our focus is now to find the plane”, said Malaysian Transport and Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein. He reiterated the news that the FBI had been called in to assist, after which authorities then retracted back to just two stolen passports.
Of course, the big question remains as to how the passengers carrying the stolen passports cleared airline check-in, immigration, customs, and boarding. The Malaysian government has access to biometric e-passport technology combining an RFID chip, digital photo, and fingerprint identification, and was the first country in the world to deploy it back in 1998. The technology was invented in Malaysia. It’s unclear why it wasn’t deployed here.
Still in a press conference, Malaysia’s Inspector-General and Police Chief Khalid Abu Baker indicated that though they continue to consider the possibility a terrorist act bought down the lane, they don’t necessarily consider it the most likely cause it went missing – yet.
In a new release from Malaysia Airlines said it is “fearing for the worst”, and had dispatched a “discovery management recovery specialist from Atlanta along with 94 caregivers consisting of well-trained staff and also Tzu Chi Foundation members to provide emotional support to the families. The airline will also be deploying another set of caregivers to Beijing later today.”
MAS issued its 8th press release at 2:43pm local time on Sunday when it said:
Family members of the MH370 passengers from Beijing who wish to travel will be flown in stages to Kuala Lumpur on the available flights. We are also communicating with the families from other nations to similarly arrange for their travel to Kuala Lumpur.
In the event flight MH370 is located, a Response Control Centre (RCC) in the area will be activated to support the needs of families.
Scott Hamilton, publisher of Leeham News has released an additional interesting list of possible scenarios that suggests that the plane may have deviated from the intended flight path and why.
We will continue with updates here as they happen and on our social media outlets.
UPDATE 0430EDT Sunday:
Another press conference was held, and MAS has confirmed that two passports did not belong to two of the passengers on MH370.
The stolen passports were linked to two tickets that were purchased at the same time, and the ticket numbers only differ by one number (one ends with 99 and the next ends with 00). @flyingwithfish reports that two passengers who used the stolen passports were flying: KUL-PEK-CPH and KUL-PEK-FRA.
UPDATE 0245EDT Sunday:
China’s XH News is reporting that Chinese rescue forces have reached the suspected site of the missing aircraft.
UPDATE 0050EST Sunday:
Officials are investigating the identities of four passengers that were believed to have been on MH370, and the FBI will send specialists to Kuala Lumpur to assist with the investigation.
It is believed that at least two passengers were travelling on stolen passports.
Military radar indicates that the missing Boeing 777 jet turned back before vanishing, Malaysia’s air force chief said Sunday.
22 aircraft and 40 ships are part of the search and rescue team.
MAS says there are no plans to ground the 777 fleet.
The next press conference is scheduled for 3 AM EST/ 12 AM PST.
UPDATE 2020EST Saturday:
A Malaysian official says that search crews seated all night. There has been no trace of the aircraft, and the search area is being expanded.
Another press conference is expected in two two hours.
UPDATE 1915EST Saturday:
According to the LA Times, the FBI is deploying agents and technical experts to assist in the investigation of MAS 370. The agency will join the investigation as four Americans were on board the flight.
U.S. officials said they are working to determine if this was an act of terrorism, but have said n no evidence thus far that leads them to believe this.
UPDATE 1815EST Saturday:
As of 1815EST, there have been no major updates to the search and rescue mission of MAS 370. Approximately 24 hours after contact was lost with the airplane, MAS issued a press release, highlights from which are found below:
Sepang, 9 March 2014: Malaysia Airlines humbly asks all Malaysians and people around the world to pray for flight MH370.
Immediate families of passengers are advised to gather at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Travel arrangements and expenses will be borne by Malaysia Airlines. Once, the whereabouts of the aircraft is determined, Malaysia Airlines will fly members of the family to the location.
Our sole priority now is to provide all assistance to the families of the passengers and our staff. We are also working closely with the concerned authorities in the search and rescue operation.
We expect more details at the next press conference which is scheduled for 9AM local time Sunday morning.
UPDATE 1600EST Saturday:
The Gulf of Thailand averages approximately 150 feet deep (45 meters), with the deepest point at approximately 250 feet (80 meters). It appears the search for MAS 370 should be easier than searching for Air France 447. (Hat tip Robert Mann)
UPDATE 1335EST Saturday:
Moments ago, another press conference was held by MAS. The carrier has confirmed that authorities are still searching for the aircraft by sea, though air searching will not resume until Sunday morning.
However, the airline has not confirmed that the oil slick is from the missing flight. It is not confirming or denying reports about possible fake passports.
UPDATE 1200EST Saturday:
So far, there has been no confirmation that the aircraft has been found. We have confirmed reports that Vietnamese search aircraft have found two narrowly-spaced oil slicks in the South China Sea, but officials have not confirmed if the oil slick belongs to MAS 370 . Boats have been dispatched to the area where the oil slick was found to investigate.
Business Insider has obtained photos of an areal view of the oil slick.
One Austrian and one Italian were reported to have been aboard the missing plane, but foreign ministry officials say they were not on-board the aircraft.
Officials in Vienna say the man is safe at home and his passport was stolen. “Our embassy got the information that there was an Austrian on board. That was the passenger list from Malaysia Airlines. Our system came back with a note that this is a stolen passport,” the ministry official said. The passport was reported stolen two years ago while the person was traveling in Thailand, according to the spokesperson.
U.S. officials told NBC News, “We are aware of the reporting on the two stolen passports,” one senior official said. “We have not determined a nexus to terrorism yet, although it’s still very early, and that’s by no means definitive.”
We will bring you the latest as soon as we learn more.
UPDATE: 1125EST Saturday:
Video (h/t to Sylvain Faust @sylvainfaust) of the last 9 minutes of flight before MAS 370 vanished.
UPDATE: 0945EST Saturday:
Vietnamese search aircraft have found two narrowly-spaced oil slicks in the South China Sea. However, they have not verified if it belongs to MAS 370. The air search has been called off for the night, and will resume tomorrow morning. However, the sea search will continue through the night.
UPDATE: 0805EST Saturday:
Over night, Malayasia Airlines (MAS) has issued new press release with a full passenger manifest which can be viewed here.
The families of all passengers on board MH370 are being informed. The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants) and 12 crew members.
An international search and rescue mission was mobilized this morning. At this stage, our search and rescue teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam have failed to find evidence of any wreckage.
The sea mission will continue while the air mission will recommence at daylight.
MAS has dispatched a care and comfort team to Beijing to assist families of those presumed to be lost. Gathered in a room at Beijing Capital Airport, Chinese relatives of the missing passengers have angrily accused the airline of depriving them of information while Chinese state media criticized what they believe to be the carrier’s poor response.
There has been mounting speculation as to what might have caused the crash. Ideas include the usual suspect including a bomb, hijacking and/or deliberate destruction of the plane, accidental shoot down by military missile or some form of military missile or military attack on airplane, and pilot suicide as in EgyptAir flight 990. On the technical front, structural failure and dual engine flame out and loss of control are in play, though both are exceptionally unlikely. Leehman News further details these possibilities.
As a massive search and rescue scene unfolded, there were earlier reports from Vietnamese state media, quoting a senior naval official that parts of the plane had been located. Malaysia’s transport minister later denied any crash scene had been identified. The last known position of MH370 before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude).
“The search and rescue operations will continue as long as necessary,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Reuters reports The Malaysian government has pressed 15 air force aircraft, six navy ships and three coast guard vessels into service by Malaysia. Vietnam, the country closest to where MAS 370 is thought to went down, on Saturday dispatched two navy boats from Phu Quoc island along with two jets and one helicopter from Ho Chi Minh City to search for the missing airliner. It was readying a further seven planes and nine boats to join the search effort. The governments of China and the Philippines have dispatched ships to the area for the effort while the U.S., the Phillippines, and Singapore have dispatched military planes to aid in the search.
With well over twelve hours having passed since Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight 370 went missing, we feel confident stating that the airplane is missing and presumed crashed.
If you’re just joining this thread, MAS flight 370 went missing earlier today after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. It was last heard from just prior to 0300 MYT, as it passed 125 miles off the coast of Malaysia. Two-hundred and twenty-seven souls were aboard the airplane, representing fourteen nationalities.
MAS has denied earlier reports that the airplane safely touched down in China, and has disputed reports from the Vietnamese Navy that wreckage has been found in South China Sea. It has continued to maintain that it “is still unable to determine the whereabouts” of the flight.
A massive, multinational search operation has been underway since Vietnamese ATC noted that the airplane failed to check in. Air and naval forces from China, Malaysia, and Vietnam are involved in the effort.
Speculation is, predictably, running rampant as to what could’ve caused the Boeing 777-200ER to disappear. All we know for certain is that the weather was understood to be clear, and the pilots quite experienced. Even with this being the third hull loss of this model of aircraft, the 777 has one of the best safety records in the world.
The particular airplane, understood to be registered 9M-MRO, is powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines. It was delivered to the airline in 2002.
Stay tuned to Airchive here or on our twitter @airchive for developments as this story progresses. Be patient with updates and information in the overnight hours!
UPDATE MAR 8 0218EST:
Boeing has released a brief statement about the incident. They are assembling and dispatching a team to provide “technical assistance to investigating authorities.
UPDATE MAR 8 0145EST:
Malaysia Airlines reports the airplane has still not been located in a press conference. It added that it was aware of a report that the Vietnamese Navy had located the wreckage but would not confirm, stating that it was working with the Malaysian military to confirm the account with the Vietnamese. It has since denied reports that the airplane had possibly landed in China.
A vast search and rescue operation has since been under way. Three nations, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam have joined in the search. Both air and sea assets have been deployed, including ships, helicopters, and C-130 aircraft.
The company added that it would be holding press conferences every two hours.
UPDATE MAR 8 0012EST:
Malaysia Airline System declines to confirm or deny reports attributed to the Vietnamese Navy that MH370 has been located in the South China Sea.
UPDATE MAR 7 2335EST:
A joint rescue operation is underway with China, Malaysia, and Vietnam, according to the airline.
MAS confirmed the last point of contact with the airplane was 120 nautical miles off Kota Bharu over South China Sea. The airline said there was no bad weather in the area at the time of the disappearance.
So far, the carrier is reporting there was no distress call.
UPDATE MAR 7 2300EST:
Reuters has reported that earlier reports of a signal turning up from the airplane off the coast of Vietnam are false.
UPDATE MAR 7 2230EST:
The Malaysia Airlines press conference has come and gone, and, unfortunately, very little new information was revealed.
The carrier said in its most recent statement that it is investigating reports that the airplane has landed in Nanming, China. China has denied tracking the airplane, however.
The captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, joined the airline in 1981, and had logged 18,365 flying hours. The first officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, 27, joined in 2007 and had 2,763 hours logged. Both are Malaysian.
The passengers comprised 14 different nationalities, including 153 total Chinese (including one infant), 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, 7 Australians, 3 French, and 4 total Americans (including one infant), among others.
Full nationality breakdown available here.
UPDATE MAR 7 2216EST:
Malaysia Airlines press conference beginning now here (English).
UPDATE MAR 7 2200EST:
Here is a recap of what we know so far about the Malaysia Airlines MH370 incident:
- Malaysia 370, operating Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Beijing (PEK) was a Boeing 777-200ER.
- The aircraft was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, comprising 13 different nationalities.
- About two hours after takeoff from the Malaysian capital, the aircraft lost contact with air traffic controllers. Reports suggest that the aircraft was in Vietnamese-controlled airspace at the time.
- There is currently no sign of the aircraft, airborne or otherwise. However, Malaysia Airlines confirms the aircraft would have exhausted its fuel supply by this time.
UPDATE MAR 7 2140EST:
UPDATE MAR 7 2130EST:
Malaysia Airlines has launched a dedicated website to provide reports on the MH370 event.
FlightRadar24.com tracking data playback is now available for 9M-MRO, the aircraft operating MH370.
UPDATE MAR 7 2110EST:
Passengers of thirteen nationalities were onboard MH370, including
around 158 160 153 Chinese nationals, according to CCTV.
Again, there have been no confirmed sightings of the aircraft, airborne or otherwise. However, it is now four hours overdue into Beijing, and would no longer have fuel at this point.
UPDATE MAR 7 2100EST:
Malaysia Airlines Vice President of Operations Fuad Sharuji tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the company has “no idea” where Malaysia 370 may be.
UPDATE MAR 7 2049EST:
Malaysia Airline System CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya issues statement, offering “thoughts and prayers” for affected passengers and families. Malaysia also reports they are notifying next-of-kin. Statement is reprinted in its entirety below.
We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370 which departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning bound for Beijing. The aircraft was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30am local Beijing time. Subang Air Traffic Control reported that it lost contact at 2.40am (local Malaysia time) today.
Flight MH370 was operated on a Boeing B777-200 aircraft. The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members. The passengers were of 13 different nationalities. Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft. Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew.
Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members. The airline will provide regular updates on the situation.
There is still no updated information on the aircraft’s location or status.
UPDATE MAR 7 2028EST:
The People’s Republic of China reports that MH370 did not enter Chinese airspace or make contact with Chinese controllers.
According to FlightAware ADS-B data, the last recorded movement of the aircraft was a drastic heading change and a descent of 700 feet.
ORIGINAL STORY MAR 7 2017EST:
Breaking news out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Malaysia Airlines announced over Facebook that Subang air traffic control ‘lost contact’ with flight MH370 at 2:40am local time on March 8 (GMT +8 hours), slightly more than six hours ago. The Boeing 777-200ER, registered 9M-MRO, was operating Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Beijing (PEK), and was due to land a Beijing at 6:30am local time the same day. The aircraft was carrying 227 passengers and twelve crew members, for a total of 239 people onboard.
Overnight weather in Kampung Subang, Malaysia was reported as cloudy, but precipitation-free.
At this time, a crash is presumed. If correct, this would be only the third hull loss of a Boeing 777 aircraft, after the British Airways crash at London-Heathrow in 2009 and the Asiana crash in San Francisco last year.
In over forty years of operation, Malaysia aircraft had only been involved in two fatal accidents prior to today. In 1977, flight 653, a Boeing 737-200, was hijacked and crashed near the village of Tanjung Kupang, killing 100. In 1995, a Malaysia Fokker 50 crashed on approach to Tawau, Borneo, killing 34.
Once again, this is a breaking story. Airchive will update this article with more information as it becomes available.
Featured photo via russavia/Wikimedia Commons.
Airchive staff Chris Sloan in Miami, Taylor Michie in New York, Jack Harty in Houston, Vinay Bhaskara in Chicago, and Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren in Seattle are contributing to this report. Contact the editor at Jeremy.Lindgren@Airchive.com.