By Airchive Staff / Published March 7, 2014
Last updated Saturday 3/8 @ 1600 EST
UPDATE 1600EST Saturday:
The Gulf of Thailand averages approximately 150 feet deep (45 meters), and the deepest point is approximately 250 feet (80 meters). It appears the search for MAS 370 should be easier than searching for Air France 447.
UPDATE 1335EST Saturday:
Moments ago, another press conference was held. MAS has confirmed that authorities are still searching for the aircraft by sea, and air searching will resume Sunday morning.
However, the airline has not confirmed that the oil slick is from MAS 370, and the airline 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 he 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 it 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 the carrier’s poor response.
There has been mounting speculation as to what might have caused the caused the crash many of which seem unlikely: ranging from 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, pilot suicide as in EgyptAir flight 990. On the technical front: 777 structural failure possibly due to extreme clear air turbulence, and dual engine flame out and loss of control, this is what happened to the BA 777 back in 2009, however if this was the case the aircraft would have had still had time to glide in. 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 other 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 the 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 aircraft, the 777 has one of the best safety records in the world. This 777-200ER powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines, Tail Number 9M-MRO 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.