Search for MH370 officially ends

Malaysian Boeing 777 9M-MRO (Image: Laurent Errera CC)

The search to find the missing Malaysian airlines flight MH370 has officially ended today, nearly 3 years after the aircraft disappeared.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 left Kaula Lumpur at 00:42 Malaysian time (MYT) bound for Beijing, China. The aircraft, 9M-MRO was a state of the art Boeing 777-200ER. The flight itself was operating normally until 01:07 MYT when all communication was lost from the aircraft.

The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) sent its final position message at 01:07 MYT and the last voice communication came a few minutes later when the Captain signed off from Lumpur control with the words “Goodnight, Malaysian Three Seven Zero” at 01:19 MYT.

MH370 ATC and air routes map - Andrew Heneen [Attribution or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MH370 ATC and air routes map – Andrew Heneen [Attribution or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Little else is know about what happened to the flight after that point but the crew did not contact their next ATC sector, Ho-Chi Minh in Vietnam. Military radar tracked the aircraft way off outs expected course having turned almost 180 degrees back towards Kaula Lumpur leading many to believe there was a problem with the aircraft, however it continued to fly over Malaysia and without any communication being established.

Just Theories

The most common theory is that an electrical fire on board the aircraft severed air to ground communications and incapacitated the crew. Other theories have ranged from terrorism to pilot suicide. It is likely that without the blackbox’s the cause will never be established.

In March 2014 families of the 239 people on board MH370 were told that the last known location of the flight was in a remote area over the Indian Ocean, far from any possible landing sites.

The indian ocean search area was established off of the coast of Perth Australia, and over the next 2 years an area of seabed equating to 46,000 sq miles was searched to no avail.

Pieces of the aircraft however washed up on Reunion Island a year after the disappearance with further pieces including a flaperon washing up on beaches on Mauritius and eastern Africa. The items were confirmed to be parts of MH370 shortly afterwards. Debris with scorch marks on it was also found on Madagascar but as yet, have not been confirmed as being parts of MH370.

With the search being officially called off it is now unlikely that the remains of 9M-MRO and her passengers & crew will ever be found and it will go down in history as aviations biggest mystery.

In a double whammy to Malaysian Airlines, just 4 months later another Malaysian Boeing 777 was shot down by Pro-Russian rebels over Ukraine killing all on board.

Goodnight, Malaysian Three Seven Zero.

 

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