MH370 debris: Timeline of missing Malaysian Airlines plane disappearance

MH370 is the only missing Boeing 777 in the world - if the debris is from this model of plane, it's possible that it came from MH370

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The Independent Online

It is almost a year and a half since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing. Here is a timeline of the main events over the last 17 months.

2014

  • March 8 - The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 takes off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am local time bound for Beijing, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew.The plane is last seen on military radar at 02.14am, heading west over the Strait of Malacca. Half an hour later the airline reveals to the public that it has lost contact with the plane. The plane was due to land at around 6.30am.
     
  • March 10 - Vietnamese aircraft search for a plane door spotted in their waters but find nothing. A day later the hunt is widened to cover a 115-nautical mile radius involving 34 aircraft and 40 ships from several countries.
     
  • March 13 - Malaysian authorities expand their search for the missing jet into the Andaman Sea and beyond after acknowledging it could have flown for several more hours after its last contact with the ground.

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  • March 15 - Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak says the missing airliner was deliberately diverted and continued flying for more than six hours after losing contact with the ground.
     
  • March 8 to April 24 - The search area covers the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the southern Indian Ocean.
     
  • April 24 - The search and rescue phase becomes a search and recovery phase, with it moving a few days later to an underwater phase using an autonomous underwater vehicle and a bathymetry survey covering an area around 430 miles (692km) long and 50 miles (80km) wide.
     
  • June 2014 - Australian authorities issue a preliminary report in which they theorise that MH370's crew became incapacitated, possibly due to oxygen starvation, with the plane continuing on autopilot.


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  • August 28 - Australia's deputy prime minister, Warren Truss, says the aircraft "might have turned south a little earlier than we have previously expected".
     
  • September 19 - After a four-month lull, it is announced that the underwater search, involving depths of up to 3.7 miles (6km), would resume at the end of September.
     
  • October 2014 - The new underwater search involves ships dragging sonar devices called towfish through the water about 330ft (100m) above the seabed to hunt for wreckage. The towfish are equipped with jet fuel sensors and can transmit data to those on board the vessels.

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2015

  • January - Senior Boeing 777 captain Simon Hardy suggests the missing aircraft's final resting place is in the Indian Ocean just outside the far south-western edge of the core search area.
     
  • January 28 - Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) officially declares the incident "an accident". The DCA says it had concluded the aircraft exhausted its fuel "over a defined area of the southern Indian Ocean". The DCA adds that efforts to find the plane will continue.
     
  • March 7 - Malaysia's transport minister, Liow Tiong Lai, says data will be re-examined and a new plan formulated if the plane is not found by the end of May.

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  • May 13 - A shipwreck is discovered in the search zone. The first detection of the wreckage on the ocean floor raised hopes it was MH370, but it was eventually revealed to be a ship.
     
  • 20 June - The GO Phoenix, one of the ships working on the search, returns to port in Singapore and is demobilised from the search. No other ship takes its place.

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  • 29 July - Suspected aeroplane wreckage washes up on Reunion, off the coast of Africa. Investigators start work to see if it comes from MH370.

PA

 

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