Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370: The leads, the let-downs and a long list of frustrations that goes on and on

 

The hunt for MH370 has captivated millions around the world. Every development has been pored over in the hope that the vital breakthrough to locate the missing jet has been uncovered.

In the past five weeks, the vast search area in the Indian Ocean has gradually narrowed and, if the latest lead - that the black box from the plane has been emitting 'pings' from around 2,000km off the west of Australia - proves correct, it could bring an end to the protracted and frustrating hunt.

If not, it will prove the latest of a long list of disappointments since the Malaysian Airlines flight went missing on 8 March.

Here are the most prominent moments in which hopes of solving the tragic aviation mystery were dashed:

March 8: Around 9am, more than an hour after Malaysia Airlines reported the Boeing 777 missing, rumors spread on the Internet that the plane had safely landed at an airport in southern China. These quickly turn out to be baseless. Later in the day, search planes spot two long oil slicks in the South China Sea, but tests later show the oil was not from an aircraft.

March 9: Vietnam says a search plane spots objects in the South China Sea suspected to be from the plane, but they turn out to be unrelated. Malaysia's air force chief says there were indications on military radar that the jet may have turned back from its flight path and crossed the Malay peninsula after its communications systems went off. Authorities intensify their search on the western side of the country and in the northern part of the Strait of Malacca.

March 10: Searchers spot a floating yellow object, spurring speculation it could be a life raft, but it is found to be moss-covered piece of sea trash.

March 11: News early on that two of the 239 passengers on board used stolen passports fueled speculation of terrorism. Malaysian police determined that two men who boarded the plane with stolen passports were Iranians seeking to illegally migrate to Europe and not terrorists.

March 12: A Chinese state agency releases images of three white objects floating in the sea close to the plane's last confirmed position in the South China Sea, but Vietnamese and Malaysian searchers find nothing at the spot. Three days later, Malaysia's prime minister says satellite data showed the plane could be anywhere on two huge arcs: a northern one stretching from Thailand up to southern Kazakhstan, and a southern one from the western tip of Indonesia's Java Island to the southern stretches of the Indian Ocean.

March 19: Australia's prime minister says satellite images show two large objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean. They were never found.

March 22: A search plane spots a floating wooden pallet that appeared to be surrounded by straps of different lengths and colors, but spotters were unable to photograph it. A New Zealand military aircraft tried to find the objects for closer inspection, but found only clumps of seaweed.

March 23: A French satellite detects 122 floating objects, but search planes were unable to locate them. A day later, Malaysia's prime minister says new analysis of the satellite data shows the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, somewhere west of the city of Perth.

March 27: A Thai satellite detects about 300 objects floating in the India Ocean. They were never verified to be from the plane.

 

March 28: The Australian agency coordinating the search shifts the search area about 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast after analysis of radar data suggested that the plane flew faster than thought and used up more fuel, thereby reducing the distance it traveled.

March 30: Malaysia's defense minister says investigations of a flight simulator in the pilot's home, including a check by the FBI, turned up “nothing sinister.”

April 10: An Australian aircraft picks up another possible underwater signal, but this is later found to be unrelated. The false lead came days after the Ocean Shield, an Australian ship, detected underwater “pings” on two days that were consistent with signals emitted from an aircraft's black boxes - the first major breakthrough in the search for Flight 370.

April 11: Australia's prime minister says authorities are now confident underwater signals are coming from the missing planes jet's flight data recorders in an area about 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) deep. He cautions that retrieving them from the ocean floor will be very challenging.

April 14: With no signals detected for six days amid speculation the black boxes' batteries have expired, the head of the joint search mission says an underwater submersible will be launched to scan the seafloor for remains of the plane.

Additional reporting from PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'