Malaysia Airlines MH370: the missing aircraft, and what investigators will be looking for

 

The aircraft apparently lost over the South China Sea was a Boeing 777. This twin-jet entered service in 1995, and it has become one of the world’s most successful aircraft - as well as one of the safest.

The 777 is the long-haul mainstay of dozens of airlines, including British Airways, which operates more than 50 Boeing 777s from Heathrow and Gatwick. It was the first airline to suffer the loss of a 777 in an accident when flight BA38 from Beijing crashed short of the runway at Heathrow in 2008. All the passengers and crew survived. The cause of that accident was found to be ice crystals forming in the fuel supply to both engines. Modifications were made to aircraft worldwide.

The Malaysia Airlines jet in this incident was fitted with the same Rolls Royce Trent engines.

Until now, the only 777 accident in which there has been loss of life was last July, when an aircraft operated by the Korean airline, Asiana, crash-landed on arrival at San Francisco. Three passengers died.

Malaysia Airlines, like other large international carriers, has an excellent safety record. The airline’s last fatal accident was a small passenger aircraft that crashed on landing in 1995 with the loss of 34 lives.

 

Social media speculation about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been rife and often misleading. On Twitter, it was wrongly reported that the aircraft had landed safely at Nanning airport in southern China; that the jet had run out of fuel; and that it had been lost on the Malaysian mainland.

The loss of flight MH370 raises many questions. Investigators will study a wide range of possible causes of the aircraft apparently disappearing while in a normal cruise at 35,000 feet with no distress messages sent.

Possible failure of both engines will be looked at, but in such circumstances the crew would be expected to have sufficient power, and time, to broadcast emergency messages. The weather appears to have been good, but the chance that the crew lost control because of clear air turbulence will also be considered. At this stage, the possibility that the jet was deliberately downed cannot be ruled out - whether by a hi-jacker, a bomb or even pilot suicide.

The last event involving a large long-haul jet that shares some similar characteristics to the loss of MH370 was Air France flight 447 from Rio to Paris in 2009. An Airbus A330 crashed into the Atlantic with the loss of all 228 passengers and crew on board. It suffered a high-altitude stall after the flight crew reacted incorrectly to a loss of air-speed indication.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
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.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links