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Known flight path taken by Flight 370 (yellow), derived from primary and secondary radar data, with select
navigational waypoints and air routes.

External media

Transcript of ATC conversations with Flight 370 A transcript

of conversations between ATC and Flight 370 from predeparture to final contact (00:25 01:19 MYT).


ATC conversations with Flight 370 Audio recordings of

conversations between ATC and Flight 370 from pre-departure
to final contact (00:25 01:19 MYT).

Flight 370 was a scheduled red-eye flight in the early morning hours of 8 March 2014 from Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China. It was one of two daily flights operated by Malaysia Airlines from
their hub at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA; IATA code: KUL) to Beijing Capital
International Airport (IATA code: PEK)scheduled to depart at 00:35 local time (MYT; UTC+08:00)
and arrive at 06:30 local time (CST; UTC+08:00).[28][29]
At 00:41 MYT, Flight 370 took off from runway 32R.[30] Less than a minute after take off, Flight 370
was cleared by air traffic control (ATC) to climb to flight level 180[c]an altitude which corresponds to
18,000 feet (5,500 m) based on atmospheric pressureon a direct path to waypoint IGARI and
transferred from the airport's air traffic control to "Lumpur Radar" air traffic control
on frequency 132.6 MHz. Air traffic control over peninsular Malaysia and adjacent waters is provided
by the Kuala Lumpur Area Control Center(ACC); Lumpur Radar is the name of the frequency used
for en route air traffic.[31] Lumpur Radar cleared Flight 370 to flight level 350[c]35,000 ft (10,700 m)
based on atmospheric pressure. At 01:01, Flight 370's crew reported to Lumpur Radar that they had
reached flight level 350, which they confirmed again at 01:08.[30]

Communication lost[edit]
The aircraft's final automated position report and last message using the Aircraft Communications
Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) protocol was sent at 01:07 MYT;[13]:2[32][33]:36 among the
data provided in the message was total fuel remaining43,800 kg (96,600 lb).[34]:9 The final verbal
contact with air traffic control occurred at 01:19 MYT, when one of the aircraft's pilots acknowledged
a send-off by Lumpur Radar to Ho Chi Minh ACC:[d][30][35]
[Lumpur Radar] "Malaysian three seven zero, contact Ho Chi Minh one two zero decimal nine. Good
[Flight 370] "Good night. Malaysian three seven zero."
The crew was expected to contact air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh City as the aircraft passed into
Vietnamese airspace, just north of the point where contact was lost.[36][37] The captain of another
aircraft attempted to reach the crew of Flight 370 "just after [01:30]" using the international distress
frequency to relay Vietnamese air traffic control's request for the crew to contact them; the captain
said he was able to establish contact, but just heard "mumbling" and static.[38] Calls made to Flight
370's cockpit at 02:39 MYT and 07:13 MYT were unanswered but acknowledged by the aircraft's
satellite data unit.[13]:18[33]:40


Data from Malaysian military radar showing Flight 370 (green) crossing the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea to
where it was last seen by radar. The left of the two segments of the flight track follows air route N571 between
waypoints VAMPI & MEKAR; the white circle appears to highlight a section where the plane was not tracked by radar.

At 01:21:04, Flight 370 was observed on radar at the Kuala Lumpur ACC as it passed the
navigational waypoint IGARI in the Gulf of Thailand. At 01:21:13, Flight 370 disappeared from the
radar screen at Kuala Lumpur and was lost about the same time on radar at Ho Chi Minh ACC,
which claims the plane was at the nearby waypoint BITOD.[30] Air traffic control uses secondary
radar, which relies on a signal emitted by a transponder on aircraft; therefore, after 01:21 the
transponder on Flight 370 was no longer functioning. The final data from the transponder indicated
the plane was flying at its assigned cruise altitude of flight level 350[c] and was travelling at 471 knots
(872 km/h; 542 mph) true airspeed.[39]
The aircraft made a sharp turn westwards and headed towards a waypoint called VAMPI in the Strait
of Malacca.[40] Soon after the turn, military radar suggests the aircraft climbed to 45,000 ft
(14,000 m)above the aircraft's 43,100 ft (13,100 m) approved flight ceilingthen descended
unevenly to 23,000 ft (7,000 m) as it approached Penang Island.[3][41] A source close to the
investigation told media that the aircraft descended as low as 12,000 feet (3,700 m).[42] From there,
the aircraft flew across the Strait of Malacca to or close to the waypoint VAMPI, after which the plane
flew along air route N571 to waypoints MEKAR, NILAM, and possibly IGOGU.[13]:3, 38 The last known
location, from and near the limits of Malaysian military radar, was 200 nautical miles (370 km;
230 mi) northwest of Penang at an altitude of 29,500 ft (9,000 m).[3][43]
Because of the sensitive nature of revealing military radar capabilities, countries in the region where
Flight 370 disappeared have been reluctant to release information they may have collected from
military radar. The only nation besides Malaysia to claim tracking Flight 370 is Thailand.[44] Despite
possibly flying near or over the northern tip of Sumatra,[30] Indonesiawhich has an early warning

radar systemhas publicly denied sighting Flight 370 on radar.[44] No radar contact was detected by
Australia, including their JORN over-the-horizon radar system, which was believed to be looking
north to detect illegal migrants and not west over the Indian Ocean where Flight 370 is presumed to
have flown based on satellite communications.[45]

Satellite communication resumes[edit]

At 02:25:27 MYT, the aircraft's satellite communication system sent a 'log-on request' messagethe
first message on the system since the ACARS transmission at 01:07 MYTwhich was relayed by
satellite to a ground station, both operated by satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat. After
logging on to the network, the satellite data unit aboard the aircraft responded to hourly status
requests from Inmarsat and two ground-to-aircraft phone calls, at 02:39 MYT and 07:13 MYT, which
went unanswered by the cockpit.[13]:18[33] The final status request and aircraft acknowledgement
occurred at 08:10 MYT. The aircraft sent a log-on request at 08:19:29 MYT which was followed, after
a response from the ground station, by a 'log-on acknowledgement' message at 08:19:37 MYT. The
log-on acknowledgement is the last piece of data available from Flight 370. The aircraft did not
respond to a status request from Inmarsat at 09:15 MYT.[13][33][46][47]

Response by air traffic control[edit]

Flight Information Regions in the vicinity of where Flight 370 disappeared from secondary radar. Kuala Lumpur ACC
provides ATC services on two routes, located within FIR Singapore, between Malaysia and Vietnam.

At 01:30, the captain of another aircraft attempted to reach the crew of Flight 370 on
the International distress frequency to relay Vietnamese air traffic control's request for Flight 370 to
contact them; the captain said he was able to establish contact, but just heard "mumbling" and
static.[38] At 01:38, Ho Chi Minh Area Control Centre (ACC) contacted Kuala Lumpur Area Control
Centre to query the whereabouts of Flight 370 and informed them that they had not established
verbal contact with Flight 370, which last spotted by radar at waypoint BITOD. The two centres
exchanged four more calls over the next 20 minutes with no new information.[30][48]
At 02:03, Kuala Lumpur ACC relayed to Ho Chi Minh ACC information received from Malaysia
Airlines' operations centre that Flight 370 was in Cambodian airspace. Ho Chi Minh ACC contacted
Kuala Lumpur ACC twice in the following eight minutes asking for confirmation that Flight 370 was in
Cambodian airspace.[30] At 02:15, the watch supervisor at Kuala Lumpur ACC queried Malaysia
Airlines' operations centre, who said that they could exchange signals with Flight 370 and that Flight
370 was in Cambodian airspace.[48] Kuala Lumpur ACC contacted Ho Chi Minh ACC to query that the
planned flight path for Flight 370 passed through Cambodian airspace. Ho Chi Minh ACC responded
that Flight 370 was not supposed to enter Cambodian airspace and that they had already contacted
Phnom Penh ACC (which controls Cambodian airspace), which had no contact with Flight
370.[30] Kuala Lumpur ACC contacted Malaysia Airlines' operations centre at 02:34, inquiring about
the communication status with Flight 370. The operations centre initially responded that they were
unsure whether a message to the aircraft was sent successfully, but two minutes later said that
Flight 370 was in a normal condition based on a signal download and that it was located at
145400 N, 1091500E.[30][48] Malaysia Airlines Flight 386 was requested by Ho Chi Minh ACC to
attempt to contact Flight 370 on the Lumpur Radar frequencythe frequency on which Flight 370
last made contact with Malaysian air traffic controland on emergency frequencies, but without
At 03:30, Malaysia Airlines' operations centre informed Kuala Lumpur ACC that the locations they
had provided earlier were "based on flight projection and not reliable for aircraft positioning."[30] Over
the next hour, Kuala Lumpur ACC contacted Ho Chi Minh ACC asking whether they had contacted
Chinese air traffic control. At 05:09, Singapore ACC was queried for information about Flight 370. At
05:20, an undisclosed officialidentified in the preliminary report released by Malaysia as "Capt
[name redacted]"contacted Kuala Lumpur ACC requesting information about Flight 370; he opined
that, based on known information, "MH370 never left Malaysian airspace."[30]
The watch supervisor at Kuala Lumpur ACC activated the Kuala Lumpur Aeronautical Rescue
Coordination Centre (ARCC) at 05:30, over four hours after communication was lost with Flight

370.[48] The ARCC is a command post at an Area Control Centre that coordinates search-and-rescue
activities when an aircraft is lost.

Announcement of disappearance[edit]
Malaysia Airlines issued a media statement at 07:24 MYT, one hour after the scheduled arrival of the
flight at Beijing, stating that contact with the flight had been lost by Malaysian ATC at 02:40 MYT; the
time when contact was lost was later corrected to 1:21.[4]Malaysia Airlines stated that the government
had initiated search and rescue operations.[2] Neither the crew nor the aircraft's communication
systems relayed a distress signal, indications of bad weather, or technical problems before the
aircraft vanished from radar screens.[49]

Timeline of disappearance[edit]



8 March

7 March


Take-off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport






Crew confirms altitude of 35,000 feet (11,000 m)[35]




Last ACARS data transmission received;[32][33]:36 crew confirms

altitude of 35,000 feet, a second time[35]

00:2601:22 01:0702:03 17:0718:03 Satellite communication link lost sometime during this period.[33]:36




Last Malaysian ATC voice contact[50]




Last secondary radar (transponder) contact at

65515N 1033443E[51][52]




Transponder and ADS-B no longer operating.




Aircraft deviated from planned route[13]:2




Voice contact attempt by another aircraft, at request of Ho Chi

Minh Area Control Centre (HCM ACC); mumbling and radio
static heard in reply[38]




Missed expected half-hourly ACARS data transmission[32]




HCM ACC contacts Kuala Lumpur ACC (KL ACC) to enquire

about Flight 370. HCM ACC tells them that verbal contact was
not established and Flight 370 disappeared from their radar
screens near BITOD waypoint. KL ACC responded that Flight
370 did not return to their frequency after passing waypoint




HCM ACC contacts KL ACC again, inform them radar contact

was established near IGARI, but lost near BITOD and that
verbal contact was not established.[30]




HCM ACC informs KL ACC that there was no contact with Flight
370, despite attempts on many frequencies and aircraft in the




Malaysia Airlines dispatch center sent a message to the cockpit

instructing pilots to contact Vietnam ATC, which was not
responded to.[53] A ground-to-aircraft ACARS data request,
transmitted from the ground station multiple times between
02:03-02:05 MYT, was not acknowledged by the aircraft's
satellite data unit.[33]:3639




KL ACC contacts HCM ACC and relays information from

Malaysia Airlines' operations centre that Flight 370 is in
Cambodian airspace.[30]








KL ACC queries Malaysia Airlines' operations center, which

replies that they are able to exchange signals with flight and it is
in Cambodian airspace.[30]


KL ACC contacts HCM ACC asking them if Flight 370 was

supposed to enter Cambodian airspace. HCM ACC replies that
Flight 370's planned route did not take it into Cambodian
airspace and that they had checked and Cambodia had no
information or contact with Flight 370.[30]


Last primary radar contact by Malaysian military, 200 nautical

miles (370 km; 230 mi) NW of Penang,
64938N 974315E[13]:3




'Log-on request' sent by aircraft to satellite. Satellite

communication link is reestablished after being lost for between
2268 min.[13]:18[33]:39 Sometimes referred to as the first hourly
'handshake' after disappearing from radar.[46][54]




KL ACC queries Malaysia Airlines' operations centre about

communication status with Flight 370, but they were not sure if a
message sent to Flight 370 was successful or not.[30]




Malaysia Airlines' operations centre informs KL ACC that Flight

370 is in a normal condition based on signals from the airplane
and located at
145400N 1091500E (Northern Vietnam)
at 18:33 UTC. KL ACC relays this information to HCM ACC.[30]




Ground-to-aircraft telephone call, via the aircraft's satellite link,

went unanswered.[13]:18[33]:40


Malaysia Airlines' operations centre informs KL ACC that

position information was based on flight projection and not
reliable for aircraft tracking. Between 03:30 and 04:25, KL &
HCM ACCs query Chinese air traffic control.[30]






Singapore ACC queried for information about Flight 370.[30]




Kuala Lumpur Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre

(ARCC) is activated.[30]




Missed scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital International

Airport (PEK)




Ground-to-aircraft telephone call placed by Malaysia

Airlines,[53] via the aircraft's satellite link, went




Malaysia Airlines pronounces flight missing in statement

released to media[4]

8 March


Sixth and last successful automated hourly handshake with

Inmarsat-3 F1[46][55]





Unexplained 'log-on request' sent by aircraft to

satellite.[13]:18[33]:41 Sometimes referred to as a 'partial handshake'
transmitted by aircraft.[56][57]

After the ground station responded to the log-on request, the

aircraft replied with a 'log-on acknowledgement' transmission at
08:19:37.443 MYT. This is the last transmission received from
Flight 370.[13]:18[33]:41







Presumed loss[edit]

Aircraft did not respond to a scheduled, hourly handshake

attempt by Inmarsat.[33]:41[46]

Messages of hope and prayer for MH370 at a bookstore in Malaysia

On 24 March, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said,

Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort... Inmarsat and
the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was
in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location, far from any possible
landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to
this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.[26][e]
Just before Najib spoke at 22:00 MYT, Malaysia Airlines announced that Flight 370 was assumed
lost with no survivors. It notified most of the families in person or via telephone, and some received
the followingSMS:
Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370
has been lost and that none of those on board survived. As you will hear in the next hour from
Malaysia's Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the
Southern Indian Ocean.[23][24][25]
On 29 March, the Government of Malaysia and the AAIB stated that, in accordance with the
protocols detailed in International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 concerning aircraft
accident investigation, they would set up an international team to investigate the loss of the
flight.[60][61] On 30 March, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the appointment of retired
Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston to head the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC)
to co-ordinate the search effort and closely co-operate with Malaysia, the responsible state under
international law.[62][63]
If the official assumption holds, at the time of its disappearance Flight 370 will have been the
deadliest aviation incident in the history of Malaysia Airlines (surpassing the 1977 hijacking and
crash of Malaysian Airline System Flight 653 that killed all 100 passengers and crew on board) and
the deadliest involving a Boeing 777, surpassing Asiana Airlines Flight 214 (3 fatalities). In both of
those categories, Flight 370 was surpassed just 131 days later by Malaysia Airlines Flight 17,

another Boeing 777-200ER, which was presumed to be shot down on 17 July 2014, killing all 298
persons aboard.[27] It would also be the second-deadliest incident in the Indian Ocean, behind Iran Air
Flight 655;[64] the 17th-deadliest incident worldwide; and the deadliest incident since the February
2003crash of an Iranian military aircraft.

Main article: Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

The shifting search zones for Flight 370 from South China Sea and Strait of Malacca (lower right inset) to the
underwater phase that began in October (pink).

On 13 March, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said "an additional search area may be
opened in the Indian Ocean based on some new information"[65][66] and a senior official at The
Pentagon told ABC News: "We have an indication the plane went down in the Indian Ocean."[67] On
17 March, Australia agreed to lead the search in the southern locus from Sumatra to the southern
Indian Ocean.[68][69] This area, which Australian PM Tony Abbott described as "as close to nowhere as

it's possible to be", is renowned for its strong winds, inhospitable climate, hostile seas, and deep
ocean floors.[70][71]
On 29 May the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss informed parliament that, beginning
in August, after a new commercial operator for the search effort had been selected, the search
would move into a new phase "that could take twelve months".[72]
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) signed a contract with the Dutch deep sea survey
company Fugro on 10 June to conduct a bathymetric survey of the seafloor in a new search area
southwest of Australia (actual area wasn't publicly announced until 26 June, see below).[73] The
underwater search began on 6 October with the vessel GO Phoenix, which departed Jakarta on 24
September and calibrated its instruments before arriving in the search zone on 5 October.[74] Fugro
Discovery departed Perth on 18 October to join the search.[75]

International involvement[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has
media related to Search
of Malaysia Airlines
Flight 370.

At the peak of the search effort and before the search was moved to the south Indian Ocean, 26
countries were involved in the search, contributing in aggregate nearly 60 ships and 50
aircraft. [76][77] Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Japan, New Zealand, and
South Korea assigned military and civilian ships and aircraft to the search.[78][79]While not participating
in the search itself, Sri Lanka gave permission for search aircraft to use its airspace.[80] Malaysia
deployed military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters,[81] and ships.[81][82][83]
Within two days, the countries had already dispatched more than 34 aircraft and 40 ships to the
area.[9][10][84] Satellite imagery was also made available by Tomnod to the general public so they could
help with the search through crowdsourcing efforts.[85]


Flightdeck of 9M-MRO in 2004.

Wikimedia Commons has

media related to aircraft

Flight 370 was operated with a Boeing 777-2H6ER,[f] serial number 28420, registration 9M-MRO.
The 404th Boeing 777 produced,[87] it first flew on 14 May 2002, and was delivered new to Malaysia
Airlines on 31 May 2002. The aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines,[87] and
configured to carry 282 passengers.[88] 9M-MRO had accumulated 53,460 hours and 7,525 cycles in
service,[89] and had not previously been involved in any major incidents,[90] though a minor incident
while taxiing at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in August 2012 resulted in a broken
wingtip.[91][92] Its last maintenance 'A' check was carried out on 23 February 2014.[89] The ADS-B on
9M-MRO was replaced with ADS-C In November 2013 to comply with FANS 1/A certification.[citation

The Boeing 777, introduced in 1994, is generally regarded by aviation experts as having a safety
record that is one of the best of any commercial aircraft.[93][94] Since its first commercial flight in June
1995, there have been only four other serious accidents involving hull-loss: British Airways Flight
38 in 2008; a cockpit fire in a parked EgyptAir 777-200 at Cairo International Airport in
2011;[95][96] Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in 2013, in which three people died, and Malaysia Airlines Flight
17 which was shot down over Ukraine with 298 people aboard in July 2014.[27][97]

Passengers and crew[edit]

People on board by nationality







Hong Kong[g]


People on board by nationality







New Zealand




United States



Malaysia Airlines released the names and nationalities of the 227 passengers and 12 crew
members, based on the flight manifest, later modified to include two Iranian passengers travelling on
stolen passports.[101]

All 12 crew members were Malaysian citizens. Two pilots were among the crew:[102]

The captain was 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah from Penang; he joined Malaysia Airlines in
1981 and had 18,365 hours of flying experience.[102] Zaharie was also an examiner qualified to
conduct simulator tests for pilots.[103]

The first officer was 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid, an employee of Malaysia Airlines since
2007, with 2,763 flying hours.[104][105] This was Fariq's first flight as a fully qualified Boeing 777 first
officer following the completion of his supervised transition to that type of aircraft.[105]

Of the 227 passengers, 152 were Chinese citizens, including a group of 19 artists with six family
members and four staff returning from a calligraphy exhibition of their work in Kuala Lumpur; 38
passengers were Malaysian. The remaining passengers were from 13 different countries.[106] Twenty

passengers12 of whom were from Malaysia and 8 from Chinawere employees of Freescale
Under a 2007 agreement with Malaysia Airlines, Tzu Chi an international Buddhist organisation
immediately sent specially trained teams to Beijing and Malaysia to give emotional support to
passengers' families.[109][110] The airline also sent its own team of caregivers and volunteers[111] and
agreed to bear the expenses of bringing family members of the passengers to Kuala Lumpur and
providing them with accommodation, medical care, and counselling.[112]Altogether, 115 family
members of the Chinese passengers flew to Kuala Lumpur.[113] Some other family members chose to
remain in China, fearing they would feel too isolated in Malaysia.[114]
The airline's offer of an ex gratia condolence payment of US$5,000 to the family of each passenger
was initially rejected;[115][116] the amounts were handed out to relatives on 12 March. It was also
reported that Malaysian relatives only received $2,000.[117] On 12 June, Malaysia's deputy Foreign
Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said that families of seven passengers received $50,000 advance
compensation from Malaysia Airlines,[118] but that full payout would come after the aircraft is found or
officially declared lost.[119]
Lack of evidence in determining the cause of Flight 370's disappearance, indeed even physical
evidence that the aircraft crashed, raises many issues regarding responsibility for the accident and
payments made by insurance agencies. Under international aviation law, it is the carrier's
responsibility to prove lack of fault in an accident.[120] Under the Montreal Convention, each
passenger's next-of-kin are automatically entitled, regardless of fault, to a payment of approximately
US$175,000[j] from the airline's insurance companya total of nearly US$40 million for the 227
passengers on board. Malaysia Airlines would still be vulnerable to civil lawsuits from passengers'
families.[120]Compensation awarded during or settled out-of-court during civil trials will likely vary
widely among passengers based on country of the court. An American court could likely award
upwards of US$810 million, while Chinese courts would likely award a small fraction of that.[121][122]

International participation[edit]
Malaysia set up a Joint Investigation Team, composed of specialists from Malaysia, Australia, China,
the UK, the US, and France,[13]:1[123] being led according to the ICAO standards by "an independent
investigator in charge".[124] The team consists of an airworthiness group, an operations group, and a
medical and human factors group. The airworthiness group will examine issues related to

maintenance records, structures, and systems of the aircraft. The operations group will review flight
recorders, operations, and meteorology. The medical and human factors group will investigate
psychological, pathological, and survival factors.[125]
Malaysia also announced, on 6 April, that it had set up three ministerial committeesa Next of Kin
Committee, a committee to organize the formation of the Joint Investigation Team, and a committee
responsible for Malaysian assets deployed in the search effort.[125]
On 17 March, Australia took control for coordinating search, rescue, and recovery operations. For
the following six weeks, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Australian Transport
Safety Board (ATSB) worked to determine the search area, correlating information with the JIT and
other government and academic sources, while the Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC)
coordinated the search efforts. Following the fourth phase of the search, the ATSB took
responsibility for defining the search area. In May, the search strategy working group was
established by the ATSB to determine the most likely position on the aircraft at the 00:19 UTC
satellite transmission. The group included aircraft and satellite experts from: Air Accidents
Investigation Branch (UK), Boeing (US), Defence Science and Technology Organisation (Australia),
Department of Civil Aviation (Malaysia), Inmarsat (UK), National Transportation Safety Board (US),
and Thales (UK). The SSWG's efforts culminated in the formation of a new search area along the
Broken Ridge and publication of a detailed report analysing factors bearing impact on the final
location of the aircraft.[13]:1
The investigation was also assisted by Interpol and other relevant international law enforcement
authorities according to the Malaysian government.[126][127]

Analysis of satellite communication[edit]

A depiction of an Inmarsat-3 seriessatellite. Flight 370 was in contact with Inmarsat-3 F1 (also known as "IOR" for
Indian Ocean Region).

The datalink for Malaysia Airline's avionics communications at the time of the incident was supplied
by SITA, which contracted with Inmarsat to provide a satellite communication link using

Inmarsat's Classic Aero service.[54][128]Aeronautical satellite communication (SATCOM) systems are
used to transmit messages from the aircraft cockpit as well as automated messages from on-board
systems using the ACARS communications protocol, but may also be used to
transmit FANS & ATN messages and provide voice, fax and data links[129] using other
protocols.[54][128][130] An appropriate comparison of ACARS' relationship to the SATCOM system is that
of a messaging application to a smartphone; the smartphone functions and will remain registered on
a mobile phone network even if the messaging application is closed.[130] The data/messages from the
aircraft ("mobile terminal", with respect to the network) are transmitted by the aircraft's Satellite Data
Unit (SDU) and relayed via satellite to a ground station, where they are routed to other
communication networks to reach their destination.[13]:17[46] Messages may also be sent to the aircraft,
in reverse order. The ground station keeps a log of transmissions and some data about them.[13]:17

When the terminal tries to connect with the Inmarsat network, it will transmit a log-on request, which
the ground station acknowledges.[13]:17[130] This is, in part, to determine that the SDU belongs to an
active service subscriber and also used to determine which satellite should be used to transmit
messages to the SDU.[130] After connecting, if a ground station hasn't received any contact from a
terminal for one hour,[k] the ground station will transmit a "log-on interrogation" messageinformally
referred to as a "ping";[13]:18 an active terminal automatically responds. The entire process of
interrogating the terminal is referred to as a 'handshake'.[46][131]
Although the ACARS system on Flight 370 was disabled at 01:21 MYT (17:21 UTC, 7 March), the
SDU remained operable.[13][54] After last contact by primary radar west of Malaysia, the following
records were recorded in the log of Inmarsat's ground station at Perth, Western Australia:[13]:18[33][l]

18:25:27 UTC 1st handshake (initiated by aircraft)

18:39:52 UTC Ground to aircraft telephone call, acknowledged by SDU, unanswered

19:41:00 UTC 2nd handshake (initiated by ground station)

20:41:02 UTC 3rd handshake (initiated by ground station)

21:41:24 UTC 4th handshake (initiated by ground station)

22:41:19 UTC 5th handshake (initiated by ground station)

23:13:58 UTC Ground to aircraft telephone call, acknowledged by SDU, unanswered

00:10:58 UTC 6th handshake (initiated by ground station)

00:19:29 UTC 7th handshake (initiated by aircraft; widely reported as a 'partial handshake'),
consisting of two transmissions:[33]


00:19:29.416 UTC 'log-on request' message transmitted by aircraft (7th 'partial'

00:19:37.443 UTC 'log-on acknowledge' message transmitted by aircraft, last
transmission received from Flight 370

On 8 March, Inmarsat provided basic flight data relating to Flight 370 to SITA, which relayed
information to Malaysia Airlines and investigators.[47] On 910 March, Inmarsat engineers noted
that the ground station log recorded pings from the aircraft for several hours after contact was
lost with air traffic control.[47] An analysis of the time difference between the transmission of the
ping and the aircraft's response allowed Inmarsat to determine the aircraft's distance from the
satellite resulted in the plotting of two arcsreferred to as the "northern corridor" and "southern
corridor" where the aircraft may have been located at the time of its last complete handshake at
00:11 UTC.
Inmarsat conducted further analysis on the signals received during the handshakes, focusing on
the frequency shift of the signal emitted from the aircraft compared with the actual frequency
received, known as the burst frequency offset,[46][131] using a baseline of earlier system data for
the aircraft, satellite, and ground station.[131] The burst frequency offset, caused by the Doppler
effect, varies based on the aircraft's speed and whether it is moving towards or away from the
satellite. Using an "innovative technique"[131] that has "never before [been] used in an
investigation of this sort",[26] the team determined it could also use the burst frequency offset to
determine the aircraft's speed and position along the identified arcs. Inmarsat cross-checked its
methodology to known flight data from six Boeing 777 aircraft flying in various directions on the
same day, and found a good match.[46] Applying the technique to the handshake signals from
Flight 370 gave results that correlated strongly with the expected and actual measurements of a
southern trajectory over the Indian Ocean, but poorly with a northern trajectory.[46][131][132] Further
revised calculations to account for movements of the satellite relative to the earth allowed the
northern corridor to be ruled out completely. This analysis was passed on to Malaysian
authorities on 23 March.[54] At 22:00 local time the next day, Prime Minister Najib cited this
development to conclude that "Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."[54][133]
The log-on message sent from the aircraft at 00:19:29 UTC was not immediately well
understood.[46][131] The 18:25 UTC handshake was also initiated by the aircraft.[13]:22 There are only
a few reasons the SDU would transmit a log-on message, such as a power interruption, software
failure, loss of critical systems providing input to the SDU, or a loss of the link due to aircraft
attitude.[13]:22 Investigators consider the most likely reason to be that they were sent during powerup after an electrical outage.[13]:33 At 00:19, the aircraft had been airborne for 7 h 38 min; the
typical Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight is 512 hours and fuel exhaustion was likely.[13]:33[13]:33[134] In the

event of fuel exhaustion and engine flame-out, the aircraft's ram air turbine would deploy,
providing power to various instruments and flight controls, including the SDU.[13]:33 Approximately
90 seconds after the 18:25 UTC handshake, communications from the aircraft's inflight
entertainment system were recorded in the ground station log.[13]:22 Similar messages would be
expected following the 00:19 UTC handshake but none were received, supporting the fuel
starvation scenario.[13]:22
Since the aircraft did not respond to a ping at 01:15 UTC, it was concluded that at some point
between 00:11 UTC and 01:15 UTC, the aircraft lost the ability to communicate with the ground
station,[46][47][131] which Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation noted was "consistent with the
maximum endurance of the aircraft".[131] The ATSB is "confident the seventh handshake
represents the area where the aircraft ran out of fuel before entering the ocean."[135]
Malaysian investigators set up an international working group, consisting of various agencies
with experience in aircraft performance and satellite communications, to further analyse the
signals between Flight 370 and the ground station, especially the signal at 00:19 UTC.[131] These
included representatives from the UK's Inmarsat, AAIB and Rolls-Royce; China's Civil Aviation
Administration and Aircraft Accident Investigation Department; the US NTSB and FAA, and
Malaysian authorities.[136]
In an article published on 8 May several satellite experts questioned the analysis of satellite
pings made by Inmarsat staff because the Doppler frequency shifts measured were apparently
not properly corrected against the satellite's own drift (a periodic North-South oscillation of 3
every 24 hours). Without any additional data being released, the implication of this new analysis
was that the northern portion of the Inmarsat satellite pings arc could not be ruled out.[137] The
Malaysian government released the satellite data three weeks later.[138][139]
A peer-reviewed paper by Inmarsat scientists published in the Journal of Navigation in October
2014 provides a comprehensive account of the analysis applied to the satellite communications
from Flight 370.[140][141] Details of the methodology used to analyze the satellite communications
were provided in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's report MH370 Definition of
Underwater Search Areas, published in June,[13] and a supplement released in October.[142][143]

Analysis of hydroacoustic data[edit]

A source of evidence to assist in locating the final resting place of the aircraft is analysis
of underwater sound recordings. If the aircraft hit the ocean hard, hydroacoustic recordings
could have potentially recorded an impact event. Furthermore, the aircraft's flight data recorders

were fitted with underwater 'pingers', which emit a detectable, pulsating acoustic signal that
could have potentially led searchers to their locations.
Impact event[edit]
If Flight 370 had impacted the ocean hard, resulting underwater sounds could have been
detected by hydrophones, given favourable circumstances.[13]:40[144][145] Sound waves can travel
long distances in the ocean, but sounds that travel best are those that are reflected into the
'deep sound channel' usually found between 6001200 m beneath the surface. Most of the
sound generated by an aircraft impacting the ocean would travel straight down to the seabed,
making it unlikely that any of these sounds would be reflected into the deep sound channel
unless the seabed sloped. Sounds from pieces of the aircraft imploding at depth would be more
likely to travel in the deep sound channel. "The combination of circumstances necessary to allow
[detection of an ocean impact] would have to be very particular," according to Mark Prior, a
seismic-acoustic specialist at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, who
also explains that "given the continuing uncertainty regarding the fate of MH370, underwater
acoustic data still has the possibility of adding something to the search."[145] When an Airbus
A330 hit the Atlantic Ocean at speed of 152 kn (282 km/h; 175 mph), no data relating to the
impact was detected in hydroacoustic recordings, even when analysed after the location of that
aircraft was known.[145][146] As with the analysis of the Inmarsat satellite data, the hydroacoustic
analysis uses the data in a way very different from that originally intended.[146]

External media

Graphics produced by the Curtin University research team


Audio recording of the suspect acoustic signature

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau requested the Curtin University Centre for Marine
Science and Technology (CMST) analyse these signals.[13]:40 Scientists from the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization & Geoscience Australia have also been involved with the
analysis. Available sources of hydroacoustic data were:[13]:40,47[144][145][146]


The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which operates a

system of sensors to detect nuclear tests as part of their mission to ensure compliance with
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Data was analyzed from CTBTO hydrophones
located south-west of Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia (HA01) and in the northern Indian
Ocean. These stations have two hydrophones each, separated by several kilometers,
allowing a bearing to be calculated for the source of noise to within 0.5.

Australia's Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). Data from an acoustic observatory
40 km west of Rottnest Island, Western Australia, near the Perth Canyon. IMOS stations
have just one hydrophone each and therefore cannot provide a bearing on the source of the
noise. Several IMOS recorders deployed in the Indian Ocean off northwestern Australia by
CMST may have recorded data related to Flight 370. These recorders were not recovered
as part of the investigation. These sensors record only five minutes out of every fifteen and
are likely to be contaminated by noise from seismic surveys. CMST originally planned to
recover the sensors in September or October, but now plan to make the trip in August.

It is unclear what other sources of hydroacoustic data are available in the region. India &
Pakistan operate submarine fleets, but the JACC claims they aren't aware of any
hydrophones operated by those countries. The US Navy operated a vast array of
hydrophonesthe Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS)during the Cold War to track
submarines, which is believed to remain in operation. Asked if any SOSUS sensors are
located in the Indian Ocean, a spokesman for the US Navy declined comment on the
subject, noting that such information is classified.

Scientists from the CTBTO analysed their recordings soon after Flight 370 disappeared, finding
nothing of interest. However, after the search for the flight shifted to the Indian Ocean, CMST
collected recordings from the IMOS and found a clear acoustic signature just after 01:30 UTC on
8 March.[144] This signature was also found, but difficult to discern from background noise, in the
CTBTO recordings from HA01, likely because HA01 receives a lot of noise from the Southern
Ocean & Antarctic coastline.[144]
The CMST researchers believe that the most likely explanation of the hydroacoustic data is that
they come from the same event, but unrelated to Flight 370.[13]:47 They note that "the
characteristics of the [event's acoustic signals] are not unusual, it is only their arrival time and to
some extent the direction from which they came that make them of interest."[13]:47 If the data
relates to the same event, related to Flight 370, but the arc derived from analysis of the aircraft's
satellite transmission is incorrect, then the most likely place to look for the aircraft would be
along a line from HA01 at a bearing of 301.6 until that line reaches the Chagos-Laccadive

Ridge (approximately 2.3S, 73.7E). In the latter possibility, if the acoustic recordings are from
the impact of the aircraft with the ocean, they likely came from a location where water is less
than 2000 m deep and the seabed slopes downwards towards the east or southeast; if they
came from debris imploding at depth, the source location along this line is much less
certain.[13]:47 The lead researcher of the CMST team, Dr.Alec Duncan, believes there's a slim
chanceperhaps as low as 10 percentthat the acoustic event is related to Flight 370.[147]
Underwater locator beacons[edit]
The aircraft's flight recorders were fitted with Dukane DK100 underwater acoustic beacons
also known as "underwater locator beacons" (ULBs) or "pingers"which are activated by
immersion in salt water and thereafter emit a 10 millisecond pulse every second at frequency of
37.51 kHz. The beacons are limited by battery life, providing a minimum of 30 days and have
an estimated maximum life of 40 days, according to their manufacturer. The nominal distance at
which these beacons can be detected is 20003000 metres.[13]:11 Because the flight recorders to
which they are attached could provide valuable information in the investigation, an intense effort
was made to detect the beacons' pings before their batteries expired.
The HMS Echo made one possible detection on 2 Aprilthe same day the ship joined the
search effort. The following day, following tests, the detection was dismissed as an artifact of the
ship's sonar system.[13]:11[148] On the afternoon of 5 April Perth time, HMS Echo detected a signal
lasting approximately 90 seconds. The second detection was made within 2 km from the first
MV Haixun 01, operated by the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration, detected a signal at
37.5kHz pulsing once per second on 4 April and again on 5 April at a position 3 km west of the
first detection.[150] The HMS Echo was sent to the location of the MV Haixun 01 detections and
determined that the detections were unlikely to originate from ULBs attached to the plane's black
boxes due to the depth of the seafloor, surface noise, and the equipment used. A submarine
sent to the location made no acoustic detections.[13]:13

A Phoenix International TPL-25 owned by the US Navy. Two were loaned to the Royal Australian Navy and
deployed from AVD Ocean Shieldas part of the acoustic search.

ADV Ocean Shield was sent to the search area with two Phoenix International TPL-25 towed
pinger locators (also known as "towfish"). Shortly after one of the towfish was deployed, while
descending, an acoustic signal was detected at a frequency of 33kHz on 5 April. Further
detections were made on 5 April and on 8 April, but none could be detected when the ship
passed the same location on an opposing heading.[13]:12
Independent analyses of the detections made by ADV Ocean Shield determined that the signals
did not match the performance standards of the ULBs attached to the aircraft's black boxes.
However, although unlikely, they noted that the signals could have originated from a damaged
Between 6-16 April, AP-3C Orion aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force deployed sonobouys,
which sank to a depth of 300m to detect the acoustic signature of the ULBs attached to the
aircraft's black boxes. Sonobouy drops were carried out at locations along the calculated arc of
the final satellite communication with Flight 370 where seafloor depths were considered
favourable, near the MV Haixun 01 detections, and along the bearing determined by the Curtin
University research team of a possible impact event. One AP-3C Orion sortie was capable of
searching an area of 3,000 square kilometres (1,200 sq mi). No acoustic detections related to
the ULBs attached to the aircraft's black boxes were made by the sonobouys.[13]:13

Possible in-flight events[edit]

Power interruption[edit]
The SATCOM link functioned normally from pre-flight (beginning 16:00 UTC) until it responded
to a ground-to-air ACARS message with an acknowledge message at 17:07 UTC. Ground-to-air
ACARS messages continued to be transmitted to Flight 370 until Inmarsat's network sent
multiple 'Request for Acknowledge' messages at 18:03 UTC, without a response from the
aircraft. At some time between 17:07 & 18:03, power was lost to the SDU. At 18:25 UTC, the
aircraft's SDU sent a 'log-on request'.[13]:22[33]:3639 It is not common for a log-on request to be made
in-flight, but it could occur for multiple reasons. An analysis of the characteristics and timing of
these requests suggest a power interruption in-flight is the most likely culprit.[13]:33[151] As the power
interruption was not due to engine flame-out, per ATSB, it may have been the result of manual
switching off the aircraft's electrical system.[13]:33
Unresponsive crew/hypoxia[edit]

An analysis by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau comparing the evidence available for
Flight 370 with three categories of accidentsan in-flight upset (e.g. stall), a glide event (e.g.
engine failure, fuel starvation), and an unresponsive crew/hypoxia eventconcluded that an
unresponsive crew or hypoxia event "best fit the available evidence"[13]:34 for the 5-hour period of
the flight as it travelled south over the Indian Ocean without communication or significant
deviations in its track,[13]:34 likely on autopilot.[15][16][152]There is, however, no consensus among
investigators on the unresponsive crew/hypoxia theory.[152]

Possible causes of disappearance[edit]

See also: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 unofficial disappearance theories
Passenger involvement[edit]
Two men identified on the passenger manifest, an Austrian and an Italian, had reported their
passports stolen in 2012 and 2013, respectively.[49][153] Interpol stated that both passports were
listed on its database of lost and stolen passports, and that no check had been made against its
database.[154][155] Malaysia's Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, criticised his country's
immigration officials for failing to stop the passengers travelling on the stolen European
passports.[155] The two one-way tickets purchased for the holders of the stolen passports were
booked through China Southern Airlines.[156] It was reported that an Iranian had ordered the
cheapest tickets to Europe via telephone in Bangkok, Thailand. The tickets were paid for in
cash.[157][158] The two passengers were later identified as Iranian men, one aged 19 and the other
29, who had entered Malaysia on 28 February using valid Iranian passports. The head of
Interpol said the organisation was "inclined to conclude that it was not a terrorist
incident".[100] The two men were believed to be asylum seekers.[159][160]
United States and Malaysian officials were reviewing the backgrounds of every passenger
named on the manifest.[106] On 18 March the Chinese government announced that it had
checked all of the Chinese citizens on the aircraft and ruled out the possibility that any were
potential hijackers.[161]
One passenger who worked as a flight engineer for a Swiss jet charter company was briefly
suspected as potential hijacker because he was thought to have the relevant skill set.[162]
Crew involvement[edit]
Police searched the homes of the pilot and co-pilot,[163] on suspicion that those in the cockpit had
been responsible for the aircraft's disappearance.[164] The United States' Federal Bureau of
Investigation reconstructed the deleted data from the pilot's home flight simulator and a
Malaysian government spokesman indicated that "nothing sinister" had been found on

it.[165][166] On 2 April Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia's Police Inspector-General, said that as part of its
ongoing criminal investigation, more than 170 interviews had been conducted, including with
family members of the pilots and crew.[167][168] Investigators seized financial records for all 12 crew
members, including bank statements, credit card bills and mortgage documents.[169]
Shortly after Flight 370's disappearance, media reports revealed that Captain Zaharie Ahmad
Shah's wife and three children moved out of his house the day before the disappearance and a
friend claimed that Capt. Shah was seeing another woman and the relationship with that other
woman was also in trouble.[169][170][171] Claims of domestic problems have been denied by Capt.
Shah's family.[172] A fellow pilot and long-time associate of Capt. Shah stated the captain was
"terribly upset"[173] that his marriage was falling apart.[170][171] Police were also investigating reports
that Capt. Shah received a two-minute phone call prior to the flight's departure from an
unidentified woman using a mobile phone number obtained with a false identity.[169] Furthermore,
Capt. Shah was also a supporter of Malaysian opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim, who was
sentenced to jail on 7 March after an earlier acquittal on sodomy charges was overturned in a
move viewed as politically motivated.[174]
On 23 June, an official Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia
Airlines flight 370 identified the captain as the prime suspect if it is proven human intervention
was involved.[175] Contradicting an earlier statement about data from Capt. Shah's flight
simulator, The Sunday Times reported that among deleted flight paths performed on the flight
simulator investigators found a flight path into the Southern Ocean where the plane landed on
an island with a small runway.[172][176][177] Investigators noted strange behaviour by Capt. Shah from
conducting 170 interviewsnamely, that the captain had made no social or professional plans
for after 8 March, when Flight 370 disappeared.[177] News reports about the captain's lack of
social plans and flight simulator exercises cite results of the police enquiry into the pilots, which
have been shared with some of the investigation team but haven't been released publicly.[177]
Investigators believe someone in the cockpit of Flight 370 re-programmed the plane's autopilot
before it traveled south across the Indian Ocean, raising further suspicion the disappearance
was caused by the captain or copilot.[178] A hijacking by a pilot would not be without precedent, as
less than three weeks before Flight 370 disappearedon 17 February 2014Ethiopian Airlines
Flight 702 was hijacked when the co-pilot locked the captain out of the cabin and diverted the
aircraft to seek asylum in Switzerland.[179][180]

On 17 March, MAS chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, indicated that the aircraft was
carrying only three to four tonnes/tons of mangosteens and said that nothing it transported was
dangerous.[181][182][183] Three days later, he also confirmed that potentially flammable batteries,
identified as lithium-ion,[184] were on board, adding that all cargo was "packed as recommended
by the ICAO", checked several times, and deemed to meet regulations.[185][186][187] The cargo
manifest released on 1 May[188] had revealed two air waybills (AWBs) for lithium-ion batteries with
a total consignment weight of 221 kg. Three other AWBs weighing 2,232 kg were declared as
radio accessories and chargers, but an MAS representative said he was not permitted to provide
additional information.[189]Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia's Police Inspector-General, said that the
provenance and destination of all cargo, including the mangosteens and in-flight meals, were
being investigated to rule out sabotage as a cause.[190]
Claims of responsibility[edit]
On 9 March 2014, members of the Chinese news media received an open letter that claimed to
be from the leader of the Chinese Martyrs Brigade, a previously unknown group. The letter
claimed that the loss of Flight 370 was in retaliation for the Chinese government's response to
the knife attacks at Kunming railway station on 1 March 2014 and part of the wider separatist
campaign against Chinese control over Xinjiang province. The letter also listed unspecified
grievances against the Malaysian government. The letter's claim was dismissed as fraudulent
based on its lack of detail regarding the fate of Flight 370 and the fact that the name "Chinese
Martyrs Brigade" appeared inconsistent with Uyghur separatist groups which describe
themselves as "East Turkestan" and "Islamic" rather than "Chinese".[191][192]

Criticism and response[edit]

Information sharing[edit]
Public communication from Malaysian officials regarding the loss of the flight was initially beset
with confusion.[m] The New York Times wrote that the Malaysian government and the airline
released imprecise, incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate information, with civilian officials
sometimes contradicting military leaders.[205] Malaysian officials were also criticised after the
persistent release of contradictory information, most notably regarding the last point and time of
contact with the aircraft.[206]
Although Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the country's
Defence Minister, denied the existence of problems between the participating countries,
academics said that because of regional conflicts, there were genuine trust issues involved in
co-operation and sharing intelligence, and that these were hampering the

search.[207][208] International relations experts said entrenched rivalries over sovereignty, security,
intelligence, and national interests made meaningful multilateral co-operation very
difficult.[207][208] A Chinese academic made the observation that the parties were searching
independently, thus it was not a multilateral search effort.[208] However, The Guardian noted the
Vietnamese permission given for Chinese aircraft to overfly its airspace as a positive sign of cooperation.[208] Vietnam temporarily scaled back its search operations after the country's Deputy
Transport Minister cited a lack of communication from Malaysian officials despite requests for
more information.[209] China, through the official Xinhua News Agency, said that the Malaysian
government ought to take charge and conduct the operation with greater transparency, a point
echoed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry days later.[207][210]
Malaysia had initially declined to release raw data from its military radar, deeming the
information "too sensitive", but later acceded.[207][208] Defence experts suggested that giving others
access to radar information could be sensitive on a military level. As an example: "The rate at
which they can take the picture can also reveal how good the radar system is."[207] One
suggested that some countries could already have had radar data on the aircraft but were
reluctant to share any information that could potentially reveal their defence capabilities and
compromise their own security.[207] Similarly, submarines patrolling the South China Sea might
have information in the event of a water impact, and sharing such information could reveal their
locations and listening capabilities.[211] This is quite plausible, given how quickly the US
redirected USS Kidd to begin searching the Indian Ocean, even as other search assets were
then still focused on searching previous search areas.[67]
Criticism was also levelled at the delay of the search efforts. On 11 March, three days after the
aircraft disappeared, British satellite company Inmarsat had provided officials (or its partner,
SITA) with data suggesting the aircraft was nowhere near the areas in the Gulf of Thailand and
the South China Sea being searched at that time; and may have diverted its course through a
southern or northern corridor. This information was only publicly acknowledged and released by
Najib on 15 March in a press conference.[54][212]Explaining why information about satellite signals
had not been made available earlier, Malaysia Airlines said that the raw satellite signals needed
to be verified and analysed "so that their significance could be properly understood" before it
could publicly confirm their existence.[213] Hishammuddin said Malaysian and US investigators
had immediately discussed the Inmarsat data upon receiving them on 12 March, and on two
occasions, both groups agreed that it needed further processing and sent the data to the US
twice for this purpose. Data analysis was completed on 14 March: by then, the AAIB had
independently arrived at the same conclusion.[214]

Malaysia Airlines[edit]
See also: Malaysia Airlines 2014 aircraft losses
A month after the disappearance, Malaysia Airlines' chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya
acknowledged that ticket sales had declined but failed to provide specific details. This may
partially result from the suspension of the airline's advertisement campaigns following the
disappearance. Mr. Ahmad stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the airline's
"primary that we do take care of the families in terms of their emotional needs and also
their financial needs. It is important that we provide answers for them. It is important that the
world has answers, as well."[215] In further remarks, Mr. Ahmad said he wasn't sure when the
airline could start repairing its image, but that the airline was adequately insured to cover the
financial loss stemming from Flight 370's disappearance.[215][216] In China, where the majority of
passengers were from, bookings on Malaysia Airlines were down 60% in March.[217]
Malaysia Airlines retired the Flight 370 (MH370) flight number and replaced it with Flight 318
(MH318) beginning 14 March. This follows a common practice among airlines to rename flights
following notorious accidents.[218][219] The flightMalaysia Airline's second daily flight to Beijing
was later suspended beginning 2 May; according to insiders, this was due to lack of
Malaysia Airlines was given US$110 million from insurers in March 2014 to cover initial
payments to passengers' families and the search effort.[221] In May, remarks from lead reinsurer
of the flight, Allianz, indicated the insured market loss on Flight 370, including the search, was
about US$350 million.[222][223]
Financial troubles[edit]
At the time of Flight 370's disappearance, Malaysia Airlines was struggling to cut costs to
compete with a wave of new, low-cost carriers in the region. In the previous three years,
Malaysia Airlines had booked losses of: RM1.17 billion (US$356 million) in 2013, RM433 million
in 2012, and RM2.5 billion in 2011.[215] Malaysia Airlines lost RM443.4 million (US$137.4 million)
in the first quarter of 2014 (JanuaryMarch).[216] The second quarterthe first in the aftermath of
Flight 370's disappearancesaw a loss of RM307.04 million (US$97.6 million), which
represented a 75% increase over losses from the second-quarter of 2013.[224] Industry analysts
expect Malaysia Airlines to lose further market share and face a challenging environment to
stand out from competitors while addressing their financial plight.[215] The company's stock, down
as much as 20% following the disappearance of Flight 370, had fallen 80% over the previous

five years, which contrasts with a rise in the Malaysian stock market of about 80% over the same
Many analysts and the media suggested that Malaysia Airlines would need to rebrand and repair
its image and/or require government assistance to return to profitability.[225][226][227][228][229] The loss of
Flight 17 in July greatly exacerbated Malaysia Airline's woes. The combined effect on consumer
confidence of the loss of Flights 370 & 17 and the airline's poor financial performance
led Khazanah Nasionalthe majority shareholder (69.37%)[230] and a Malaysian state-run
investment armto announce on 8 August its plan to purchase the remainder of the airline,
thereby renationalising it.[231][232][233]

Questions and criticisms were raised by air force experts and the Malaysian opposition about
the current state of Malaysia's air force and radar capabilities. The failure of the Royal Malaysian
Air Force to identify and respond to an unidentified aircraft (later determined to be Flight 370)
flying through Malaysian airspace has been criticized by many.[234][235][236][237] The Malaysian military
only became aware of the unidentified flight after reviewing radar recordings several hours after
Flight 370's disappearance.[236] Not only was the failure to recognize and react to the unidentified
aircraft a security blunder, it was also a missed opportunity to intercept Flight 370 and prevent
the time-consuming and expensive search operation.[236][237]
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak responded to criticism of his government in an opinion
piece published in the The Wall Street Journal:
Without physical evidence, or a clear explanation for why this happened, peoples'
attention has naturally focused on the authoritiesand Malaysia has borne the brunt of
the criticism. In the passage of time, I believe Malaysia will be credited for doing its best
under near-impossible circumstances. It is no small feat for a country the size of ours to
overcome diplomatic and military sensitivities and bring 26 different countries together to
conduct one of the world's largest peacetime search operations.
But we didn't get everything right...the response time should and will be investigated...I
pledge that Malaysia will keep searching for the plane for as long as it takes.
Malaysian PM Najib Razak, Malaysia's Lessons From the Vanished Airplane (The
Wall Street Journal, 13 May 2014)[238]
In the opinion piece, Mr. Razak goes on to emphasize the need for the aviation industry to "not
only learn the lessons of MH370 but implement them," saying in closing that "the world learned
from [Air France Flight 447] but didn't act. The same mistake must not be made again."[238]

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim strongly criticised the Malaysian government regarding their
response to Flight 370's disappearance and the military's response when Flight 370 turned back
over the Malay Peninsula; he has called for an international committee to take charge of the
investigation "to save the image of the country and to save the country."[239] Malaysian authorities
have accused Mr. Anwarwho was jailed on contentious charges the day before Flight 370
disappearedof politicising the crisis. Flight 370's captain was a supporter of Mr. Anwar and the
two knew each other.[239]
Malaysia's Defense and Transport Minister Hishammuddin Husseina central figure in the
search an investigation of Flight 370 and active on Twitterwas criticised for
responding/retweeting a tweet by a Malaysian journalist: "Right u are:) @IsmailAmsyar: #MH370
is a blessing in disguise 4 all of us. I understand now d beauty of unity & sweetness of having
each other."[240] The remarks were viewed as insensitive to the victims' families. Both tweets were
removed.[240][241] Questioned why Malaysia did not scramble fighter jets to intercept the plane as it
tracked back across the Malay Peninsula, he noted that it was deemed a commercial aircraft
and wasn't hostile, remarking: "If you're not going to shoot it down, what's the point of sending [a
fighter jet] up?"[242]
The poor response to the crisis and lack of transparency in the response has brought attention
to the state of media in Malaysia. After decades of having tight control of media, during which
government officials were accustomed to passing over issues without scrutiny or accountability,
Malaysia was suddenly thrust to the forefront of global media and unable to adjust to demands
for transparency. Confronted by a foreign journalist about the slow response and conflicting
information, Defense and Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein responded that he's
received "a lot of feedback saying weve been very responsible in our actions...its very
irresponsible of you to say that."[243]

On 24 March, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng reacted sceptically to the
conclusion by the Malaysian government that the aircraft had gone down with no survivors. Xie
demanded "all the relevant information and evidence about the satellite data analysis", and said
that the Malaysian government must "finish all the work including search and rescue."[57][244]
On 25 March, Chinese president Xi Jinping said he was sending a special envoy to Kuala
Lumpur to consult with the Malaysian government over the missing aircraft.[245] The same day,
around two hundred family members of the Chinese passengers protested outside the
Malaysian embassy in Beijing.[246][247] Relatives who had arrived in Kuala Lumpur after the

announcement continued with their protest, accusing Malaysia of hiding the truth and harbouring
the murderer. They also wanted an apology for the Malaysian government's poor initial handling
of the disaster and its "premature" conclusion of loss, drawn without physical evidence.[248] An
op-ed for China Daily said that Malaysia was not wholly to be blamed for its poor handling of
such a "bizarre and unprecedented crisis", and appealed to Chinese people not to allow
emotions to prevail over evidence and rationality.[249] The Chinese ambassador to Malaysia
rebuked the "radical and irresponsible opinions" of the Chinese relatives, and said that they
"[did] not represent the views of Chinese people and the Chinese government".[250] The
ambassador also strongly criticised Western media for having "published false news, stoked
conflict and even spread rumours" to the detriment of relatives and of SinoMalaysian
relations.[190] On the other hand, a US Department of Defense official criticized China for what he
perceived as providing apparently false leads that detracted from the search effort and wasted
time and resources.[251][252]
Chinese have boycotted most things Malaysian, including vacations and singers, in protest of
Malaysia's handling of the Flight 370 investigation.[253][254] Bookings on Malaysia Airlines from
China, where the majority of passengers were from, were down 60% in March .[217] In late March,
several major Chinese ticketing agenciesELong,, Qunar and Mangobanned sale of
airline tickets to Malaysia[253][255] and several large Chinese travel agencies reported a 50% drop
in tourists compared to the same period the year before.[220] China is the third largest source of
visitors for Malaysia, accounting for 1.79 million tourists.[220] One market analyst predicted a 2040% drop in Chinese tourists to Malaysia, resulting in a loss of 4-8 billion yuan (RM2.1-4.2
billion; US$650 million-1.3 billion).[220][256]
The boycotts have largely been led or supported by celebrities.[220][257] Film star Chen Kun posted
a message to Weibowhere he has 70 million followersstating: "I...will start a boycott from my
inner heart on any commercials and travel relating to Malaysia. This will last...until the Malaysian
government takes down their clown-like mask and tells the truth."[220] The post was shared over
70,000 times and drew over 30,000 comments.[220] Over 337,000 people retweeted a tweet from
TV host Meng Fei, which said "Ive never been to Malaysia and I do not plan to go there in the
future. If you feel the same, please retweet this message."[220]
Ironically, China & Malaysia had dubbed 2014 to be the "Malaysia-China Friendship Year" to
celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.[255]

Air transport authorities[edit]

This section
requires expansionwith:

Issues with blackboxes

(real-time streaming, length
of recording)
Concern that transponders
can be disabled
tracking of flights (out of
radar range).(October 2014)

In June 2014 the International Air Transport Association said it was working on implementing
new measures to track aircraft in flight in real time. A special panel was considering a range of
options including the production of equipment especially designed to ensure real time tracking.
There was a call for automated transponders after the attacks of 11 September 2001; no
changes were made as aviation experts preferred flexible control, in case of malfunctions or
electrical emergencies.[258] It was expected to provide a report to the International Civil Aviation
Organization on 30 September 2014, but on that day said that the report would be delayed citing
the need for further clarification on some issues.[259][260]
In May 2014, Inmarsat said it would offer its tracking service for free to all aircraft equipped with
an Inmarsat satellite connection and announced a service that will allow the transmitting of black
box data to expert when an aircraft goes missing.[261] Inmarsat has also changed the time period
for handshakes with their terminals from one hour to 15 minutes.[140]:2
In August 2014, Deutsche Welle questioned various aviation safety organisations on measures
they are hoping to implement to avoid another aircraft loss such as that of Flight 370.
The European Aviation Safety Agency said its new regulations say that the transmitting time of
underwater locating devices fitted to aircraft must range from 3090 days. The agency proposed
a new underwater locating device with a larger transmitting range to be fitted to aircraft flying
over oceans.[262]

Timeline of events[edit]






Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Malaysia and Malaysia

Airlines confirm Subang Air Traffic Control outside Kuala Lumpur

lost contact with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on 8 March 2014 at

02:40 local time (on 7 March 2014 at 18:40 UTC), later corrected to
01:30 local time (17:30 UTC) located at

7 March

63305N 1032039E[263]

Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities jointly searching in the Gulf


of Thailand area; China dispatches two maritime rescue ships to

the South China Sea.[264]

An international search and rescue mission mobilised, focusing


on Gulf of Thailand. Natuna Islands archipelago and South China

Sea. Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Singapore and Indonesia.

Malaysia Airlines releases passenger manifest of Malaysia Airlines

8 March

Flight 370.[265]
Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on
Flight 370, are not in fact on board. Officials in both countries say
that each had his passport stolen.[266]

The search zone expanded, to include areas in the Strait of

9 March


Malacca as military radar tracking indicates aircraft might have

turned west from its flight plan and flight path.[267]






INTERPOL confirms that at least two passengers are found to have

been travelling on stolen passports registered in its databases.[268]

Ten Chinese satellites deployed in the search. Oil slicks on the

surface of the South China Sea test negative for jet fuel.

10 March


Malaysia Airlines announces it will give US$5,000 to the relatives of

each passenger.

INTERPOL says that two false identities are not linked to the

11 March

China activates the International Charter on Space and Major


Chinese satellite images of possible debris from Flight 370 in the

South China Sea at

6.7N 105.63E released, but surface

search finds no wreckage.[269] Malaysian government receives

Inmarsat info that Flight 370 pinged for hours after ACARS went

12 March



Chinese government criticises Malaysia for inadequate answers

regarding Flight 370.




Royal Malaysian Air Force chief says that an aircraft plotted on

military radar crossed the Malay Peninsula after changing course,
towards a waypoint called GIVAL at 2:15 local time (18:15 UTC, 7
Investigation March), 200 miles (320 km) northwest of Penang Island off
Malaysia's west coast. It followed standard aviation corridors.
Search and rescue efforts being stepped up in Andaman
Sea and Bay of Bengal.[43][270]


Investigation concludes that Flight 370 was still under human

control after it lost ground control contact.

14 March

MAS retires the MH370/MH371 flight number pair.[271]

New phase of multi-national search and rescue operations within

two areas in the northern and southern "corridors". Twenty-six
countries involved, among the northern corridor countries
are Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, China,Thailand, including South

China Sea and Gulf of Thailand. The southern corridor

covers Indonesia, Australia, and the Indian Ocean.[272][273]

15 March
India continues search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; Malaysia
ends hunt in South China Sea.[274]

Investigation Malaysian police search the homes of both of the aircraft's pilots.


16 March




Twenty-five countries are involved in the search. India ends its

search in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.[275]

Search area reported by Malaysian authorities to be 2,000,000

square miles (5,200,000 km2), as a belt beneath the last possible
17 March


arc position stretching from Kazakhstan over Indonesia to the

southern part of the Indian Ocean.[272]Australia pledges to lead a
search from Sumatra to the southern Indian Ocean.[276]

China starts a search operation in its own territory. Australia

conducts an aerial search through waters West and North of Cocos
18 March


Islands and Christmas Island (close to Indonesia). Australia also

conducts its first aerial search of the southern Indian
Ocean,[277] roughly 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) southwest
of Perth.[71]

Australia searches the southern Indian Ocean with three aircraft

19 March


and three merchant ships,[278] transiting through a slightly revised

search area of 305,000 square kilometres (118,000 sq mi) about
2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) southwest of Perth.[279]

Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, told parliament that the


"new and credible information" had emerged from expert analysis

of satellite imagery.[280]

20 March


Five aircraft and a fourth (merchant) ship are dispatched to




440302S 911327E.[281]

Chinese satellite image taken on 18 March shows a possible object

measuring 22.5 by 13 metres (74 by 43 ft) at
22 March


445730S 901340E, approximately 3,170 kilometres (1,970 mi)

west of Perth and 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the earlier sighting,
but did not confirm the object's nature.

Prime Minister of Malaysia announces that Flight 370 is assumed


to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean; Malaysia Airlines

states to families that it assumes "beyond reasonable doubt" there
are no survivors.[282]

24 March

Search area narrowed to the southern part of the Indian Ocean

west and southwest of Australia. The northern search corridor

(northwest of Malaysia) and the northern half of the southern

search corridor (the waters betweenIndonesia and Australia) are
definitively ruled out. An Australian search aircraft spots two objects
at sea, 1,550 miles (2,490 km) southwest of Perth.[283]

French satellite images captured on 23 March show 122 possible


pieces of debris[20] at

444124S 902519.20E,

444138.45S 902931.20E and

444010.20S 903625.20E.[284]

26 March


UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) heads a team of

investigators from other states as part of an international effort




supporting the Malaysian authorities in accordance with

the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) code.[285][286]

The search area narrows to roughly 76,000 square kilometres

27 March


(29,000 sq mi). Thai satellite images, captured 2426 March show

floating objects 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of the French
observations.[287] Five ships from Australia and China are engaged.

Search shifts to a new 319,000-square-kilometre (123,000 sq mi)

28 March


area 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) northeast of the previous search


Malaysia announces that an international panel will be formed

29 March


under United Nations protocols to investigate the Flight 370


Prime Minister of Australia announces newly formed Joint Agency

30 March


Coordination Centre (JACC) headed by Angus Houston.[291] Military

air crew from Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand,
South Korea, and the United States are actively engaged.[292]

Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 detects a pulse signal at

5 April


25S 101E.[293][294][295][296] Ocean Shield also picks up two longer

lasting signals.[22][297]

8 April


Ocean Shield picks up two further signals 3,500 metres deep, close




to those of 5 April.[22][298]

Another signal is acquired by a sonobuoy deployed near the Ocean

Shield signal acquisitions.[299] JACC declares the contact unlikely to
be related to Flight 370.[300] Hydrographic survey ship
10 April


HMS Echo arrives on scene to provide advanced computer

analysis of Ocean Shield collected sonar data and to measure the
thermoclines in the area to predict the trajectory of the detected

An oil slick is found 5.5 km from the estimated location of the pings
by Ocean Shield.[301] Ocean Shield ceases towed passive sonar
14 April


operations; the AUV Bluefin-21 is deployed with side-scan sonar to

search for wreckage on the ocean floor,[302] but its mission is
automatically aborted on reaching its maximum operating depth.[303]

15 April


18 April


Bluefin-21 resumes scanning after its abortive initial mission.[303]

The oil slick discovered four days earlier is determined by an

Australian laboratory analysis not to be related to Flight 370.[304]

Debris consisting of riveted metal sheets washes up on the

24 April


Western Australian coast. This is later confirmed to be unrelated to

Flight 370.[305]

28 April


PM Abbott and Angus Houston of JACC announce that a larger

area of the ocean floor would now be searched and there would be




a suspension of the aerial search due to the likelihood that any

wreckage would have sunk.[306][307][308]

The US Navy extends contract for Bluefin-21 by four weeks.[309]

5 May


12 May


22 May


Bluefin-21 resumes search after repair.[311]

27 May


Inmarsat satellite data released.[312]

Searchers say two of the four 'pings' they thought were from flight
recorder ULBs may not have been from the flight recorder.[310]

Final Bluefin mission completed with nothing found in the area of

28 May


the supposed pings heard on 5 April; a day later Australian

Transport Safety Bureau rules out area as final resting place of
Flight 370.[313]

4 June


Australian researchers release recording of an underwater sound

that could have been that of Flight 370 hitting the water.[314]

A Malaysian minister announces that families of the missing

12 June


passengers will receive $50,000 per person as an interim



17 June




Inmarsat states that it has pinpointed the most likely end of Flight
370 in an unsearched area of the Southern Indian Ocean.[316]

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) announces that a new

20 June


search will concentrate on the area identified by Inmarsat, south of

the previous search site.[317]

British director of commercial operations for Malaysia Airlines,

24 June


Hugh Dunleavy says that he believes Flight 370 ended somewhere

in the Southern Indian Ocean but warns that the search operation
could take decades.[318]

Australia announced a new search area of up to

60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi) in the southern Indian Ocean, based on
a report[dead link] by the ATSB. A bathymetric survey, already

underway, of the region will take around three months to complete;

the new underwater search is expected to begin in August.
Australia & Malaysia are working on a Memorandum of
Understanding to cover financial and co-operation arrangements

26 June

for search and recovery activities.[319]

Among other details, the ATSB report concluded that an


unresponsive crew or hypoxia event "best fit the available

evidence"[13]:34 for the 5-hour period of the flight as it travelled south
over the Indian Ocean,[13]:34 likely on autopilot.[15][16][152][320]




Malaysian Defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein announces

6 July


that Malaysia will be deploying more ships and equipment to assist

in the search.[321]

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), flying from Amsterdam to Kuala

17 July


Lumpur crashes in Ukraine. A Malaysian minister says this will not

affect the search for Flight 370.[322]

The head of the JACC, who is co-ordinating the search effort for
21 July


Flight 370, is sent to Ukraine to oversee the recovery of the

remains of the passengers of MH17.[323]

Australia awards Fugro a AU$50 million contract to conduct a

6 August


search of 60,000 km2 of seafloor near Broken Ridge starting in

September. They will be assisted by one Chinese & four Malaysian

14 August


20 September Search

6 October


A couple is arrested after taking 20,059 from the HSBC bank

accounts of Flight 370 passengers.[326]

Zhu Kezhen finished bathymetric survey operations and began

return passage to China.[327]

The fifth phase of the search begins. GO Phoenix, which left port
at Jakarta on 24 September, begins work about 1800 km west of




Western Australia.[328][329][330]

23 October


Fugro Discovery commenced search operations.[327]

Fugro Equator ends its bathymetric survey operations and

commenced passage to Fremantle, where it will be refitted and
26 October


mobilized to join GO Phoenix and Fugro Discover in the underwater

search. Over 150,000 square kilometres (58,000 sq mi) of seafloor
have been surveyed. If necessary, bathymetric survey operations
may recommence in the future.[327]

In popular culture[edit]
Several documentaries have been produced about the flight. The Smithsonian Channel aired a
one-hour documentary about the flight on 6 April 2014, titled Malaysia 370: The Plane That
Vanished.[331][332] The Discovery Channel broadcast a one-hour documentary about Flight 370 on
16 April 2014 titled Flight 370: The Missing Links.[333][334]
An episode of the television documentary series Horizon entitled Where is Flight MH370? was
broadcast on 17 June 2014 on BBC Two. The programme, narrated by Amanda Drew,
documents how the aircraft disappeared, what experts believe happened to it, and how the
search has unfolded. The program also examines such new technologies as black box
streaming and ADSB, which may help prevent similar disappearances in the future. It concludes
by noting that Ocean Shield had spent two months searching 850 square kilometres (330 sq mi)
of ocean, but that it had searched far to the north of the Inmarsat "hotspot" on the final arc, at
approximately 28 degrees south, where the aircraft was most likely to have crashed.[335] On 8
October 2014, a modified version of the Horizon program was broadcast in the US by PBS as an
episode of Nova, entitled Why Planes Vanish and with different narrator.[336][337][338]
The first fictional account of the mystery was Scott Maka's MH370: A Novella, published on the
three-month anniversary of the aircraft's disappearance.[339]