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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS / FAQ has been inserted into Post #1 of this thread.
Malaysia Airlines has provided the following contact numbers for passengers' families: +603 7884 1234 (Kuala Lumpur) or +8610 6437 6249 (Beijing)
This thread now begins with posts made after 0536 UTC 22 March 2014..
N.B. Please do not alter the above message.
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Please report all times in UTC - Coordinated Universal Time (GMT - Greenwich Mean Time, Z - Zulu time) in order to
avoid confusion caused by complex time zone boundaries in the incident area.
SUMMARY: MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew early morning March 8 2014. After what appeared to be a normal departure, a handoff to Vietnamese ATC was not finalized - communications and secondary radar data no longer were transmitted. The aircraft has been assumed to fly on for 7 hours on an initially circuitous route and to have been lost at sea in the southern Indian Ocean, 1,500 mi / 2,500 km sw of Perth.
No operating theory has been put forth that provides a probable explanation of who has flown the aircraft nor for what possible purpose as of 27 March. Link to BBC written and video summary of the flight of MH370.
In reverse chronological order:
*All times regarding activities within the search area are expressed in Australian Western Standard Time (AWST). Please note all times are approximate.
Friday, 11 April 2014 - pm AWST (JACC)
The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd), said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon has been determined as not related to an aircraft underwater locator beacon.
Friday, 11 April 2014 (BBC and other sources)
Australian leader Tony Abbott says authorities are confident that signals heard in the Indian Ocean are coming from the "black box" flight recorders of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. Link
Thursday, 10 April 2014 - pm AWST (JACC)
The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd), has confirmed that whilst conducting an acoustic search this afternoon a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft has detected a possible signal in the vicinity of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield.
"The acoustic data will require further analysis overnight but shows potential of being from a man-made source," Air Chief Marshal Houston (Ret'd) said.
"I will provide a further update if, and when, further information becomes available."
Shape of ocean floor / Profile of sea bed between signals (2 and 1) - BBC
Wednesday, 9 April 2014 (BBC)
An Australian vessel heard the signals again on Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Signals heard earlier had also been further analysed by experts who concluded they were from "specific electronic equipment".
Experts at the Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre had also analysed the first two signals heard over the weekend.
Their analysis showed that a "stable, distinct and clear signal" was detected. Experts had therefore assessed that it was not of natural origin and was likely from specific electronic equipment.
Wednesday, 9 April 2014—am AWST (JACC)
Up to 11 military aircraft, four civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today AMSA has planned a search area of about 75,423 square kilometres.
The centre of the search area is approximately 2261 kilometres north west of Perth.
A weak front is moving in from the south east, expected to bring scattered showers.
The underwater search continues today, with ADV Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area, and Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.
Tuesday, 8 April 2014—am AWST (JACC)
Up to eleven military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
AMSA has directed the search of one large search area today of approximately 77,580 square kilometres, 2268 kilometres north west of Perth.
Good weather is expected for searching throughout the day.
The underwater search continues, with ADV Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area, and Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.
Monday, 7 April 2014
An Australian military vessel has detected signals consistent with those emitted by an aircraft black box, indicating a potential breakthrough in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Two separate signals have been detected by Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield in the northern part of the search area.
In what he called "a most promising lead", Air Chief Marshal (ret) Angus Houston revealed that "the pinger locator has detected signals consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes". (Sydney Morning Herald, and others)
Monday, 7 April 2014—am AWST (JACC)
Up to nine military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The search area is expected to be approximately 234,000 square kilometres.
Good weather is expected throughout the day with showers in the afternoon although this is not expected to affect the search.
ADV Ocean Shield is continuing investigations in its own area.
HMS Echo is en route to assist the Chinese vessel Haixun 01, which detected pulse signals in the Indian Ocean.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia.
Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (JACC dirrector): "This is an important and encouraging lead". BBC Video.
Sunday, 6 April 2014—am AWST(JACC)
Up to 10 military planes, 2 civil planes and 13 ships will assist in Sunday's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has three separate search areas planned for today about 2,000 kilometres north west of Perth, which total approximately 216,000 square kilometres.
Weather in the search area is expected to be good with a cloud base of 2,500 feet and visibility greater than 10 kilometres.
Reports overnight that the Chinese ship, Haixun 01, has detected electronic pulse signals in the Indian Ocean related to MH370 cannot be verified at this point in time.
Saturday 5 April 2014:
The Chinese maritime patrol ship Haixun 01 has picked up a 37.5 kHz pulse signal, according to Chinese media. Though there is no evidence it is from the MH370 "black box", the frequency is the same as used by fight recorders. (Xinhuanet, others)
5 April 2014—am - (JACC)
~10 military planes, three civil jets and 11 ships participated in today's search. ADV Ocean Shield and HMS Echo continued underwater search operations searching with TPL-25 towed pinger locator.
Weather was fair, with possible showers.
Friday 4 April 2014—JACC
Up to 10 military planes, four civil jets and nine ships participated in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. One civil aircraft operated to provide communications relay.
The weather was is fair, with visibility approximately 10 kilometres and a cloud base between 1000 and 2000 feet.
Two ships, the HMAS Ocean Shield and HMS Echo, towed TPL-25 "towed pinger locators" to search for the "black box" 37.5 kHz signal; the "black box" (Flight Data and Cockpit Voice Recorder assembly) is powered for approximately 30 days.
Thursday 3 April 2014—am JACC
Up to eight planes (one dropping marker buoys) and nine ships were deployed on the SAR mission, an area of about 223,000 square kilometres, 1680 kilometres west north-west of Perth. Weather fair, with visibility approximately 10 kilometres, however the southern area may experience some isolated showers. No new findings today.
Wednesday, 2 April 2014 - JACC
Up to ten planes (one providing relay services) and nine ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. AMSA search area about 221,000 square kilometres,1504 kilometres North West of Perth.
British nuclear-powered Trafalgar class submarine HMS Tireless , with 138 crew including 18 officers, has joined the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; the UK MOD has said it would assist in searchng for the "black box". (BBC)
Monday, 31 March: (AMSA Update #31, 8.00am (AEDT) 0000 UTC
10 aircraft searching, no notable results. The ADV Ocean Shield was scheduled to depart from Perth today. It has now been fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle. Some parts of the search area will experience low cloud and rain throughout the day.
Sunday, March 30, 2014 AEDT: The search activities continued in an area about 1,850 kilometres west of Perth, focused on an area of about 319,000 square kilometres. Eight aircraft were involved in today’s search.
Ten ships arrived or were on station today: HMAS Success, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration ship Haixun 01, China Rescue and Salvage Bureau ship Nan Hai Jiu, and the Chinese Navy vessel Jinggang Shan.All ships in the search area were tasked to locate and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.
Weather in the search area included light showers and low cloud, though search operations are expected to continue.
AMSA Update #28, 30 March 2014: 0645(AEDT)
Debris spotted and identified by ship turned out to be fishing debris - a fishing vessel is missing and the search for the vessel has now been discontinued after finding the debris. - AMSA
Saturday, March 29, HMAS Success, the Chinese Maritime Administration patrol ship, Haixun 01, PLAN vessel Jinggangshan (carrying two helicopters) were active Saturday; the later specifically is searching for debris, oil slicks, lifejackets, etc. Eight aircraft were also launched today. A IL-76 from China spotted some small colourful debris (orange, white and red), dropped a marker and left the debris to be checked by ship - the debris, recovered and checked by Haixun 01, was not related to MH370. Weather began nicely but has been deteriorating today; the search day is over now. (National News Agency of Malaysia, BBC and others.)
The ANZAC class frigate HMAS Toowoomba left Perth this evening and is due to arrive in the search area in about three days.
Friday March 28 local time end of search day: Ten aircraft searched an area of nearly 100,000 sq mi / 256,000 sq km today. Five aircraft spotted debris in the new search area; another aircraft spotted debris 546 km away.
● AMSA announcement PDF
The search area has shifted northeastward ~1,100 km / 700 mi based on the theory the aircraft was flying faster than previously believed (skewing the imputed flight path and decreasing range based on available fuel). The new search area is approximately 123,127 sq mi / 319,000 sq km and around 1,150 mi / 1,850 km west of Perth. Satellites are being redeployed to survey the new search area. (Aviation Herald, Malay Mail online and others; BBC article link)
The Malaysian government is expected to appoint an international panel on aviation security along with a parliament select committee to probe overall airline safety... an official said in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (29 Mar 2014).
Tuesday, 26 Mar, search activities were halted by Sea State 7; resumed Wednesday, Thursday 28 Mar again saw aircraft withdrawn from search activities.
If potential debris is spotted by satellite, further identification must be done by aircraft, and then recovered by ships for analysis. If debris proves positive from MH370, further analysis must determine drift distance and angle to a possible crash site. This all depends on the weather holding as well, though at least the search is no longer focused in the "Roaring Forties".
Soon, a US Navy Towed Pinger Locator will be towed by the HMAS Ocean Shield to try to detect "pings" from the aircraft's "black box", which is actually orange and consists of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (two hour loop) and Flight Data Recorder (25 hours continuous).
● BBC page on "black box" link
● BBC video "black box" search link.
If air and sea search fails, or further narrowing of the search area is required, sonar will be deployed and used. Support and research vessels, some of them with sonar and one with the U. S. autonomous underwater Bluefin 21, will then try to find the wreck amongst the sea bottom topography.
● BBC sonar search video link.
Information reveals that Malaysia Airlines chose not to add an upgrade to aircraft communications ("Swift") that could have continually transmitted aircraft data even with ACARS shut down. Rather than pay the cost of USD $10.90 per flight, MH opted to download the data to a USB thumb drive after the end of a flight, according to various sources. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...f19_story.html
Monday, 24 March, Malaysian prime minister announced that new satellite data showed that flight MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean. In a brief statement he said: "It is with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that... flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean." The ongoing multinational search operation would continue as they seek answers to the questions which remain.
Partners Inmarsat and SITA AIRCOM, UK and US aviation safety and security officials have determined MH370 may have flown up to seven hours beyond the point of last radar location; MH370 apparently broadcast automated hourly engine maintenance code "pings" received by satellite operator Inmarsat.
New satellite analysis techniques developed by British firm Inmarsat and the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have "concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean", said Malaysian PM Najib Razak.
"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."
Debris is being searched for, but the USA is sending a Towed Pinger Locator towed sled equipped to find "pingers" such as the "black box" pinger, which is designed to be powered for 25 - 30 days.
A number of aircraft, including four long range commercial planes, three RAAF and one RNZAF P-3 Orion anti-submarine surveillance aircraft, one USN P8 Poseidon, two Chinese IL-76 and two JASDF P-3 Orion aircraft are searching, joined by a Korean (ROKAF) P-3 Orion and C-130H. The ASW aircraft have observation ports for observers, Magnetic Anomaly Detector gear and can deploy various sonobuoys, etc.
Chinese, British and Australian naval ships have joined Australian supply ship HMAS Success, including China's ice-breaking Xuě Lóng (Snow Dragon) research vessel, (involved in the recent Antarctic rescue of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy) and three Chinese PLAN warships QianDaoHu, KunLunShan and Haikou, as well as merchant ship Zhonghai Shaohua, are participants as well. The U.K. is sending HMS Echo to join the search (has departed the Maldives), China is sending more vessels.
The HMAS Ocean Shield will be fitted on 28 Mar with the US "TPL" (Towed Pinger Locator) and "...is expected to reach the search area by 5 April, giving it only two days before the pinger's batteries possibly start to fade at 30 days."
The US is sending a UUV (autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle) Bluefin-21, designed by Bluefin Robotics, equipped with side-scanning sonar and a "multi-beam echo sounder" which can examine underwater objects in detail and operate in depths of up to 4,500 metres (14,700 ft) (BBC).
Malaysia has asked the FBI to help recover data it said was deleted from a home flight simulator belonging to the plane's chief pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, but otherwise no evidence has emerged to implicate him or the crew. FBI announced on 26 Mar a couple of more days are needed, but so far they have found no forensic evidence against Capt. Zaharie.
Last updated: Friday April 11 0915 UTC / 1715 AWST (changes made since 00:01 Thursday UTC are in highlighted text) or indigo.
Please continue to use indigo text to highlight your changes until the next maintenance period (after ~00:01 UTC Friday).
Summary of events in the FAQ (Post #1) and what we think we know as of 14 Mar, 1727 UTC in this post.
Aviation Herald — possibly the best and most objective summary in general, latest updates are highlighted in yellow — last updated on Sunday, Apr 6, 2014 at 11:40 UTC.
Please Edit and Update as Needed! Please Use Indigo Text to Highlight Changes!
NOTE: While links to relevant and reasonably reliable news sources are welcome, please take a few minutes to scroll back a couple dozen posts to make sure a similar story hasn't already been posted. There have been many well-meaning posters eager to share “breaking news” that ends up having been posted by others hours before. Thanks for helping us to avoid redundancy and repetition!
Time Frame Confusion
Sources may appear to be reporting conflicting timeframes for various stages of the incident. However, this is likely due to confusion about time zone changes between Malaysia (last ATC contact) and Vietnam (next ATC contact) - see time zone map here for boundaries. Please report times in UTC/GMT wherever possible.
SAR / Search and Rescue Recovery Operations Investigation
NOTE: Discussion of opinions and perspectives on SAR costs and timeliness, which involves coordination of 26 nations' civil and military authorities, is beyond the scope of this thread. Users have been advised to shift such discussion to OMNI - see post #2047. Thanks for your cooperation.
Reports indicate latest satellite ping around 0811 MYT (0011 GMT/UTC/Zulu), or nearly 7 hours after contact was lost.
Boeing and Rolls Royce have teams on site; the NTSB (USA) and UK AAIB are involved due to US and UK manufacture of aircraft and engines, France's BEA due to AF447 similarities and other resources are likely to be invited to assist. The U. S. FBI has become involved in investigating the crew, passengers and ground staff.
Reports that the aircraft climbed to 45,000 feet, above its service ceiling, and as low as 5,000 ft remain unverified. More here and in posts #3894 on.
Malaysia Airlines has issued a statement that the shipment of lithium-ion batteries was in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements, where it is classified as "non-dangerous goods".
Disproven Reports to Date
Early reports that the plane had landed in Nanming, Vietnam or Nanning, China, have been disclaimed by Chinese authorities and MH leadership.
All reports of possible aircraft debris, up to and including a possible debris field off the southeast coast of Vietnam, China SASTIND satellite imagery from 9 Mar debris reported 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude investigated 12 Mar have been discredited. The latter is now "a mistake", according to SASTIND. Read more here.
Possible fuel slicks identified early on have been tested and determined NOT to be aircraft fuel.
Various life rafts found in the SAR ops area have been unrelated to the missing aircraft. See one example at this post.
Reports of another pilot contacting MH370 have been discredited.
Reports of passenger cell phones still ringing when called are almost certainly an artifact of international telephony - see explanation by one FTer at post #1832.
All claimed ground observations of the aircraft (Malaysia, Vietnam oil platform, etc.) data are unverified at this time.
Beware of data from sites like FlightRadar24, FlightAware, etc. These data are not entirely reliable, as they are synthesized; erroneous readings may be present on some sites. The aircraft could not climb to 49,500 feet as some sites may indicate, as this is considerably above the aircraft's design ceiling.
Authorities deny that five other passengers checked in for the flight, but did not board, stating the pax were actually no-shows who never checked in, and that no baggage was loaded for these five pax. Four standby passengers were accommodated.
Reports of seismic readings being possibly related to the aircraft crashing into seafloor have been described by experts as improbable. USGS records a natural earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra - info here
Other speculation (EMP, shot down, etc.) has been mentioned in the thread but currently has no basis, and is not appropriate for this thread. Please observe the moderator note at the beginning of this wiki.
NOTE: flight number MH370/371 will be renumbered MH318/319 effective 14 March 2014
!!! REMINDER !!!
This thread is about the loss of MH370. In depth discussion of unrelated topics — geopolitics, passport theft, aviation security, airport security procedures, etc. — belongs in other fora. A few include:
OMNI/PR: Discussion of perspectives on politics and religion, including geopolitics and terrorism (requires 180 days on FT and 180 constructive posts prior to admission)
Programs: UA Silver, VX Silver, HH Gold, Hyatt Gold
Frustrated Flight 370 Families Start Indiegogo Whistle-Blower Fund
Nearly 3 months have passed since MH370 disappeared. The families of the pane's passengers and crew have become frustrated with the search efforts and the lack of results, so they have launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo. The total goal for the campaign is $5 million dollars. $3 million dollars will be set aside for a whistle-blower who exposes key information about the missing plane. $2 million will be used to fund private investigators who will follow up on any promising leads.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today signed a contract with deep water survey company, Fugro Survey Pty Ltd (Fugro), to conduct a bathymetric survey of the seafloor in the search area for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 (MH370).
The bathymetric survey will provide a map of the underwater search zone, charting the contours, depths and composition of the seafloor in water depths up to 6,000 metres. The survey will provide crucial information to help plan the deep water search for MH370 which is scheduled to commence in August.
Fugro will use the state-of-the-art vessel MV Fugro Equator which is equipped with a deep-water multibeam echo sounder system and carries expert survey personnel to undertake the survey operations.
MV Fugro Equator will join the Chinese PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen, which recently began conducting bathymetric survey operations in the search area.
Zhu Kezhen is currently in Fremantle for repairs to its equipment.
The two vessels are anticipated to take around three months to complete the bathymetric survey of the 60,000 square kilometre search zone.
As the lead agency in the search for MH370, the ATSB commissioned Fugro to undertake the bathymetric survey through a limited tender process. The survey vessel will be directed by the ATSB. The ship will send survey data to the ATSB and Geoscience Australia which will be used to progressively build a map of the search area.
The ATSB has also invited organisations to submit proposals to conduct the underwater search through a request for tender process. The Request for Tender was released on AusTender on 4 June 2014 with the closing date and time for submissions being 5:30pm AEST on 30 June 2014.
More detailed information about the search (including the bathymetric survey) can be found on the ATSB's website www.atsb.gov.au/mh370.
Australian officials announced plans to conduct a deep-water survey in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft while the two governments met to discuss how to split the bill for the search itself. ...
It was pretty well done and covered a lot of the material discussed above.
Very interesting to see the Inmarsat boffins who did the analysis talking about it. The main oddity for me was where one of them said they feared that the received transmissions might be an elaborate hoax, but no comment as to how they eliminated that possibility.
Also interesting to get the behind the scenes insight that HMS Echo reported that it had determined that its own black box ping detections were likely to be erroneous .
Last edited by EsherFlyer; Jun 27, 14 at 4:43 pm.
Reason: Added 'HMS'
This media release was placed on the JACC website today:
Media Release by The Hon Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister
26 June 2014
Today Australia, Malaysia and China announced the search area in the southern Indian Ocean, which represents the highest priority for future search efforts for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
An expert satellite working group has reviewed all existing information in order to define a search zone of up to 60,000 square kilometers along the arc in the southern Indian Ocean.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the latest search area refinement had involved the efforts and expertise of specialists from around the world.
“Specialists have analysed satellite communications information—information which was never initially intended to have the capability to track an aircraft—and performed extremely complex calculations,” Mr Truss said.
“The new priority area is still focused on the seventh arc, where the aircraft last communicated with satellite. We are now shifting our attention to an area further south along the arc based on these calculations.
“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will today release a report outlining the basis on which this search area has been defined.”
Deputy Prime Minister Truss said the search for MH370 continues with a bathymetric survey—or mapping of the ocean floor—in the search area, to be followed by a comprehensive search of the sea floor.
“The bathymetric survey has already commenced, with the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen and the Australian-contracted vessel Fugro Equator conducting operations in the areas provided by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau,” Mr Truss said.
“It will take around three months to complete the bathymetric survey.
“The underwater search will aim to locate the aircraft and any evidence to assist with the Malaysian investigation of the disappearance of MH370.”
It is expected that the underwater search will begin in August and take up to 12 months to complete.
Malaysia and Australia are developing a Memorandum of Understanding to determine the areas of cooperation in the search and recovery activities, including financial arrangements.
Malaysia will shortly be announcing the details of the contracted assets that may be deployed as Malaysian Government Furnished Equipment for use in both the bathymetric survey and the search of the sea floor. Survey equipment that has been identified so far includes towed side scan sonar, a multi-beam echo sounder and a sub bottom profiler.
Australia, Malaysia and China reaffirm their commitment to continue to search for MH370 and to keep families informed of developments.
MH370—Definition of Underwater Search Areas Report PDF: 4487 KB ReadSpeaker
Now, two months after pausing its search, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is ready to reboot the massive probe. It is poised to select among bids from the world's most-advanced deep-water specialists, including offshore oil-and-gas companies, maritime research institutions and treasure hunters eager to use their technologies and experience to solve the Flight 370 riddle—and potentially raise their own profiles in the process. The ATSB is expected to choose one or more of the bidders over the next several weeks before relaunching the search with $56 million in funding in late August