Five things you should know about MH370

Five things you should know about MH370

It has been 16 months since the disappearance of the MH370. With debris now found on Reunion Island, experts are trying to determine whether it came from the missing plane. In the mean time, here's what you need to know

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The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion maritime search aircraft as it looked for flight MH370.
The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion maritime search aircraft as it looked for flight MH370.
Photo: Reuters

A piece of debris may be the first clue to solving the mystery of the fated flight's disappearance. Here's what you need to know about the events as they unfolded, leading up to the plane vanishing, and the following search for answers:

1. Fruitless search

Underwater drones, with scanning capabilities and vessels meant to track the the black box were launched shortly after the crash in an attempt to find the fuselage or locate the black box. The black box has a built-in locating system, which sends out pings every second. However, the battery only lasts 30 days, and search teams were unable to find it before the battery ran out of power. In addition to the technology used to find the plane, several boats and airplanes trawled the search area off of the western coast of Australia.


2. Just the facts

Passengers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Photo: EPA


Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 departed from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8th, 2014. About 44 minutes into the flight, the plane deviated from its route and turned south-west. An hour and a half into the flight, MH370 disappeared off of the radar over the Andaman sea.


3. Who was there

Chinese relatives of MH370 passengers pray for answers.
FAZRY ISMAIL/EP


There were 239 people on board the MH370, including 12 crew members. Of the passengers, 152 were Chinese citizens, 50 were Malaysian, and 1 was a Hong Kong citizen. A group of Chinese artists returning from their art exhibition in Malaysia were on board with family members.


4. Last known location

The search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
Photo: EPA


Using satellites, experts were able to identify that MH370 either flew north-west, towards Kazakhstan or flew south-west, and ended its journey in the Indian ocean. They concluded that the plane went down somewhere off of the western coast of Australia. Strong currents meant that search teams were unable to find any wreckage in the area that was thought to be the crash site.


5. What we don't know

A Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 mural painting at Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Photo: EPA


It is unknown as to why the plane deviated from its course to Beijing. There was no bad weather in the region, but the pilot and co-pilot did not communicate with air traffic controllers. There are many theories as to why the plane changed its path; some are far fetched. It is commonly accepted that the disappearance of MH370 was a deliberate act by someone on board, most likely the pilot, Zaharie Shah. The motives are not known. Confirmation of suspicions will come with the retrieval of the black box, which logs all flight data and statistics.


Check for live updates on we know about the possible discovery of MH370 debris so far, and follow @youngposthk on Twitter.

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