An aircraft full of 239 people went missing mid-flight as it was heading for Beijing from Malaysia. The fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 remains a mystery as search operations continue over the seas. This is a full coverage in short of the missing flights.
I am a huge fan of air travel. I’ve done it only a few times over the course of two weeks in October 2013. It’s adventurous; but at the same time it’s more dangerous than most other form of transportation. Out of my curiosity, I’m going to update this post (latest at the bottom for better reading experience) continuously for a reasonable time as the story of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight continues to unfold. You may bookmark/share this post and come back for new updates.
Last Update: 12:27 PM (UTC), March 10: The Search Continues
Flight 370 goes missing
On Saturday morning, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, took off from Kuala Lumpur heading to Beijing when it went missing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members. Authorities said in separate statements that the air traffic lost contact with the Flight 370 as it was flying over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Nobody as of now knows what happened next. Controllers said that the pilots did not indicate that there was any problem, nor any distress signal was received. Despite the Boeing 777 being a giant aircraft full of communication mechanisms, the plane simply vanished mid-air, in the true sense of the words.
According to the airline, of a total of 239 people on board the Flight 370, 12 were crew members. The plane carried people from more than a dozen nationalities including the United States with the majority being from China or Taiwan and Malaysia. However five other passengers did not board the flight as their luggage was removed before the flight took off.
As several authorities continue the search and rescue mission over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam (now focused on Andaman sea), a deeper look at the list of passengers has unveiled unnerving details. At least two passports used to board the aircraft are found to have been stolen. Adding more questions to the revealing, both passports were listed on INTERPOL’s database as stolen passports.
Authorities are now looking into how two people — whose true identities yet remain unknown — were able to get past the security with passports that were not just stolen but also in the database of INTERPOL. According to CNN, both passports were stolen in Thailand — one of Australian and the other of an Italian national.
If it was checked, the passengers carrying these passports would have been caught, and if it is a terrorist activity, perhaps it could have been avoided.
However, although INTERPOL and other officials are not discounting this missing flight incident as a terrorist activity, they are not jumping into any conclusions either.
The search continues
A CNN report early today wrote that as many as 34 planes, 40 ships and search crews from ten countries are dispatched for a search and rescue mission over the large area of South China Sea which is the last known location of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Earlier, an image of what appeared to be debris from the flight was published. But the search revealed that those pieces were not from the plane. As of now, according to the director general of the Malaysian civil aviation department, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, not even a single object from the aircraft has been found, “let alone the aircraft.”
The families and relatives of 239 people on board the aircraft have been told by the authorities to expect the worst as it has been 48 hours since the aircraft disappeared.
This post will update (updates reflecting at the bottom) as the story of the missing flight unfolds. Come back for more updates or follow @aisajib on Twitter for latest.