MH370: A timeline of tragedy

16 months after its disappearance over the Indian Ocean, wreckage washed up on the African island of Réunion is believed to be that of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. I review the events that have led to this point.

08 MARCH 2014

– 00:42 (local time): MH370 takes off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, bound for Beijing

– 01:19: Final voice contact made; captain replies to air traffic control “Good night. Malaysian 370.”

– 02:22: Last primary radar contact made 230 miles away from Penang, Malaysia

– 07:24: Malaysian Airlines issues a press statement announcing Flight 370 is missing

11 MARCH 2014

– Head of INTERPOL rules out terrorism as a cause of MH370’s disappearance. An article in New Scientist says MH370 “sent at least two bursts of technical data back to the airline before it disappeared”.

18 MARCH 2014

– Australia conducts its first aerial search of the Indian Ocean, 1600 miles from Perth. Satellite images detect objects floating in the ocean, but aircraft dispatched to the area fail to find them.

24 MARCH 2014

– Malaysia Airlines tells families of missing relatives that it assumes beyond reasonable doubt that there are no survivors.

8 APRIL 2014

– Signals thought to be from MH370’s ‘black box’ flight recorders detected. The signals later turn out to be unrelated to the missing plane.

28 APRIL 2014

– Surface search of the suspected crash area suspended. A seafloor sonar survey is completed the following month.

12 JUNE 2014

– The head of the Malaysian government committee to handle the needs of the families of MH370 passengers announce that they will receive an interim compensation package of US$50,000 per person.

8 MARCH 2015

– On the anniversary of the disappearance, Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport releases an interim report, focusing of the factual information relating to the missing flight.

29 JULY 2015

– Aircraft debris, belonging to a Boeing 777, and a suitcase found on French island of Réunion, 3700 miles west of the original search area. The debris has since been flown to mainland France for analysis.

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