Map for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 showing targeted areas in the southern Indian Ocean
The loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 may end up as one of history’s mysteries. As the massive multinational search effort enters a new phase, there is virtually nothing to show for it so far. Since Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, no wreckage, no trace of a crash, no survivors, no “black box” has been found. The airliner was carrying 227 passengers from 14 nations, the majority of whom were Chinese citizens. Air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with the plane less than an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China. Search-and-rescue operations began immediately for the airliner, which was presumed to have crashed over water. The probe initially included the Gulf of Thailand, the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, and the Andaman Sea. The search effort then concentrated on the southern Indian Ocean, southwest of Perth, Australia, though a late-breaking announcement by the firm GeoResonance may divert some attention to the northern Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Bangladesh.
Despite intense speculation about what happened to the Boeing 777, investigators are no closer to an explanation after nearly two months. Industry experts who analyzed data pertaining to the flight concluded that the airplane’s transponders, which emit signals to ATC, were apparently turned off on purpose. The plane was then tracked by various radar systems and continued to send data that was picked up by a satellite. In the investigation and search, an array of technology has been deployed, from sonar-capable underwater drone subs to mineral-detecting “multispectral” satellite imagery.
Despite the inability of all concerned to learn the whereabouts of the airplane, anyone who has followed the story has received an education of sorts in international aviation and airport security. Thanks to the 24/7 news outlets, we have learned about the use of GPS to track—or not—international flights, and the screening—or lack thereof—of passengers with stolen passports.
Image credit: © Copyright 2013, Commonwealth of Australia
- Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
This website claims to have “complete coverage”—that is, all you need to know about what we do and don’t know about this history mystery.
(Source: CNN; accessed June 22, 2016)
- What Became of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?
Listen to this podcast by On the Media’s Bob Garfield on the mystery of Flight 370; transcript can be found here, and a related follow-up story—about the perils of nonstop news coverage—here.
(Source: On the Media, March 14, 2014)
- Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: GeoResonance Survey Company Says “Wreckage of a Commercial Airliner” Found
This report tells of an independent analysis that points away from the main area of the international search efforts—to the north, off the Bangladeshi coast.
(Source: CBS News, April 29, 2014)
- Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Extra! Extra! Read all about it.
(Source: Wikipedia; accessed April 30, 2014)