The 10-year unsolved disappearance of MH370 – relatives wait in vain.

10 years have passed since MH370 disappeared, many search efforts and hypotheses have been made, but the answer has still not been found: Where is plane MH370?

Event milestones:

Just after midnight on March 8, 2014, the Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia to Beijing with the flight number MH370 of Malaysia Airlines carrying 239 passengers, reaching a cruise altitude of 10,600m. “Good night, this is Malaysia 370” – the last message of the pilot of flight MH370.

MH370 deviated from its route and disappeared over the Indian Ocean. The largest and most expensive multinational search campaign in history has been carried out, but 10 years later, the biggest mystery in the aviation industry remains unanswered.

Radar data recorded by the Malaysian military shows that when entering the Gulf of Thailand, MH370 increased its altitude to 13,700 m, higher than the allowed flight ceiling, then suddenly changed direction to the west, due to the impact of someone in the cabin.

The plane then descended to 7,000 meters, below normal flight level, as it approached Penang Island, one of Malaysia’s largest islands. There, officials believe the plane gained altitude again as it turned, flying northwest toward the Indian Ocean.

On March 24, 2014, based on Inmarsat satellite signal analysis, the Malaysian government announced that MH370 had flown thousands of kilometers off its predetermined route, toward the southern Indian Ocean. Its journey ended west of the Australian city of Perth and no one on board survived.

In January 2015, Malaysia announced that flight MH370 had an accident, all 239 passengers and crew died, but the plane’s wreckage was never found.

How could a modern Boeing 777, equipped with sophisticated equipment in the era of global satellite tracking and constant communication, disappear without a trace? This is a question that still haunts everyone afraid of flying even normal people.

Knowing where the flight ended and what led up to the accident, of any kind, is important because it is entirely possible that a tragedy could happen again.

Journey to find MH370

– The first search for the missing plane lasted 52 days and was conducted mainly from the air, with 334 flights scouring the sea area of more than 4.4 million square kilometers. Many search options and areas have been changed, but the multinational force still cannot find any traces, despite mobilizing the most modern equipment.

– In January 2017, the governments of Australia, Malaysia and China decided to stop the plane search campaign after reviewing more than 119,000 square kilometers at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. This effort cost $150 million but no results.

– In January 2018, under pressure from the families of passengers and crew members, the Malaysian government began another search, collaborating with the American company Ocean Infinity. The search took place over an area of about 112,000 square kilometers and the campaign ended after several months of searching without results. This has become an obsession for Ocean Infinity, urging the company to constantly innovate search technology and robots, as well as improve maritime expertise to increase search capabilities in the ocean. On March 5, Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity, said: “We feel we can now resume the search for MH370 and have submitted a plan to the Malaysian government.” According to this proposal, the search “not found, no money”, the Malaysian will only have to pay the service fee if Ocean Infinity bring positive results about the traces of plane MH370.

Authorities have not yet found the fuselage, but about 20 pieces of debris believed to be from the plane have been discovered along the coast of the African continent or on the islands of Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues.

– In the summer of 2015, investigators determined that a large object found on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean was a wing part belonging to a Boeing 777 aircraft, so it was likely that it was MH370 debris.

– Another triangular piece of debris made of fiberglass and aluminum with the words “Do not step on” was found in February 2016 on an empty sandy beach along the coast of Mozambique.

– Then, in September 2016, the Australian government confirmed that the piece of plane wing that washed up on the island of Tanzania, East Africa, was from flight MH370. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has matched its identification number to the missing Boeing 777.

The lack of information about what happened to the flight has led public opinion and investigators in different directions. Countless theories have been put forward as to why the plane disappeared.

There is a theory that it is possible that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah intentionally crashed the plane into the sea to commit suicide but the captain’s family and friends completely rejected it because of unfounded. According to related investigations, the entire crew was in a normal state in terms of speech, behavior, and gestures, with absolutely no signs of abnormalities.

This theory brings bad things to the family of the flight pilot as they see Zaharie Ahmad Shah as the cause of the death of 239 passengers. In the struggle to clarify the truth, they also encounter criticism and isolation as well as the malice that occurs in everyday life, forcing them to stay away from the media.

The data recovered from the flight simulator at Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home showed that he had planned a flight route to the southern Indian Ocean. This raises the hypothesis that the pilot may have intentionally steered the plane off course.

Some officials believe the plane ran out of fuel and the pilot tried to make an emergency landing at sea.

Another theory that aviation experts believe is more likely is that the pilot made a mistake and did not intentionally crash the plane into the sea. Zaharie may have encountered problems such as fire or decompression in the cabin and wanted to return the plane to Malaysia, but lost consciousness due to smoke or lack of oxygen.

There is also an assumption that the plane was controlled by a hijacker. Kok Soo Chon, head of the investigation team, said current evidence, including the plane’s initial deviation and the radio being turned off, pointed to “illegal interference” take place. But there is no evidence to show who intervened or why.

Relatives of passengers on missing flight MH370 light candles in remembrance on March 3, 2024
Relatives of passengers on missing flight MH370 light candles in remembrance on March 3, 2024

After more than four years of search and investigation, a 495-page report published in 2018 did not provide any convincing answers about the plane’s fate.

The report also reviewed information on all passengers and captain Zaharie and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, such as their financial status, health, voice on the radio and even their gait when going to work that day. No abnormalities were detected.

Although the mystery has not been solved, through the most mysterious disappearance in world aviation history, the aviation industry has learned a lot from the tragedy and implemented new measures to ensure greater safety. such as adding a low-frequency underwater locator beacon to the aircraft that can transmit signals for at least 90 days, helping search and rescue teams locate survivors at sea. The cockpit voice recorder must retain a minimum of 25 hours of data (previously only 2 hours were required).