Monday March 24, 3:26PM
Family members of the flight's passengers have written a very strongly-worded open letter condemning the Malaysian government's handling of the case.
At 10pm on March 25, the Malaysian prime minister sent a statement to the families of MH370 passengers without any direct evidence that MH370 crashed in the south Indian ocean and no people survived.
From March 8 when they announced that MH370 lost contact to today, 18 days have passed during which the Malaysian government and military constantly tried to delay, deceive the passengers' families and cheat the whole world.
This shameless behaviour not only fooled and hurt the families of the 154 passengers but also misguided and delayed rescue actions, wasting a large quantity of human resources and materials and lost valuable time for the rescue effort.
If the 154 passengers did lose their lives, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and military are the real executioners who killed them. We the families of those on board submit our strongest protest against them.
We will take every possible means to pursue the unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three.
Monday March 24, 10:29AM
On Monday, relatives of the 239 passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had their worst fears confirmed: Flight 370 apparently crashed into the Indian Ocean. Some relatives received a text message confirming as much, and those who were able to attend the scheduled press conference Monday morning were told the same from Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
"Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived,” read the text. “As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean." This was echoed by Razak minutes later.
After more than two weeks of searching, no debris has been confirmed to be Flight 370 — which begs the question: Why is Malaysia so sure? Well, in a press conference minutes later, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak assured press and relatives that new flight data, apparently retrieved by the United Kingdom, confirmed that the plane had flown into a location so remote that it could only be assumed that the flight had crashed into the ocean.
Said Razak: "Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."
Razak added: "We will be holding a press conference tomorrow with further details."
Sunday, March 23, 1:15PM
Despite new satellite images showing possible debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, search parties ended Sunday with no new findings. Foggy conditions had hampered the search earlier in the day, but soon the weather cleared and raised hopes that the missing jetliner would finally be found in a search area around 1500 miles southwest of Perth.
The fog descended again by end of day, however, and efforts were once again thwarted. "Our plan is to continue seeking -- to make sightings from the visual search, looking for the objects identified in the satellite imagery," the Australian Maritime Authority's Scott Young said on Sunday. It will continue to be difficult: the search area encompasses nearly 23,000 square miles. To aid the effort, four more reconnaissance planes are set to join the search tomorrow.
Sunday, March 23, 10:15AM
Officials searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may have come one step closer to finding it on Sunday. French satellite images announced on Sunday show what might be airplane debris from the missing flight floating in the southern Indian Ocean. One of the possible pieces may be as long as 79 feet. A statement released on Facebook by the Malaysian Ministry of Transport read in part:
This morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor. Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre.
Although officials caution that it might be nothing, a search operation for the plane is continuing in the area. Eight aircraft patrolled the area on Sunday with 20 volunteer spotters searching for the debris. The weather there is much clearer than it has been, increasing the searchers' chances of finding something.
Saturday, March 22, 11:15AM
Another lead in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was crushed Saturday morning, after the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the object spotted by the Chinese satellites hadn't been found by their search team. The coordinates apparently given by the Chinese fell within the range that they'd been scouring today, and they'd not found anything.
"AMSA has plotted the position and it falls within Saturday's search area. The object was not sighted on Saturday. AMSA will take this information into account in tomorrow's search plans," the agency said in a statement.
Because the coordinates were estimated via faraway satellites, and the possible object was in rough waves, there's at least a small margin of error. Still, it's looking like yet another hope has been struck down.
Saturday, March 22, 10:48AM
It might be another case of dashed hopes, but Saturday refueled the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after a Chinese satellite spotted a large
object in the southern Indian Ocean. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, the image, taken March 18, shows a 22-meter-long, 13-meter-wide object (roughly the size of
an Olympic-size swimming pool). Of course, nothing is yet confirmed — but it's a clue, and those have been hard to find.
“China hopes these data will be helpful to the search,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in reference to the satellite image. “It still needs to be analyzed and verified on whether or not the floating object is connected to the missing plane.”
Friday, March 21, 8:52AM
Several ships and planes have been scouring the area in which debris, thought to possibly be part of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, was spotted by Australia using a satellite. Nothing has been found, and unfortunately the area is “about the most inaccessible spot that you could imagine on the face of the earth,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters Sunday.
The area pinpointed by satellite image is halfway to Antarctica, and is marked by huge waves, deep waters, and fog. Worsening matters, the images were captured almost a week ago, meaning the debris — which, Australian officials cautioned Friday, really could be anything — may have washed away elsewhere. It's already dark now in Australia, and the search has been called off for the day. From Sunday, a patch of bad weather is set to strike the region, making any debris harder to track down.
Thursday, March 20, 8:57AM
Australia has announced that a satellite has found two large pieces of debris off its west coast, in the southern Indian Ocean. The objects are far from confirmed as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but it's being called one of the most credible leads to date. However, when dispatched to the remote area, Australian ships couldn't find the debris recorded on the satellite image.
The search was called off Thursday evening after it grew dark — as it already is in Australia — but more developments are expected Friday. Still, ABC News warns that even if the debris is a part of the missing plane, we won't know what brought it down for weeks, possibly longer.
Wednesday, March 19, 7:22PM
President Obama spoke publicly for the first time about the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, saying the FBI and National Transportation Safety Board are doing all they can to assist efforts to find the plane. He said the hunt for the Boeing-777, which disappeared March 8, is a "top priority" for the United States. He also offered his sympathy to family members of the 239 people aboard the plane.“We want to send out our thoughts and prayers to all the families that have been affected but particularly our American families,” Obama told a Dallas reporter. “I can only imagine what they’re going through — all this uncertainty that’s taken place.”
Wednesday, March 19, 9:01AM
A forensic team is working on restoring files that were deleted from the flight simulator seized from pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah's house. An ABC News expert commented that they were probably looking for any indication that Shah had used the simulator to practice maneuvers like landing a flight on a small island; or practicing any flight path that data suggests Flight 370 may have taken.
At a press conference in Malaysia's capital, Malaysian minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the search for the missing jet is now focused along two far-reaching flight paths — one which stretches up across the Asian landmass as far as Kazakhstan, and the other which reaches right down into the southern Indian Ocean. An American official commented that they believed the southern flight path, stretching into the Indian Ocean, was the most likely route taken.
These search channels are based on data from a satellite over the Indian Ocean, with which the aircraft electronically communicated six hours after it was last spotted by a Malaysian military radar.
The search now involves 26 countries, which are splitting into teams to coordinate the search effort along specific segments of the arcs. Although there is still very little known about the flight's course, U.S. officials believe it is more likely that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean.
Tuesday, March 18, 10:12AM
Another question has surfaced: Why were there no phone calls to friends or relatives from Flight 370 passengers? One answer could be that the plane was flying too high for service; another is that nobody even tried to make calls, perhaps because they weren't aware of the change in flight path, or were barred from using phones. On 9/11, those aboard the planes used their cell phones to get in touch with friends and relatives, and it's speculated that passengers of a hijacked plane would have tried to do the same.
Investigators still believe that someone in the cockpit shut off Flight 370's communications system and transponder, but it's not clear whether it occurred before or after the co-pilot's last words: "All right, good night." Previously, Malaysian authorities had said that the comment came after the systems were disabled; now, the airline's CEO has said it could be either before or after the systems were turned off, at any point during a 30-minute period.
In a surprising twist, Thailand said Tuesday that its radar detected a plane on a twisted flight path that may or may not have been Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but didn't share that information earlier because it wasn't asked for it.
Monday, March 17, 5:50PM
NBC reports that U.S. satellites, which monitor sudden changes in temperature in airspace, noted no evidence of an explosion when Flight 370 went missing. The U.S. Space Based Infrared satellite system found nothing to corroborate the theory that the flight exploded in mid-air.
Monday, March 17, 9:19AM
The last words heard from the plane — "All right, good night" – were spoken by the co-pilot of Flight 370, rather than the pilot, noted the CEO of Malaysia Airlines, Jauhari Yahya. The words were spoken almost 30 minutes minutes after the plane's data recorder was turned off, and 10 minutes after the transponder was deactivated, fueling rumors that the pilot, or pilots, could have been behind a possible hijacking.
There's also speculation that Flight 370's chief pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was a strong supporter of Malaysia's opposition party — and that the flight's disappearance could have been linked to a politically motivated attack against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The chief pilot had signed up as a lifetime member of Malaysia's opposition party, had campaigned fervently in the last election, and allegedly saw Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim jailed shortly before boarding the flight. This has led to speculation that he could have, theoretically, "gone rogue" while flying the plane last weekend.
Sunday, March 16, 7:44PM
Investigators are examining data from the pilot's flight simulator, which they seized from his home, and are also looking into his political activism. Captain Zaharei Ahmad Shah was a big supporter of Anwar Ibrahim, a Malaysian opposition leader who was jailed on sodomy charges the day before Flight 370 departed, and had planned to attend Ibrahim's trial. (It's unclear whether or not he actually did.)
Meanwhile, 22 countries are now involved in the search for the plane, several of which have criticized Malaysia's handling of the crisis.
Sunday, March 16, 2:22PM
The search area has been expanded yet again to encompass an area extending as far north as Kazakhstan, CNN reports. However, it's unlikely that the plane actually took this route, as that would have involved flying over multiple countries with tightly controlled and heavily monitored airspace, including China and Pakistan. India has since announced that no such flight appeared on any of its radar; Pakistan said the same, and added that the plane would have been treated as a threat if it had been spotted.
Saturday, March 15, 8:05PM
After authorities searched the pilots' homes following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, U.S. intelligence is now pointing fingers at "those in the cockpit," according to CNN. According to sources, officials had wanted to search the homes of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid for several days since the Boeing 777 flew off the radar, but were only able to following information that indicated Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was taken off course by "deliberate action."
Whether the focus is on one pilot or both remains in question.
Saturday, March 15, 6:30AM
Confirming days of speculation, the Malaysian Prime Minister said early Saturday that investigators have now concluded that the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was hijacked, taken off course by "deliberate action."
"Based on new satellite communication, with a high-degree of certainty, we can say that aircraft's communication system was disabled. Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysia and Vietnamese air space, the plane's transponder was switched off. Malaysia Airforce's data showed that an aircraft believed to be MH370 flew in the opposite direction," said the PM. "These movements are consistent with deliberate action from someone on the plane."
Far from solving the mystery, however, the PM's announcement has just opened a new bag of questions. Where was the plane taken? And why?
Friday, March 14, 7:45PM
According to the New York Times, Malaysian military radar shows that the plane abruptly changed directions multiple times after losing touch with ground control. The radar track, which the Malaysian government has shared with the U.S. and China, indicates that the plane ascended to 45,000 feet (which is higher than its approved altitude) turned sharply west toward the island of Penang, then descended to 23,000 feet (which is below its cruising level) and turned northwest. ABC says that the search is now focused on two quadrants: One off the west coast of Malaysia in the Malacca Strait, the other in the northern Bay of Bengal, hundreds of miles away.
Friday, March 14, 6:10PM
After conducting a data analysis, the United States and Malaysian governments are considering the possibility that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed in either the Bay of Bengal or the Indian Ocean. CNN reports authorities are looking into two different flight paths that would lead the jet to one of the two locations.
Friday, March 14, 5:18PM
Following news that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have been diverted — possibly in an "act of piracy" — Malaysian officials say they're investigating the two pilots who flew the missing Boeing 777 jet. Said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's Transport Minister when asked about whether or not Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid might be involved in the plane's disappearance, "We are looking at that possibility."
Though authorities are investigating Shah and Hamid, their homes have yet to be searched, according to Hussein.
Up until this point, there had been no indication that Shah or Hamid were involved in anything nefarious, or that they were anything but experienced pilots, having logged 20,000 hours collectively in the air. One woman, however, told Piers Morgan Live earlier this week that Hamid allowed her to sit in the cockpit during her flight. Malaysia Airlines, in response, said it could not confirm the allegations, but were "shocked" by the claims.
Friday, March 14, 3:47PM
It's been nearly seven days since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, and authorities seem zero steps closer to solving the mystery of the missing Boeing 777. Or, at least, whatever headway has been made still is leaving passengers' families — and inquiring media — in the dark about what happened to the airplane, and where it might be. On Friday, the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 widened to include the Indian Ocean following the Pentagon's findings that it might have crashed there, and a report that the plane was diverted towards the Andaman Islands has some speculating that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have landed.
But the only thing that any of this information proves is that new information is changing the story (and speculation) on a daily basis. And, whereas, earlier Friday, efforts to recover the plane still seemed slim, a small break in the search might actually lead authorities to wherever Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed, or landed. Satellite communications company Inmarsat said it had received signals from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 the day it disappeared, a revelation that could make it easier to locate the whereabouts of the Boeing 777. These signals could reveal which direction the plane was flying when it disappeared, and, more helpfully, after its transponder was manually shut down.
Though the location of the plane might now be easier to find, the motive is still hanging in the air. Earlier this week, terrorism was ruled out as a possible cause after two fraudulent passwords used on the plane were determined to have no tie to terrorist organizations. Now, however, with the news that the flight might have been redirected, investigators are reportedly looking into piracy, or sabotage as a motive. And, in that case, whoever redirected the plane would be an experienced flyer — after changing course, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 used a flight path used to travel to Europe or the Middle East.
Though this latest beat in the news makes a catastrophic mid-air explosion less likely, new leads might change the story's direction in the coming days. As Malaysia's transportation minister Hishamuddin Hussein said about the transponder shut-off:
It could have been done intentionally. It could have been done under duress. It could have happened as a result of an explosion.
So, really, it could have been turned off for any reason at all.
And there will undoubtedly be new leads — with a total 13 countries looking for the jet and its missing 239 passengers (not to mention the crowdsourcing efforts of those at home attempting to help locate the plane), new information — however non-definitive it might be — seems to be piling in every minute.
Until the next beat, however, let the speculation continue.