Hey, everyone. Welcome to another Mystery Monday. This week’s story is no doubt, one of the strangest disappearances in modern history.
It’s not hard to imagine a small plane like the one Amelia Earhart flew disappearing in 1937. Radio communications weren’t as sophisticated, and we didn’t have the benefit of satellite communication. But how does a huge commercial jetliner disappear without a trace in the twenty-first century?
Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 (MH 370) departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport in route to Beijing International on March 8, 2014. Thirty-eight minutes into the flight, the crew of the Boeing 777-200 last communicated with air traffic control when the plane was over the South China Sea.
Minutes later, ATC radar screens lost sight of the plane, but military radar tracked it for another hour as it deviated west from its planned flight path. It crossed the Malay Peninsula and Andaman Sea and left radar range 200 nautical miles northwest of Penang Island in northwestern Malaysia. The plane, 227 passengers, and twelve crew members have never been seen again.
A search for the missing aircraft initially focused on the South China and Andaman seas. However, an analysis of the aircraft’s automated communications with an Inmarsat satellite identified a possible crash site somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.
After a three-year search across 46,000 square miles of ocean failed to locate the plane, the agency heading the operation suspended the search in January 2017. A second search by a private contractor began in January 2018 but ended without success six months later.
Twenty pieces of debris believed to be from MH370 was recovered from beaches in the western Indian Ocean by October 2017. Eighteen were “identified as being very likely or almost certain to originate from MH370.”
The first item of debris to be positively identified as originating from Flight 370 was the starboard flaperon which was discovered on July 2015 on a beach in Saint-André, on Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean. France’s civil aviation accident investigation agency examined the item. On September 3 of that year, French officials announced the serial numbers found on internal components of the flaperon linked it “with certainty” to Flight 370.
After the discovery, French police conducted a search of the waters around Réunion for additional debris and found a damaged suitcase that might be linked to Flight 370. Other debris, including parts of a stabilizer and a Rolls Royce engine have been discovered in various locations.
No one is certain as to the reasons for the flight’s deviation from its intended path. Some speculate passenger or crew involvement, but there has been no definitive proof.
All we know for sure is somewhere is the remains of a jumbo jet, its passengers and crew.
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