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MH370: 10 years on, what we know, and what we don’t, about the Malaysia Airlines disappearance

Simon Calder’s Travel

Late at night on 7 March 2014, 227 passengers and a dozen crew members boarded a Malaysia AirlinesBoeing 777 at Kuala Lumpur airport. They were expecting to travel overnight to Beijing on a flight designated MH370.

That flight number has become shorthand for the deepest mystery in aviation history. The relatives of the victims have endured 10 years of not knowing of the fate of their loved ones.

Air-traffic controllers lost contact with the jet while it was over the South China Sea. Over the following weeks, painstaking analysis of radar tracking and a succession of satellite “pings” showed that the jet veered off course and flew west over the South East Asia peninsula before turning south over the Indian Ocean.

When a passenger aircraft disappears over the sea, there is a well-established method for finding the plane: calculating the likely path, looking for debris on the surface of the water and searching the sea bed in a narrowly defined area. That was how the 2009 wreck of Air France flight AF447 was located in the Atlantic. The so-called “black boxes” revealed the tragic series of pilot errors that led to the loss of 228 lives aboard the Rio-Paris flight over the Atlantic. An inexperienced pilot reacted calamitously to a perfectly survivable set of technical failures.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder of MH370, together with deducing who was on the flight deck, may provide equally valuable evidence about the fate of the aircraft – and, more importantly, provide some closure for the families and loved ones of the victims.

Yet finding the aircraft has defeated the entire transport safety community. Inevitably, the vacuum has been filled with speculation. Many theories are easily dismissed: a North Korean missile did not down MH370, and nor is the aircraft hidden in a hangar in Kazakhstan.

But that leaves an ocean of possibilities.

Were there actually more than 239 people aboard when the Boeing took off from Kuala Lumpur? Communication with air-traffic controllers was lost, possibly deliberately: did someone deliberately divert the aircraft and crash the 777 into the sea? Or did it simply wander off course and run out of fuel?

Locating the lost aircraft could help to solve the mystery. But after 10 years and an exhaustive search of a patch of the Indian Ocean by Australian investigators, all we have to go on…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…