KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 – Following is the chronology of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 :
* March 8 – Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.
– A search and rescue (SAR) operation for the missing aircraft was launched at 5.30am, involving 15 Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aircraft, including four Hercules C130, a CN 235, four EC 725 and two Augusta helicopters, and nine ships comprising six from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and three from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
– MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya confirmed the disappearance of the aircraft at 7.30am. The passengers comprised 38 Malaysians, China (153), Indonesia (seven), Australia (seven), France (three), United States (three), New Zealand (two), Ukraine (two), Canada (two), Russia (one), Italy (one), Taiwan (one), Holland (one) and Austria (one).
* March 9 – Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said search area was extended from the South China Sea to the Melaka Strait. Several countries including Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and the United States deployed their men and assets to aid the search.
– The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) radar recorded the plane, as later confirmed, heading towards the west coast of the peninsula through the Melaka Strait before it went missing 200 nautical miles off Penang’s northwest at 2.15am.
– DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman confirmed that two passengers boarded the aircraft with fake passports under the guise of an Italian and Austrian who had earlier reported their passports were stolen.
* March 10 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pledged that the government will do its best in the SAR operation for Flight MH370.
– MMEA received test results from the oil slick spotted off Vietnam’s coast, which came back negative for jet fuel. The oil was used as fuel for cargo ships.
* March 11 – Malaysian police and Interpol disclosed that the two men travelling on stolen passports were Iranian nationals Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Erza, 29, with no apparent links to terrorist groups. They were believed to be trying to migrate to Europe.
* March 12 – Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein clarified a number of issues: the possibility of Flight MH370 flying pass the Melaka Strait, cooperation of foreign aviation experts and Flight MH370 manifest.
Four passengers who did not check-in were replaced by four passengers from the waiting list. All passengers boarded the aircraft. No luggage was removed from the plane.
The two Iranian men entered and left Malaysia by Flight MH370, using the same passports.
* March 13 – Hishammuddin dismissed claims that the missing aircraft might have flown for about four hours past the time it disappeared from the tracking systems.
– No link in satellite images: China’s civil aviation chief said there was no proof that floating objects in the South China Sea captured in satellite images on Sunday were connected to the missing MAS plane. Chinese authorities also said the satellite images were mistakenly issued.
* March 14 – International search expanded westwards towards the Indian Ocean.
The United States (US) Navy Seventh Fleet’s USS Kidd arrived in the northwestern section of the Melaka Strait to assist in the search efforts.
– The authorities were looking at four to five possibilities on how a missing Malaysian airliner’s transponder could possibly shut down, said Hishammuddin.
* March 15 – The prime minister said he could not confirm reports of a hijacking and maintained all possible causes for the plane’s disappearance were under investigation.
– Najib said the FAA, NTSB, AAIB and the Malaysian authorities were working separately on the same primary radar data that was obtained from the data service provider, and the last confirmed communication between the plane and the satellite was at 8.11am on Saturday, March 8.
He said Flight MH370’s communication system and transponder were switched off when the plane reached the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and between the Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, respectively.
Najib announced that the plane was flown for hours in a manner “consistent with deliberate action” after dropping off the primary radar.
He said the plane’s last communication with the satellite was in one of two possible corridors; a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand or southern corridor stretching approximately from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Najib said SAR mission enters a new phase, in the northern and southern corridors. Australia and Indonesia lead search in their own regions. A total of 26 countries are involved in the search.
Najib said SAR ended its operations in the South China Sea.
* March 16 – Hishammuddin said no ransom demanded over the missing Flight MH370. Hence, the police were looking into four aspects of investigation.
On the SAR, he said Malaysian officials were liaising with 15 countries along the northern and southern corridors for assistance, in relation to the missing aircraft.
All MAS ground staff, engineers involved in handling the MH370 aircraft were under investigation by the police.
– Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said missing MH370 was investigated under Section 130 (C) Penal Code for hijacking, terrorism and sabotage offences, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 and Aviation Offences Act 2003.
Police seized flight simulator from the house of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing MH370.
* March 17 – Hishammuddin said the SAR multinational operations involving 26 countries had begun in Southern and Northern corridors.
– The defence minister pledged to review the nation’s radar system once the SAR operation for the plane was completed.
* March 18 – Hishammuddin said the SAR operation area for the missing MH370 covered the so-called southern and northern corridors – a total of 2.24 million square nautical miles.
– He said the search operation focused on four tasks; gathering information from satellite surveillance; analysis of surveillance radar data; increasing air and surface assets and increasing the number of technical and subject matter experts.
– Three million people joined in one of the largest crowd sourcing efforts led by satellite operator DigitalGlobe to scour 24,000km for MH370 SAR area as more images were added daily, including areas in the Indian Ocean.
* March 19 – Hishammuddin dismissed a report claiming that a missing Malaysian airliner was sighted flying low over the Maldives.
– Five relatives of Chinese passengers on board the missing flight caused a commotion when they tried twice to gatecrash the media centre at the Sama-Sama Hotel.
* March 20 – Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot called Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at 10am, to say that objects possibly related to MH370, spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, located about 2,500km southwest of Perth.
– Hishammuddin said the SAR operation continued despite the Australian finding, until further verification can be made.
* March 21 – Malaysia was still waiting for information from the Australian authorities on whether the objects sighted in the southern Indian Ocean were related to the missing flight MH370.
– Hishammuddin said international intelligence agencies did not find any unusual items from the passenger manifest of Flight MH370.
– Hishammuddin said background check on the sole Ukranian passenger on board the missing Flight MH370 had been cleared by Ukraine’s authorities.
* March 22 – The communication transcript that allegedly took place between MH370 and air traffic control (ATC) the night it was reported missing on March 8, had been classified inaccurate and invalid, said DCA.
– Hishammuddin said Chinese satellite spotted a floating object measuring 22.5 metres by 13 metres.
– Hishammuddin said no sighting of objects identified by Australian authorities, some 2,500km southwest of Perth.
* March 23 – Hishammuddin said Malaysia had relayed new satellite images from the French authorities to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre.
– Hishammuddin said as of 2.30pm Malaysia time, Australian officials informed Malaysia that they had not made any new sightings regarding MH370.
* March 24 – Hishammuddin said more than 100 people had been interviewed by police, including the MH370 pilot’s family.
– At 10pm, Najib announced that data released by Britain’s Inmarsat satellite concluded that the missing Boeing 777-200ER ended in the southern Indian Ocean, West of Perth.
– Malaysia Airlines (MAS) expressed profound regret that its MH370 aircraft ended in the southern Indian Ocean, as announced by Najib.
* March 25 – MAS chairman said the airlines declared MH370 aircraft and 239 passengers and crew lost, based on the evidence from Inmarsat and AAIB.
– Najib said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised the country would continue search efforts to locate the missing MH370.
– Hishammuddin said MH370 flight’s last position was identified using “Doppler effect” by United Kingdom’s AAIB and the search of MH370 in northern corridor has been called off.
– The Malaysian mainstream newspapers ran black and white front pages with the news of the ill-fated Malaysian airliner.
* March 26 – Najib said Malaysia and China would continue to work closely in the search for MH370.
– Hishammuddin said new satellite images had detected 122 potential objects that might be related to the missing MH370 aircraft, approximately 2,557km from Perth, Australia.
* March 27 – Hishammuddin said Malaysia was preparing to send a team to Perth, Australia comprising DCA, MAS, RMN and RMAF.
– A Thailand satellite detected 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean, around 2,700km (1,680 miles) southwest of Perth.
* March 28 – Hishammuddin said the search operation to locate the MH370 jetliner was focusing on getting to the debris located in the southern Indian Ocean, following several reports from few countries that they had spotted objects.
– India’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, T. S. Tirumurti said the Indian Government expressed deep appreciation to Malaysia over its handling of the Flight MH370 tragedy, which it described as an “unprecedented task.”
* March 29 – Hishammuddin said there was a need to strengthen Malaysia’s military assets from the radar system to technological capabilities.
– Hishammuddin advised the media, especially international media, not to speculate or spread false information over the disappearance of the MH370.
* March 30 – The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said a number of objects retrieved by the HMAS Success and Haixun 01 on Saturday had been examined and were believed not related to the MH370.
– Family members of those on board MH370 urging government for evidence that the flight ended in the Indian Ocean.
* March 31 – MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun appointed special officer to represent Malaysia to China to meet with family members of passengers in the missing MH370.
– Hishammuddin issued last conversation in the transcript between the air traffic controller and the cockpit of MH370 at 0119 hours (Malaysian Time) on March 8: “Good Night, Malaysian three seven zero”.
– Australian prime minister backed his Malaysian counterpart’s view that MH370 aircraft’s final flight path ended in the remote southern Indian Ocean.
* April 1 – The transport ministry released the full transcript of the communication between MH370 and Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control, with no indication of anything abnormal.
– MAS said it had been advised that a petition filed on behalf of one of the passengers on board MH370 has been dismissed by order of a US Court.
* April 2 – A British Trafalgar Class submarine, HMS Tireless, arrived in the southern Indian Ocean as the search there for MH370 entered its 26th day.
– The police “cleared” all passengers of a missing Malaysian airliner of hijacking, sabotage and psychological and personal problems, but were still investigating the cabin crew, including the pilot and co-pilot.
– The authorities handling the investigation and search for MH370 met more than 40 relatives of passengers on the plane at the Bangi-Putrajaya Hotel where the next-of-kin, mainly Chinese nationals, were staying.
– The words “ended in the southern Indian Ocean” chosen by Najib to describe the fate of the missing Flight MH370 was the most appropriate, said China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang.
* April 3 – The search for MH370 entered its 27th day, with the area of the search covering about 223,000 sq km, some 1,680km west-north-west of Perth, Australia.
– The media centre operations for the missing Flight MH370 at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here would be closed, effective April 8. – A robotic submarine or underwater drone was needed for the next phase of the search and recovery operation in the southern Indian Ocean, said Najib.
Najib discussed with his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, on the need to acquire assistance from other countries for such technology.
Najib said such technology was needed once the black box pinger battery ran out, and should the SAR team locate the missing aircraft.
– Both Malaysia and Australia vowed to continue the search without any timeline.
– There had been no sighting of any object in the search area, said the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).
* April 4 – The search for MH370 entered its 28th day today, and became a race against time as the battery of the black box was due to run out in two days.
– Australia was drafting a comprehensive agreement to serve as an “accredited representative” in the investigation of the missing aircraft.
Australian Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, the chief co-coordinator of JACC, said the agreement would enable the country to support Malaysia in the investigation into Flight MH370, in accordance with international law.
The search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean went underwater today, to scour the treacherous waters to hunt for the black box ‘pinger’.
* April 5 – Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein announced that Malaysia will appoint an independent ‘Investigator In Charge’ to lead an investigation team.
– The investigation team would include accredited countries, including Australia beside China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France as accredited representatives.
– The Government had also established three ministerial committees in order to streamline and strengthen an on-going efforts.
– Hishammuddin also stated that the investigation on the crew members of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was still ongoing and nobody had been cleared.
– A black box detector deployed by the Chinese patrol vessel Haixun 01, picked up two short pulse signal in southern Indian Ocean waters.
* April 6 – The search for MH370 had been intensified in the southern Indian Ocean involving 112 aircraft and 13 ships, covering 134,000 square miles.
– Another pulse signal was detected in the southern Indian Ocean by Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield, about 300 nautical miles from the pulse signals picked up by Haixun 01.
– Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) however still could not confirm that the pulse detected by both Haixun 01 and Ocean Shield came from MH370.