Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and his copilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, moved the MH370 Boeing 777 to its final turn on the runway before it flew to the unknown. At exactly 1:20 AM, one of the pilots said, “Good night, Malaysia 370.” The next several months will be spent desperately looking for the missing aircraft.
Two hundred and thirty-nine passengers boarded the fated plane. This include a twenty-three-month-old baby Wang Moheng and his parents, Jiao Weiwei, 32, and Wang Rui, 35. Also aboard the plane was Philip Wood, 50, an IBM executive, who transferred his job to Malaysia shortly before the flight. It was his joy to travel to many places.
Fans of Jet Li and his movies might also know Ju Kun, a martial arts expert and Jet Li’s double for his action-packed scenes, such as The Forbidden Kingdom. He was returning home from choreographing a production.
Newlywed Dr. Yuchen Li, who also recently received his doctoral engineering degree from Cambridge University, bought a ticket to a mysterious land instead of mainland China. The rest was Amelia Earhart-type of story.
Shortly after that 1:20 AM update, the pilots were supposed to check in a routinely report with air traffic controllers based in Ho Chi Minh City. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, they failed to do so. All forms of communication were deactivated. The missing aircraft was assumed to have changed its course, retraced its path to Malaysia, and crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean, which covers the 20% of the earth’s surface, or more like 5.5 times the overall size of USA.
Its disappearance sparked major response from the search and rescue teams. First, they headed over the Indian Ocean, 1,600 miles off Perth, Australia, in the hopes of finding some clues as to its whereabouts. They found debris, and some oil slicks that were believed to be parts of the plane, but these were later proved as nothing but scraps.
Soon, Australia, China, and Malaysia joined forces for the same cause. Using the latest and state-of-the-art technology and expertise, they looked for any signs of the exact location of the plane within the 46,000-mile zone west of Australia. Despite the huge effort amounting to $160-million, the mission failed, and the relatives of the victims and the rest of the world were left with further questions and wonder.
This tragic event was world news. For a few months, the missing aircraft and the names of its passengers filled the headlines of every newspaper, social media posts, and international debates. Along with the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s disappearance, various theories surfaced. While some were believed to have happened, such the pilot’s intentional crash and the probability of terrorism, the lack of evidence deemed these claims unacceptable.
On July 30, 2018, roughly four years after the mysterious incident, the government of Malaysia released the MH370 report that stated the impossibility of the rescue. This release intensified the interrogation and crushed the hopes of ever finding the passengers again.
It may be case closed, but for the relatives of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and for the rest of the world, it will remain the most intriguing mystery in the history of aviation.
Want to know the latest news and interesting trivia on aviation? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads for important updates. You can also visit my website, www.olshakeyflightengineer and purchase my book, Ol’ Shakey: Memories of a Flight Engineer, to get to know my firsthand experience on flying planes during the World War.
Laud, Georgina. “MH370 cover-up: What REALLY happened to Malaysia Airlines flight?” Express, August 2, 2018. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/997407/mh370-cover-up-what-happened-conspiracy-theories-flight-mh370-malaysian-airlines.
Ramzy, Austin. “No Plane. No Remains. And Now, No Real Answers on Malaysia Airline Flight 370.” The New York Times, July 30, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/30/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-flight-370-report.html.
Makinen, Julie, James Queally, Carol J Williams. “MH370: Here’s what you should know about the plane’s mysterious disappearance.” Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-malaysia-airlines-370-story-so-far-htmlstory.html.
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