What happened to Flight MH370? Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines plane explained - was wreckage ever found

Nine years on from the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, none of those on board have been found

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In 2014, 227 passengers and 12 crew were travelling on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 when the flight vanished without a trace - since that day all 239 people on board have been presumed dead. Several unconfirmed reports of a low flying plane being spotted the night of flight 370’s disappearance, but it still unknown exactly what happened to the aircraft.

The plane was travelling from Malaysia to China on 8 March 2014 when it suddenly vanished, prompting a major search operation that cost governments and private interests £100 million, but has failed to provide any concrete answers. The majority of passengers on the flight were Chinese, and the government of China came under fire for its poor response to the disaster.

Several powerful documentaries covering the disappearance have been made in the year’s since including last year’s Channel Channel 5 documentary Enigma of the Lost Flight and new Netflix three-part special The Plane that Disappeared.

What was Flight MH370?

MH370 was a flight scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China on 8 March 2014. The flight lost contact with air traffic control less than an hour into its journey and was tracked by military radar for another hour where it deviated from its flight route before finally leaving radar range.

MH370 The Plane That Disappeared is on Netflix nowMH370 The Plane That Disappeared is on Netflix now
MH370 The Plane That Disappeared is on Netflix now

The flight was not heard from again, and the plane’s 12 crew and 227 passengers are all presumed dead. In the nine years since the mysterious disappearance, no cause for the disaster has been determined and only partial wreckage has been found.

A search operation for the missing aircraft began following the disappearance and became the most expensive search in aviation history.

What did the search for Flight MH370 find?

An official search began in the days following Flight MH370 was launched and initially focused on the South China Sea which the flight was over at the time that it disappeared from air traffic control radar. However, later analysis of potential flight paths suggested that an area of roughly 23,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean was a more likely crash site.

A major investigation into te disappearance of flight MH370 was launchedA major investigation into te disappearance of flight MH370 was launched
A major investigation into te disappearance of flight MH370 was launched

The seven-month search of this site cost roughly £34 million but was unsuccessful in finding any debris. In July 2015, a flaperon (a flap on an aircraft’s wing) from Flight MH370 was found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

In December 2016 a report narrowed the estimated impact location to an unsearched area of almost £10,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean. The official search was suspended in January 2017 having had no success in finding the aircraft.

In October 2017, 20 pieces of debris believed to be from the Flight MH370 washed up on beaches along the Western Indian Ocean. A private search was begun by Ocean Infinity in 2018 on the understanding that the Malaysian government would pay the company only if it found the wreckage.

Ocean Infinity spent five months searching over 40,000 square miles of ocean floor and was still unable to find the missing aircraft.

In the years since the plane disappeared other pieces of debris believed to be from MH370 have washed up on the coasts of Mozambique, South Africa and Mauritius. The complete wreckage of the aircraft has yet to be found and the location of the crash site remains unknown.

When is The Plane that Disappeared out?

The three part documentary series was releaed on Netflix in one go on the ninth anniversary of the disappearance, 8 March. The documentary, which jumped to number one on Netflix UK’s top TV programmes following its release, is made up of three 90 minutes episodes.

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