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The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: What Really Happened?

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It has been nine years, but the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 remains one of the biggest aviation mysteries in history. On March 8, 2014, the flight vanished while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people on board, ranging from a two-year-old child to a 76-year-old adult. What could have happened to them?

The Mysterious Disappearance

According to the reconstructed events, the plane departed Malaysia’s capital at 12:41 a.m. Approximately half an hour later, the aircraft’s communication system transmitted its final message, which at the time seemed unremarkable. However, starting from 1:21 a.m., a series of inexplicable events unfolded. The transponder, a critical flight information system, ceased communication. The military radar in Thailand lost track of the plane that seemed to change its course. Additionally, civilian radar failed to maintain contact as expected. At 3:45 a.m., Malaysia Airlines issued a “red code” alert, signifying a crisis requiring immediate emergency response.

Unfortunately, the plane never arrived in Beijing at its planned time of 6:30 a.m. It never reappeared on any radars. About an hour later, the authorities made the public announcement of the aircraft’s disappearance.

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The Fruitless Search Efforts

For a long time, it was believed that the plane lay at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, within the so-called “seventh arc.” However, despite extensive searches, no trace of the aircraft was found.

In January 2017, after a two-year search costing $135 million, Malaysia, China, and Australia decided to end their joint operation. A year later, Ocean Infinity, a US-based seabed exploration company, initiated its search operation in the southern Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, they too failed to find anything. Malaysia had even offered a reward of up to $70 million for the discovery of the plane.

Confirmable debris from the aircraft, as well as items presumed to belong to it, have been found on the African coast and islands in the Indian Ocean. However, Malaysian investigators have not reached any definitive conclusions about what happened on board the plane. They did not rule out the possibility that it deliberately deviated from its route, which was also mentioned in a preliminary assessment from US intelligence agencies in 2015.

The investigation conducted by Malaysia even included searches of the pilot, a 53-year-old, and the co-pilot, a 27-year-old.

Renewed Call for Search

In early March 2023, on the ninth anniversary of the tragic disappearance, a group called Voice370, comprising family members of the flight’s passengers, urged the Malaysian government to accept any offer by Ocean Infinity for a conditional basis search, meaning payment is only made upon finding the plane. Voice370 stated that Ocean Infinity had made significant progress in understanding the events of 2014 through collaboration with various individuals, thereby greatly enhancing the chances of a successful search.

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During a commemorative event, Transport Minister Anthony Loke reassured the families that the case would not be closed prematurely. He pledged that any future searches would be considered with appropriate seriousness if there were “new and credible information” regarding the potential location of the aircraft.

This year, the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane gained worldwide attention through Netflix’s release of the docuseries “MH370: The Plane That Disappeared” on March 8.

This article contains information from Reuters and the CNN team.

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