MH370: Timeline of one of aviation`s greatest mysteries
The world could come a step closer to finding out what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 when experts on Wednesday begin examining a wing part that washed up on Indian Ocean island.
Paris: The world could come a step closer to finding out what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 when experts on Wednesday begin examining a wing part that washed up on Indian Ocean island.
Here is a timeline of major developments in the hunt for the Boeing 777, which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard.
-- MH370 departs from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 am and disappears from Malaysian civilian radar at 1:30 am, just before passing to Vietnamese air traffic control. It appears on military radar until 2:15 am.
-- Vietnam launches a search operation for the Boeing 777 that expands into a multinational hunt in the South China Sea.
-- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says the plane seems to have been flown deliberately for hours, veering sharply off-route at roughly the same time that its communications system and transponder were manually switched off.
-- Satellite data suggest the jet`s last known location is somewhere along one of two huge arcs stretching north into Central Asia and south into the Indian Ocean. Twenty-six countries take part in the search.
-- Najib announces "with deep sadness and regret" that MH370 is presumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.
-- Australia is tasked with coordinating the search with six other nations: China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States.
After some 300 sorties covering more than 4.5 million square kilometres (1.3 million nautical square miles) fail to find evidence, the priority shifts to submarine exploration.
-- Malaysia`s government declares the passengers and crew "presumed dead", angering next of kin who demand proof.
-- As the one-year mark passes, an interim report by an international investigative team details the flight`s sequence of events. No evidence is provided that would incriminate crew members or suggest a mechanical failure.
A sudden drop in oxygen levels that could have incapacitated the crew but allowed the plane to continue flying until it ran out of fuel is considered a credible hypothesis.
-- A two-metre-long (almost seven-foot) wing part called a flaperon is found on a beach on the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean. Two days later, Australian officials say they are "increasingly confident" the part came from the ill-fated airliner. It is sent to a French military site near Toulouse for detailed examination.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai says that the part has been "officially identified" as coming from a Boeing 777.
Experts and investigators from Malaysia, China, Australia, France and the United States begin examining the wing part, hoping to officially confirm it was once part of MH370.