Friday, March 7, 2014

Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight went missing

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing early Saturday according to Malaysia Airlines. MH370 had lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40 am today. There has been speculation that the aircraft has landed at Nanming and as of the writing of this post, Malaysia Airlines is still working to verify the authenticity of the report and others.

Flight MH370 was operated on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. It departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning bound for Beijing. The aircraft was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30am local Beijing time. The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members. The passengers were of 14 different nationalities, majority of them Chinese Nationals (153 people). The flight was a code share with China Southern Airlines.

The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53. He has a total flying hours of 18,365 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, is aged 27. He has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.

The flight information board in Beijing showing MH370 in red.
"The fact that there was absolutely no distress signal is very disturbing,” a former United Airlines pilot, Ross Aimer said in Al-Jazeera. “This is almost unprecedented that we lose an aircraft in such a way … In that area of the world, over Vietnam, there is sporadic radar coverage to begin with,” he said. “It is disturbing that there was absolutely no communication from the aircraft.”

A statement posted on the official Vietnamese government website said the flight disappeared in Vietnamese airspace. [1] Unfortunately, Tuoi Tre, a leading daily in Vietnam, reports that the Vietnamese Navy has confirmed the plane crashed into the ocean.  According to Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, Commander of the Region 5, military radar recorded that the plane crashed into the sea at a location 153 miles South of Phu Quoc island.[2]

Although financially troubled, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has suffered only a few accidents in its history and holds a good record for safety. The latest major accident MAS had was in 1977 when one of its jets crashed in southern Malaysia, killing all 93 passengers and seven crew.[3] Aviation experts have expressed surprise at the sudden loss of contact with the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, which has an almost flawless safety record. [4]

[1] - Malaysia Airlines hunts for missing plane carrying 239
[2] - #PrayForMH370: Navy has confirmed plane crashed into sea, says Vietnam media
[3] - Malaysian Airlines missing flight: Live Report
[4] - Malaysia Airlines: experts surprised at disappearance of 'very safe' Boeing 777

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