Nine years ago, on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. However, not only did it never hit, but it essentially vanished into thin air. None of the passengers, alive or dead, were ever found, nor was the plane – despite extensive searches – or the black box recorder ever discovered.
Amid the many theories surrounding the disappearance, authorities have been unable to accurately determine what happened, leaving the families of 239 victims unable to understand what happened to their loved ones.
Now, nearly a decade later, a new three-part Netflix documentary series will reexamine the case. MH370: the plane that disappeared, directed by Louise Malkinson, brings together the victims’ relatives, researchers, scientists and journalists who are still searching for answers because, as the synopsis says, “They won’t give up, because the truth won’t just disappear.”
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What happened in the case of flight MH370?
After taking off from Kuala Lumpur, the plane remained on course until less than an hour later. The last voice contact was made at 01:19 Malaysian Standard Time and three minutes later it disappeared from air traffic control radar. Officials said the plane’s transponder was turned off over the South China Sea shortly after one person – the pilot or copilot – said, “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.
However, it was still being tracked on military radar and was seen to suddenly deviate from its route, turning sharply from its northeasterly course to head west towards the Malay Peninsula.
But at 02:22 it reached the limit of military range, and at about 230 miles from Penang it effectively disappeared, without any distress call, and what followed was the largest and most expensive aviation search in history.
Analysis of satellite communications with the flight indicated that it was likely to continue flying for another six hours until about 08:19 – when it was likely to run out of fuel – and the Malaysian government later concluded that it likely ended up in the southern Indian Ocean.
For two and a half years, a multinational search turned up relatively little, despite covering an area of 46,000 square miles. Several parts of the plane have since been recovered, such as a flaperon found in July 2015 on a beach in Réunion, an island in the western Indian Ocean, or the right stabilizer found in February 2016 on a beach in southern Mozambique. most of the plane has never been found, it has led some experts, such as Goong Chen, a Texas A&M University mathematician, to hypothesize that the plane crashed vertically into the sea, as CNN reported: “Simply put, an aircraft hitting the water at an angle would scatter its parts across the surface of the water. But one who hits at a near vertical angle shoots into the water with minimal damage and zooms straight to the bottom.
What are the theories behind his disappearance?
As you can imagine, there are many, and none can be confirmed. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau initially suggested that a hypoxia event – a fatal drop in cabin pressure – was the most likely cause, but this has never been confirmed.
Several news reports at the time claimed it could be a hijack or a terrorist attack, including, oddly enough, Rupert Murdoch, who tweeted about it. But with no distress signal from the crew and no groups claiming the hijacking, this also makes it unlikely.
Suspicion also fell on the plane’s pilot, Captain Zaharie Shah, who investigators noted showed “strange behavior” before the flight, as well as reports that the pilot’s wife and three children left his home the day before the disappearance . The Sunday times later reported that among deleted flight paths performed on the pilot’s flight simulator, investigators found a flight path to the Southern Ocean where a simulated landing was made on an island with a small runway. Shah’s family has always vehemently denied the possibility of pilot suicide.
There are more theories that heavily resemble a conspiracy – a black hole, a meteor, an alien abduction – but as series producer Harry Hewland says, it is still a complete mystery: “Above all, we want to reveal the hidden truths about MH370 above. get table. off the carpet they’ve been swept under, and remind people that this is still a story with no end, a mystery unsolved, that someone out there knows more than the world has been told.
He added, “And if we can raise the profile of the story again and boost even by a decibel or two the call to continue, we’ve done something useful.”
MH370: The Plane That Disappeared will be available on Netflix from March 8