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What Really Happened To Malaysia's Missing Airline Flight 370?

On March 8, 2014, the world witnessed one of the most curious mysteries of history to date. 

It began when MH370, a Boeing 777 200ER, took off from the Kuala Lumpur area. The Malaysia Airlines flight that was destined for Beijing was led by Fariq Hamid and Zaharie Ahmad Shah. 

Though Hamid was a pilot in training, this flight was slated to be his last one before being able to finish the certification process. Shah, a trusted senior captain, was Hamid's pilot in command and trainer. There were a total of 227 passengers and 10 flight attendants on board. 

Nothing about the flight, the plane, or the pilots presented as unusual, but everything that happened after the plane took off was. 

'Good Night. Malaysian Three-Seven-Zero.' 

Everything about MH370's flight the evening of March 8th seemed extremely standard. At 12:41 Hamid and Shah took off. At 1:01 A.M. Shah radioed that the plane had leveled off at 35,000-feet, which is typical for commercial airplanes. Seven minutes later the pilot reiterated the same message as the plane made its way towards Vietnam. 

At 1:19 A.M. a controller at Kuala Lumpur radioed into the pilots instructing them to connect with Ho Chi Minh before signing off. Shah radioed back, "Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero," and that was the last anyone ever heard from. 

A mere three minutes had passed after the radio message went through when the airplane completely disappeared from secondary radar. 

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A Fatal Flaw

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Regrettably, the controller at Kuala Lumpur was preoccupied with other air traffic to take note of the disappearance of the airplane. When he finally made the realization he also made the assumption that the controller at Ho Chi Minh was handling this issue. Controllers from Vietnam who had noticed MH370 disappear began reaching out to Kuala Lumpur. The controllers faced some unexpected difficulty actually getting a hold of someone in Kuala Lumpur.

MH370 was off the radar screens for 18 minutes before someone finally answered the frantic phone calls. By that time, the uncertainty and circumstances of the airplane had gotten even murkier. To make matters worse, Kuala Lumpur's Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre did not begin any emergency search protocols until 6:32 A.M. The significant delay was a piece of the puzzle that would be continued to be scrutinized well after the disappearance of MH370. 

This official study says it came down to Malaysia Airlines' lack of an Emergency Response Plan. As it often goes, much of the world was able to learn from the unfortunate, and most likely lifesaving, mistake.

The Initial Search For Airplane MH370

Friends and family members of the passengers and staff were frustrated at the lack of response when MH370 initially went missing. Hours after receiving this information authorities finally began searching for any evidence of the plane. The search began in a portion of the South China Sea. Even with the help of 34 ships and 28 aircraft, the search turned up nothing related to MH370. 

Many people assumed the incompetency or general lack of effort was a result of Malaysia's corrupt reputation. Ironically, it ended up being the undercover, secretive, and dark underbelly of Malaysia that would shed groundbreaking light on the investigation in the days to come.

What The World Learned About MH370 Through The Radar Signals

Secret data that was secured through the Malaysian air-force showed that the airplane in question did not actually follow its intended path. The data revealed that MH370 made an abrupt and sharp turn back towards the Malay Peninsula only moments after the airplane had disappeared off of the secondary radar. From there the airplane headed around the island of Penang. After that, the MH370 took a northwest direction following the Strait of Malacca and flew over the Andaman Sea before completely exiting any and all radars.

When the investigation first began people wondered if hijacking or a suicide mission could be at the root of the airplane's disappearance. However, professionals claimed that this leg of the trip would have taken upwards of an hour, making both scenarios extremely unlikely. 

This article includes images of the route the airplane was supposed to take versus the path it ended up on. Even though the investigation was slowly but surely uncovering more information, no one still had any idea what happened to the plane, and more importantly, where it was. 

 

The Malaysian Government's reluctance and uncooperative behavior throughout the investigation most likely delayed the timeline of the investigation. However, eventually, they were forced to reveal the additional data the government had initially withheld from authorities. It became clear that MH370 was briefly able to link up with a geostationary satellite in the Indian Ocean. This satellite was operated by Inmarsat, a commercial vendor located in London. This was a huge and momentous discovery as it indicated that the airplane did not endure a huge and sudden catastrophe. The last piece of data secured from Inmarsat indicated that at 8:19 A.M. MH370 crossed over from Central Asia towards Antarctica. The plot continued to thicken.

The investigation led to officials ruling out the possibility of a water landing. After six hours of flying, the data shows a fast and dangerous descent before MH370 would have dove into the ocean. However, professionals have implied that chances are that the "airplane must have fractured instantly into a million pieces." It was a safe, if not the only assumption, that the evidence led back to. However, a big part of the issue remained: Where did this impact take place, and where exactly is the plane? In April of 2014, after weeks of combing the ocean's surface, the search shifted to the depths of the waters. After four years, the official search came to an end, but recently friends and families of those onboard have been advocating for a new search to launch.  

An Unexpected 'Truth Seeker'

Blaine Gibson grew up on the West Coast as an only child, but from a young age, he would travel with his mother. This is how he came to identify himself as an adventurer, explorer, and truth seeker. Now a grown adult himself, he had followed the news headlines and stories tracking the MH370 developments

Even at a distance, Gibson was extremely frustrated. That is what led him to join a Facebook group centered around the mysterious loss of the airplane. The group's page was filled with comments of frustration, odd potential theories, and guesses about where the wreckage could be. This is how Gibson's mission began to come to light. It occurred to him that someone ought to be checking the coast and beaches for any potential washed-up debris.

The One-Year Anniversary Of The MH370 Disappearance 

One year after the airplane had disappeared the friends and families of the passengers onboard held an event to remember and commemorate all of the lost lives. In addition, the event was an attempt to let the Malaysian officials know the public still expects answers. On that day, the people who arrived probably had no idea who Gibson was and how he would be the one to help them in their search for answers. Gibson had taken it upon himself to attend the event in Kuala Lumpur and share his ideas and mission with the people most closely connected to the mysterious airplane disappearance. 

By treating the attendees like friends he was able to gain their trust and begin the meaningful conversations and mission he set on for. It was evident that this meant a great deal to  Gibson. With the help of Grace Subathirai Nathan, a young woman who lost her mother on MH370, Gibson had the motivation and inspiration he needed to officially pursue this special project. At the time of the official investigation so much of the primary search focused on looking underwater, so in many ways, Gibson was truly opening up a new door. 

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