UPDATE 7: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

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Malaysia Airlines (MAS) lost contact with Flight 370, a Boeing 777-200 with 227 passengers and 12 crewmembers onboard, about an hour into its scheduled 6-hr, 10-min flight to Beijing on March 8. The aircraft was en route from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) to Beijing International Airport (PEK). The flight departed KUL at 0041 and was scheduled to arrived at about 0630.
 
The airline originally said it "was informed of the flight's disappearance at 0240 Kuala Lumpur time on March 8," but in a subsequent media statement, noted that the flight was last heard from at 0130, which seems to be the time that ATC reported losing contact. 
 
The time differences suggest the airline was not informed immediately of the aircraft's status. Here is our first-take story.

From the carrier:

Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. 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.
 
UPDATE: MAS says the aircraft's last known position "before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 North ... and 1033443 East." Next-of-kin of all onboard "are being informed" and the passenger manifest was released at 1920 Kuala Lumpur time March 8. Boeing says is dispatching a team to assist investigators.
 
UPDATE 2: As of 0200 March 9 Sepang time, MAS said search teams "have failed to find evidence of any wreckage" and airline executives are "dispatching all information as and when we receive it."
 
UPDATE 3: As of 0930 Sepang time March 9, MAS said the search teams "are still unable to detect the whereabouts of the missing aircraft." The carrier said it had 94 caregivers deployed "to provide emotional support to the families." Meanwhile, the U.S. NTSB was staging a support team, including technical advisors from Boeing and FAA, in the region in case it was called on to assist in an accident investigation.
 
UPDATE 4: At 1000 Sepang time on March 10, MAS reiterated that it had no "positive findings on the whereabouts of the aircraft." The Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia said that teams from Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and the U.S. are participating in the search for the aircraft. "When the aircraft is located, a Response Coordination Centre (RCC) will be activated within the vicinity to support the needs of the families," the carrier added. "This has been communicated specifically to the families." MAS says "more than" 150 members of its crisis response team are in Beijing and another group is in Kuala Lumpur, offering support to family members of passengers onboard the missing Flight 370. Meanwhile, Interpol on March 9 confirmed that "at least" two passports used by passengers on the missing flight were stolen and registered in its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database.
 
UPDATE 5: MAS released one of its most detailed updates yet on March 11 at 1115 Malaysia time (MYT), but it still doesn't have any evidence that points to what happened to Flight 370. MAS says that "no information was relayed" via the Boeing 777-200's Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), and confirmed that "there were no distress calls" from the aircraft. MAS says investigators "looking at a possibility of an attempt" to turn back. As a result, the search and rescue teams "have expanded the scope beyond the flight path to the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca." The airframe involved, 9M-MRO, last "underwent maintenance" on Feb. 23 in the carrier's Kuala Lumpur hangar, and is slated for its next check on June 19. The aircraft has 53,465.21 hours and 7,525 cycles. Here's our related story.
 
UPDATE 6: MAS on March 13 announced that, effective March 14, the Flight 370 (KUL-PEK) and Flight 371 (PEK-KUL) designations would be retired from its schedule. 
 
UPDATE 7: On March 15, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak gave the first official confirmation of what reports have indicated for several days: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370's disappearance is now being probed as a deliberate act. Read our updated story here. Citing "forensic work" and "deliberation" by the UK AAIB, NTSB, FAA and Malaysian authorities working "separately" on the same data, investigators have concluded "with a high degree of certainty" that Flight 370's transponder and ACARS were "disabled" just before the aircraft reached Malaysia's peninsular east coast, Razak confirmed. The aircraft then turned northwest and flew out of Malaysian military radar coverage. Investigators also confirmed that the aircraft's routine data transmission systems continued to attempt to connect with Inmarsat satellites until 0811 on March 8. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that satellites picked up transmissions from Flight 370 well past the time it dropped off ATC radar. The last transmission time indicates the 777-200 was airborne, or at least powered up, for at least 7.5 hours. The data does not reveal the plane's flight path. However, investigators are focusing on two corridors: a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern corridor stretching approximately from Indonesia to the southern Indian ocean. CNN revealed these details on March 14. Investigators are working to determine how far the aircraft may have traveled after the final transmission. Razak was careful to emphasize that while the probe's focus has shifted to a deliberate act by someone onboard, reports that the plane was hijacked are premature. Investigators are looking at "all possibilities" associated with a deliberate act, he emphasized. Aviation Week editors discussed tracking Flight 370, search and rescue efforts, and more on a podcast recorded March 14.   
 
See all updates from the carrier here.
 
The aircraft involved is 9M-MRO, which Aviation Week's Fleets database shows is c/n 28420, line no. 404, delivered in May 2002. It was powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 800s. That airframe was involved in at least one notable previous incident--an airfield incursion at Shanghai Pudong in 2012.
 
Founded in 1972, MAS has one fatal accident (excluding a 1977 hijacking) on record--a 1995 Fokker 50 crash that killed 34 of 53 onboard, the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) shows.

Two Boeing 777 hulls have been lost--the 2008 British Airways (BA) crash landing at Heathrow, later pegged to a fuel system icing issue, and last year's Asiana Airlines crash landing at San Francisco, which NTSB is still probing. Both were 777-200s; the BA aircraft had Rolls-Royce Trent 800 powerplants, while the Asiana aircraft had Pratt & Whitney PW4090s. A third--the EgyptAir 777-200 that suffered a cockpit fire in July 2011--was damaged beyond repair and written off.

A second BA 777-200, this one powered by GE90s, was involved in a fatal incident in Denver in September 2001 when a fire broke out during refueling, killing a ground service worker. The aircraft suffered minimal thermal damage.
 
NOTE: Post updates include two revisions to reported elapsed time betweeen flight's departure and disappearance, reflecting information released by the carrier.

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