Timeline of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Here is a timeline of events leading up to and including the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. All times are local times.


An Iranian man named Kazem Ali purchases plane tickets for two men on this flight. These travelers board the flight with stolen Austrian and Italian passports. The passports were stolen in Thailand. Both tickets were one-way, paid for with cash and had itineraries continuing on from Beijing to Amsterdam. One ticket's final destination was Frankfurt, Germany; the other's was Copenhagen, Denmark. Interpol identified the men using the stolen passports as Pouri Nourmohammadi, 18, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, 29, both Iranians. Malaysian police believe the former was trying to immigrate to Germany using the stolen Austrian passport. The men entered Malaysia on February 28 using valid Iranian passports.


12:41 a.m.: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 departs Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route to Beijing. The weather is good.

The plane is carrying 239 people: 227 passengers and 12 crew members. Five passengers are under age 5. There are 13 nationalities represented on board. More than half (154) are Chinese/Taiwanese. Other passengers were from Malaysia (38), India (5), Indonesia, Australia, the United States (3), France, New Zealand, Ukraine, Canada, Russia, Italy (see above), Austria (see above), and the Netherlands.

The plane is a Boeing 777-200ER. This aircraft has an excellent safety record. Malaysia Airlines has 15 of the 777-200 planes in its fleet. The airline operates in Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and on the route between Europe and Australasia.

The expected trip length was roughly 2,700 miles (4,350 kilometers). It was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m.

(There was some initial confusion over the distance. The length of 2,300 miles (3700 kilometers) refers to nautical mileage.)

The crew members are Malaysian. The pilot is Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old veteran with 18,365 flying hours who joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. The first officer, Fariq Ab Hamid, has 2,763 flying hours. Hamid, 27, started at the airline in 2007. He had been flying another jet and was transitioning to the Boeing 777-200 after having completed training in a flight simulator.

Around 1:30 a.m.: About 45 minutes after takeoff, air traffic controllers in Subang (outside Kuala Lumpur) said they lost contact with the plane over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam at coordinates 06 55 15n 103 34 43e.

Further reporting and information has shown that this is when the aircraft's transponder was either turned off or stopped working. At the time the aircraft transponder stopped working, the plane was carrying about 7½ hours of fuel.

Around 2:40 a.m.: According to a senior Malaysian Air Force official, radar tracking shows MH370's last known location was over the very small island of Pulau Perak in the Strait of Malacca. This is hundreds of miles from the flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. At this time, civilian and military radar lost all contact with the aircraft. If this data is correct, the aircraft was flying in the opposite direction from its scheduled destination and on the opposite side of the Malay Peninsula from its scheduled route.

Four scenarios

What is a transponder?

      Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

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      An empty space on earth

      His wife never came home from her flight on MH370, and now K.S. Narendran is left to imagine the worst of possible truths without knowing.
    • This handout photo taken on April 7, 2014 and released on April 9, 2014 by Australian Defence shows Maritime Warfare Officer, Sub Lieutenant Ryan Penrose watching HMAS Success as HMAS Perth approaches for a replenishment at sea while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Two fresh signals have been picked up Australian ship Ocean Shield in the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370, raising hopes that wreckage will be found within days even as black box batteries start to expire.

      Is this the sound of the crash?

      Was the sound of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 striking the water captured by ocean devices used to listen for signs of nuclear blasts?
    •  A crew member of a Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) P-3K2-Orion aircraft helps to look for objects during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in flight over the Indian Ocean on April 13, 2014 off the coast of Perth, Australia. S

      Search back to square one

      What was believed to be the best hope of finding the missing plane is now being called a false hope. Rene Marsh explains.
    • Caption:A Chinese relative of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 uses a lighter as she prays at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 8, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris. AFP PHOTO/WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

      Bring in the lawyers

      Involved parties, including the manufacturer Boeing, are bracing for a long public relations siege.
    • The painstaking search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 got a vote of confidence Friday that the effort is headed in the right direction, but officials noted that much work remains.
Credit: 	CNN

      Pings likely not from Flight 370

      Official: The four acoustic pings at the center of the search for Flight 370 are no longer believed to have come from the plane's black boxes.
    • INDIAN OCEAN (April 14, 2014) -- Operators aboard ADF Ocean Shield move U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, April 14. Using side scan sonar, the Bluefin will descend to a depth of between 4,000 and 4,500 meters, approximately 35 meters above the ocean floor. It will spend up to 16 hours at this depth collecting data, before potentially moving to other likely search areas. Joint Task Force 658 is currently supporting Operation Southern Indian Ocean, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/RELEASED)

      Underwater search on hold

      The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane will effectively be put on hold this week, and may not resume until August at the earliest.
    • Movie-makers say they have recruited leading Hollywood technicians to bring their experience to mid-air flight sequences.

      An MH370 movie already?

      Movie-makers in Cannes have announced they're making a thriller based on the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370.
    • The story of the search

      The search for the missing Boeing 777 has gone on for eight weeks now. CNN's David Molko looks back at this difficult, emotional assignment.