Missing Malaysia Airline Plane: What We Know Now

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared without a trace Friday.

ByABC News
March 10, 2014, 11:53 AM

March 10, 2014— -- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur on the morning of March 8, but lost contact with air traffic control an hour later and disappeared off the radar.

No trace of the plane and the 239 people on board have been found and few details about what could have happened to the plane have been released.

Here's what we know now as of now about the investigation into missing flight MH370.

Check out ABC News' photos of the search for the flight here, too.

    Timeline of Events:

  • 12:41 a.m. (Malaysia): Flight MH370 departs Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia headed for Beijing, China.
  • 12:43 a.m First time the flight shows up on radar
  • 1:20 a.m. Air traffic control and radar lose contact. The last signal from the flight showed the plane at 35,000 feet. It went off the radar about 140 miles off the coast of Vietnam.

    The Investigation

  • Hijack: Investigators are "not discounting" the possibility of a hijack, but there is no evidence pointing to it.
  • Separatist Group Claiming Responsibility: A Chinese media personality received an open letter allegedly from a group of Chinese separatists called the "Chinese Martyr Brigade" that claimed responsibility for the incident. The letter said it was revenge for Malaysia persecuting them and for China suppressing the Uigurs. The Uigars are an ethnic minority in China. Last week, an extremist Uigur group allegedly perpetrated a knife attack in a Chinese train station that left 29 dead and more than 100 injured.
  • Plane May Have Turned Back: A radar recording indicates that the plane may have turned back toward Malaysia after taking off, but the pilots made no such indication on the radio.
  • Oil Slicks Tested: Oil slicks spotted off the Vietnam coast were thought to be signs of the downed plane, but tests have come back showing they had nothing to do with the aircraft and were not related to the disappearance. Also, a piece of debris thought to be from the plane also proved to be unrelated.

    Fake Passports Used By Two Passengers

  • Investigators discovered that two passengers used stolen passports, one from Austria and one from Italy, to board the flight.
  • Interpol criticized Malaysia for not checking the men's passports against the international database of stolen passports, where they would have seen that the passports had been reported stolen in 2012 and 2013. Both were stolen in Thailand.
  • The two individuals who used the stolen passports were identified on CCTV footage and described by a Malaysian official as "not Asian-looking."
  • One of men was identified as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19. The Iranian has no known terrorist connections, and he was likely trying to enter Germany to seek asylum.

    The Search for Flight #MH370

  • Nine countries are now searching for the plane or any sign of it: Vietnam, China, Singapore, Indonesia, USA, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. The U.S. Navy has sent the 7th Fleet's USS Pinckney, carrying two search and rescue helicopters and a maritime surveillance aircraft.
  • 40 ships and 34 aircraft are involved in searching.
  • The search for evidence of the flight, including any debris or wreckage, was expanded today and now spans 100 nautical miles around the west coast of Malaysia.
  • The plane was a Boeing 777-200 with a clean flight history; Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, according to the Flight Safety Foundation.

    The Passengers

  • 239 people were on board the flight, made up of 227 passengers (including one infant and one toddler) and 12 crew members.
  • Three Americans, including two children, are among the missing. Philip Wood, a 50-year-old IBM executive, had just come from Texas where he was visiting family on his way to Beijing.
  • A total of 14 different nationalities, though 152 passengers were Chinese.
  • Twenty passengers on the plane worked for the Austin, Texas, company Freescale Semiconductor. Another passenger, Chng Mei Ling, worked as an engineer for the Pennsylvania company Flexsys America LP.
  • Pilot Zahari Ahmad Shah, 53, was a veteran pilot who joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and had over 18,000 flying hours.