Malaysian officials released a preliminary report on Thursday detailing missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s mysterious journey on March 8, providing the first complete glimpse of the timeline with maps showing the Boeing 777-200ER’s presumed flight path.
According to the official account of what happened, Flight 370 departed Runway 32R from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41 a.m. local time on its scheduled flight to Beijing. The jetliner reached its cruising altitude of FL 350 at 1:01 a.m. and, at 1:19 a.m., Flight 370 was instructed to contact Ho Chi Minh Center. Someone in the cockpit signed off with the now famous “Good night, Malaysian Three Seven Zero.” That was the last communication from the flight. The last report from its onboard ACARS system came at about 1:08 a.m., the report notes.
From there the jetliner made a sharp turn to the southwest, crossing over the Malaysian Peninsula before turning northwest. The ACARS system sent out seven more messages in the hours that followed confirming it was still logged into the network. The last of these messages was sent at 8:19 a.m. local time in Malaysia.
Based on the maps released by Malaysian officials, the 777 flew over Malaysia before turning right to paralell Indonesia over the Malacca Straight. The last confirmed military radar location was north of the northwestern tip of Indonesia at 18:22 Zulu, or 2:22 a.m. local time in Kuala Lumpur.
From there the jetliner made a sharp turn to the southwest, possibly flying over a portion of Indonesia before traveling along the now well-known southern arc as determined by satellite pings received periodically by Inmarsat satellites.
The report says officials continue to analyze satellite data and aircraft performance to further refine the area where the flight ended. The report also calls for an examination of the safety benefits of installing real-time monitoring equipment for commercial air transport aircraft.
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