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TIMELINE-The search for missing Malaysian jet

Source: Reuters - Thu, 13 Mar 2014 03:31 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Corrects time of departure on Saturday to 12:41 a.m. (1641 GMT Friday))

SINGAPORE, March 12 (Reuters) - Here is a timeline of events in the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner which vanished from radar screens on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early on Saturday:

SATURDAY, MARCH 8

- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Flight departs at 12:41 a.m. (1641 GMT Friday), and is due to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day. On board the Boeing 777-200ER are 227 passengers and 12 crew.

- Airline loses contact with plane between 1-2 hours after takeoff. No distress signal and weather is clear at the time.

- Missing plane last has contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

- Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam says plane failed to check in as scheduled at 1721 GMT while flying over sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City.

- Flight tracking website flightaware.com shows plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from website's tracking records a minute later while still climbing.

- Malaysia search ships see no sign of wreckage in area where flights last made contact. Vietnam says giant oil slick and column of smoke seen in its waters.

- Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight, are not in fact on board. They say their passports were stolen.

SUNDAY, MARCH 9

- Malaysia Airlines says fears worst and is working with U.S. company that specialises in disaster recovery.

- Radar indicates flight may have turned back from its scheduled route to Beijing before disappearing.

- Interpol says at least two passports recorded as lost or stolen in its database were used by passengers, and it is "examining additional suspect passports".

- Investigators narrow focus of inquiries on possibility plane disintegrated in mid-flight, a source who is involved in the investigations in Malaysia tells Reuters.

MONDAY, MARCH 10

- The United States review of American spy satellite imagery shows no signs of mid-air explosion.

- As dozens of ships and aircraft from seven countries scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, questions mounted over whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down the Boeing airliner.

- Hijacking could not be ruled out, said the head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe, adding the missing jet was an "unprecedented aviation mystery".

- The disappearance of the Malaysian airliner could dent the national carrier's plan to return to profit by end-2014, equity analysts said. Shares in MAS hot a record low on Monday.

TUESDAY, MARCH 11

- Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble names the two men who boarded jet with stolen passports as Iranians, aged 18 and 29, who had entered Malaysia using their real passports. "The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident," Noble said.

- Malaysian police chief said the younger man appeared to be an illegal immigrant. His mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with authorities, he said.

- Malaysian police say they are investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery, along with the possibility of a hijacking, sabotage or mechanical failure.

- Malaysia's military believes missing jet turned and flew hundreds of kilometres to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a senior officer told Reuters. The jet made it into the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest shipping channels, along Malaysia's west coast, said the officer.

- A Colorado-based company has put "crowdsourcing" to work in search for a missing jet, enlisting Internet users to comb through satellite images of more than 1,200 square miles (3,200 square km) of open seas for any signs of wreckage.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12

- The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet expands to an area stretching from China to India, as authorities struggle to answer what had happened to the aircraft that vanished almost five days ago with 239 people on board.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Michael Perry)

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