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The story of the lost Malaysian plane

An international passenger flight operated by Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished on March 8, 2014, as it was en route from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia to Beijing Capital International Airport. After taking off and while over the South China Sea, the crew of the Boeing 777-200ER, registered as 9M-MRO, last spoke with air traffic control (ATC) about 38 minutes later. Minutes later, the plane vanished from ATC radar screens, but military radar continued to track it for another hour as it veered westward from its intended flight path, passing over the Malay Peninsula and the Andaman Sea. In northwest Peninsular Malaysia, 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) from Penang Island, it departed radar range. The disappearance of Flight 370, which left all 227 passengers and 12 crew members presumed dead, was the deadliest incident involving a Boeing 777 and the deadliest in Malaysia Airlines history up until Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over the conflict-torn Eastern Ukraine four months later on July 17, 2014. The combined loss resulted in severe financial issues for Malaysia Airlines, which the Malaysian government renationalized in August 2014. Before analysis of the aircraft’s automated communications with an Inmarsat satellite revealed a potential crash site somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean, the search for the missing airplane, which eventually became the most expensive in aviation history, was initially concentrated on the South China Sea and Andaman Sea. Since the majority of the passengers on Flight 370 were of Chinese descent, the lack of official information in the days following the disappearance drew harsh criticism from the Chinese public, particularly from the relatives of the passengers. In 2015 and 2016, a number of pieces of marine debris that were positively identified as coming from the aircraft washed up on shore in the western Indian Ocean. The Joint Agency Coordination Centre in charge of the operation suspended its operations in January 2017 after a three-year search across 120,000 km2 (46,000 sq mi) of ocean failed to find the aircraft.

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