Fate of missing flight MH370 remains a mystery

KUALA LUMPUR: The fate of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 which went missing over the South China Sea when flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Saturday remains a mystery.

There were no reports of bad weather and no indication of why the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft vanished from radar screens at 1.30am after leaving KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang at 12.41am.

Aviation experts are puzzled as to how the aircraft could have vanished without any trace.

An aviation industry source said today that pilots were trained to make a Mayday call as soon as they encountered an emergency and the first priority would be given to the plane so that it can land safely.

"Something extreme and sudden could have happened on MH370 that impeded the pilots from making the Mayday call. This is because the Boeing 777-200ER is equipped with the Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) to declare an emergency," he told Bernama on condition of anonymity.

However, he remained cautious, saying that the black box of the flight would shed light on the unanswered questions.

Although there is no sign of MH370's disappearance, the aircraft has joined a number of mysterious plane incidents which remain unresolved until today.

The most notable recent case involved an Air France plane carrying 228 people from Brazil to France that vanished after flying into a severe storm over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. The Airbus A330 sent an automatic message four hours after it left Rio de Janeiro, reporting a short circuit. It then went missing in mid-ocean, beyond the scope of radar coverage. It was thought at the time to have been struck by lightning. The wreckage was not found until two years later, along with 104 bodies. The bodies of 74 passengers remain unrecovered, according to Mirror Online, a United Kingdom-based media.

American explorer Amelia Earhart disappeared in July 1939, during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Popular theory has it that Earhart's plane crashed into the ocean and was never found, according to a United Kingdom-based online daily, Mirror.

A British South American Airways (BSAA) plane, the Star Tiger, disappeared when flying from Santa Maria in the Azores to Bermuda on Jan 30, 1948.

Another BSAA plane, the Star Ariel, vanished during a flight from Bermuda to Jamaica on Jan 17, 1949.

A crash, if confirmed, would likely mark the US-built airliner's deadliest incident since entering service 19 years ago. It would be the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER crash-landed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers and injuring more than 180. – Bernama