Malaysia Flight 370 went missing in March 2014. A decade later, here is what we know

In this March 31, 2014, file photo, the shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion is seen on low level cloud while the aircraft searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of Western Australia. Netflix will release a documentary, “MH370: The Plane That Disappeared,” about the incident on March 8.

Nearly a decade ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing. It seemed to disappear out of thin air. Meager amounts of debris from the plane were reportedly found, but the reports remain inconclusive. We still don’t know what happened.

As arguably one of the greatest mysteries of the last decade, there are still hundreds of questions surrounding the disappearance of Flight 370. What did the plane’s last moments in air look like? Why has the plane not been recovered? What is the government not telling us? Does the government even know anything about it?

As we come upon the 10-year anniversary of Flight MH370′s disappearance, here are some key facts about the missing plane.

What do we know about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370?

1. Flight 370 took off on March 8, 2014, just after midnight

On March 8, 2014, at 12:41 a.m., Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off with 227 passengers and 12 crew members from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The plane was scheduled to arrive at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 6:30 a.m. local time. It never did. Instead, at 1:07 a.m., the airplane sent its final automated position report. At 1:19 a.m., the final voice transmission from the cockpit of the ill-fated plane was received by air traffic controllers: “Good night Malaysian three seven zero,” per History.

Roughly an hour after the plane missed its scheduled landing time in Beijing, Malaysia Airlines announced it was missing.

2. No distress signal was ever sent

The Boeing 777 jetliner silently disappeared. A distress signal was never received. The pilots never activated an SOS. Why? That remains a mystery. Along with the majority of the plane, the black box was never found — and it could have provided answers, per The Washington Post.

According to CNN, emergency beacons — also known as emergency locator transmitters — are devices that send out an electronic distress signal in the event of a crash. They cannot operate underwater. Flight 370 had four emergency locator transmitters, Malaysian officials told CNN. Two were stored on the plane’s life raft, one was stowed in the cabin and the fourth was an antenna near the rear door at the top of the aircraft.

It only takes a half-second data “burst” for the transmitters to indicate an emergency. There was never a single burst. If the antenna was working, it could have broken in the event of a crash. The other transmitters will not work if the beacon is submerged underwater.

3. The plane flew off course

Malaysia Flight 370 probably steered off-course intentionally, reports Time. A report from the Malaysian government released in 2018 claimed that the Boeing 777 changed course — the report claimed maneuvers made by the plane were likely due to the system being manipulated, not a system failure.

Experts mapped the plane’s course through hourly data hookups with a satellite. They believe the plane might have run out of gas and plummeted into the Indian Ocean.

“We are unable to determine with any certainty the reasons that the aircraft diverted from its filed planned route,” said Kok Soo Chon, chief inspector of the MH370 investigation team, per Time. “The possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded.”

4. The locator beacon for the plane’s data recorder was expired

A comprehensive report in the disappearance of Flight 370 revealed that the battery in the plane’s locator beacon for the data recorder expired more than a year before the Boeing 777’s disappearance, per Deseret News.

Although the beacon’s battery was expired, the data recording device — also known as a black box — would have been working and likely recorded what happened on the plane.

5. Debris from the plane washed up in 2015 and 2016

Roughly 20 pieces from the plane have been found by the public on the African coast and islands of the Indian Ocean, per the BBC. Most of the pieces were found in 2015 and 2016.

Some of the pieces found include: the right wing flaperon, the right outboard flap, closet panel, cabin interior panel and the left outboard flap trailing edge. Most of the pieces found were confirmed as parts from MH370.

The first piece discovered, the right wing flaperon, was examined in France by international aviation experts who say they believe “with certainty” that the piece came from MH370, per the BBC.

What do conspiracy theorists say about MH370?

The disappearance of Flight MH370 offers an optimal breeding ground for conspiracy theories (some reasonable, others outlandish) and since we still don’t know exactly what happened to Flight MH370, the conspiracy theories about its disappearance are alive and well. Here are a few of the most common theories.

1. Russian special ops took the plane

An article in New York Magazine hypothesizes that the plane was hijacked by Russian special ops. Nefarious actors might have broken into the electronics-and-equipment bay, which is located in front of the first-class cabin on a Boeing 777. Theoretically, an expert hijacker could have access to equipment that could be used to change satellite data and alter pinpoints the plane took — providing investigators with a false trail. They could have even taken over flight controls.

Jeff Wise, the man behind the theory, believes the plane actually traveled north into Asia with a final destination in Kazakhstan, where there are runways large enough for a Boeing 777. Wise’s theory is well-researched, he provides claims for which passengers might have been the perpetrators and an exact location the plane might have landed, but it has yet to be proven.

2. There was a fire in the cockpit

Chris Goodfellow, a pilot with 20 years of experience, believes the fate of MH370 was sparked by an electrical fire in the cockpit. He describes his theory as a “simple explanation” to the disappearance of the Boeing 777, per Wired. Goodfellow suggests a fire in the cockpit explains the sudden disappearance of communications and the plane’s sudden left turn — the experienced MH370 pilot was heading to the nearest airport amid the fire.

Goodfellow describes a variety of unfortunate circumstances that could have led to a cockpit fire. If it did happen, the flight crew might have succumbed to smoke while the plane kept flying until the controls burned up or it ran out of gas.

3. It was murder-suicide by the pilot

Larry Vance, a Canadian aviation expert and former airplane crash investigator, told CBC News that he can claim with “100% certainty” that the disappearance of MH370 was an act of murder-suicide by the pilot.

“This is a criminal event. It’s not an accident,” Vance told CBC News. “This was planned and conducted, carried out by one individual who had control of the airplane via his job to have control of the airplane.”

Vance says based on his examination of the washed-up plane debris, he can confirm that the plane was deliberately crashed.

4. U.S. military shot it down

Another theory suggests the plane was going on a suicide mission and the U.S. military shot it down before it could reach its target, per Wired. Americans covered up the act by altering the plane’s satellite data and collecting the debris, the theory alleges.

5. Abducted by aliens

When in doubt, blame aliens. Need I say more?

Watch: trailer for ‘MH370: The Plane That Disappeared’

On March 8, 2023 — exactly nine years after MH370′s mysterious disappearance — Netflix released a documentary, “MH370: The Plane That Disappeared,” which digs into what happened during the first few hours and days after the disappearance, a brief history of Malaysian Airlines and a look at the ongoing search for Flight 370.

“Nine years later, the event is still a disturbing, unresolved mystery, and the three-part speculative docuseries ‘MH370: The Plane That Disappeared’ brings together a global community of family members, scientists and investigative journalists, all of whom continue to search for answers,” says Netflix.

Watch a trailer for the documentary below.