Fear and uncertainties remained high more than 24 hours after a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER registration number 9M-MRO had disappeared only an hour after departing from Kuala Lumpur Airport on a flight to Beijing. The aircraft which carried 239 people on board simply went off the radar while climbing off Vietnam’s coast on Friday march 7th 2014. It was reported that flight MH370 last radar contact with Malaysian air traffic control took place at around 1:20 a.m. Saturday (12:20 p.m. EST Friday).
The passengers manifest released by the carrier confirmed that a total of 239 people were on board the flight including twelve crew members and 227 passengers, of which 153 were citizens of China, 38 from Malaysia, 7 from Indonesia, another 7 from Australia, 5 from India, 4 from the US along with individuals from various other nations.
The notion that terrorism may have played a part in MH370 disappearance became somewhat realistic when it was discovered that two passengers who were believed to be flying on that airplane had in fact had their passports stolen prior, both while traveling to Thailand. Various news outlets have circulated the name of Luigi Maraldi, an Italian and Christian Kozel an Austrian as the people whose identities have been used fraudulently to purchase and possibly board the missing airliner.
For now a massive search effort has been initiated by Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, China, as well as other means such as a U.S. 7th Fleet guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney supported by and a P-3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Aerial means which had been hampered by night fall, were supported by numerous navy ships also aided by fishing vessels.
Reports emanating from the Vietnamese government that two oil slicks approximately 6 to 9 miles wide had been detected south of the country’s coastal line remain serious indication that the aircraft may indeed have crashed in the water.
Already the catastrophe is bringing comparisons to the tragic disappearance at sea of Air France flight 447 Airbus A330 flying from Rio De Janeiro to Paris in June of 2009 and also the less recent South Africa Airways flight 295 Boeing 747 flying from Taipei to Mauritius in November 1987.
The Boeing 777 remains one of the industry safest aircraft having suffered its first passengers fatalities in August 2013 when an Asiana 777-200ER crashed while landing at San Francisco airport. It was later reported that at least 2 of the 3 individuals killed during the episode had actually survived the accident until ran over by emergency fire fighting trucks responding to the crash scene. 9M-MRO, a Boeing 777-200ER delivered brand new to the Malaysian flag carrier was equipped with 2 Rolls Royce Trent 892 engines and had accumulated the industry average 20,000 flight hours since first flying with the carrier following its delivery brand new in May of 2002.