Radar echoes, new imagery in search for plane

The crew of one of two Chinese Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft used in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 walk away from their plane in Perth.
The crew of one of two Chinese Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft used in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 walk away from their plane in Perth.

A New Zealand Air Force Orion has this morning returned to Perth empty-handed after a second search for a wooden pallet, spotted by a search plane.

And as new French satellite data comes in showing possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, Australian authorities co-ordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean have asked New Zealand to help analyse imagery from the search.

Flight MH370 went missing over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8 with 239 people aboard, including two New Zealanders. It was on its way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing and since then a multinational search effort has been carried out over wide swathes of ocean.

New Zealand Air Force Air Commodore Mike Yardley told Radio NZ the latest search by the New Zealand Orion had returned to Perth about 4.30am (NZ time).

"The weather conditions were not great," he said.

"We had sea fog right down to the surface of the water in half the area, and then 600 foot of cloud in the other half."

The crew had searched for 4½ hours but found nothing significant.

Yardley also said that over the weekend Australia had asked if New Zealand could help with imagery analysis from the search.

"Basically I'm talking about people just looking at video footage and checking and reviewing footage taken from the aircraft, as an example, and seeing whether they can see anything in that footage."

The sighting of a wooden pallet, which was seen with a range of coloured straps attached, raised hopes. While they were commonly used in shipping, they could also be used in cargo containers carried on planes.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is leading the search in waters off Australia, said the aircraft that spotted the pallet was unable to take photos of it, so it sent planes and a ship to try to "re-find" it in an area 2500 kilometres southwest of Perth. An Australian navy ship was also involved in the search.

Meanwhile, France has provided new satellite data showing possible debris from the missing flight plane.

The new information, given to the Malaysian Government and forwarded to searchers in Australia, shows "potential objects" in the same part of the ocean where satellite images previously released by Australia and China showed objects that could be debris from the plane, Malaysia's Ministry of Transport said in a statement without providing further details.

Details on the data were not immediately released.

The statement called the French information "new satellite images", while a statement from France's Foreign Ministry said "radar echoes taken by a satellite" had located floating debris but made no mention of imagery.

AMSA declined to offer details about the French information.

"Any satellite images or other new information that comes to AMSA is being considered in developing the search plans," AMSA said.

But a Malaysian official involved in the search mission said the French data consisted of radar echoes captured on Friday and converted into fuzzy images that located objects about 930 kilometres north of the spots where the objects in the images released by Australia and China were located.

One of the objects located was estimated to be about the same size as an object captured on Tuesday by the Chinese satellite that appeared to be 22 metres by 13m, said the official, who declined to be identified because he isn't authorised to speak to the media.

It was not possible to determine precise dimensions from the French data, the official said.

Meanwhile police in Malaysia have also reportedly seized the personal financial records of all 12 crew members of the flight - including bank statements, mortgage documents and credit card bills.

Detectives also got hold of the mobile and landline phone records of the crew, along with details of their computer use and online habits, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported.

Investigators are treating as potentially significant a two-minute call shortly before take-off to the captain of the missing plane from a mystery woman using a mobile phone number obtained under a false identity.

The Mail Online reported it was one of the last calls made to or from the mobile of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah in the hours before his Boeing 777 left Kuala Lumpur.

Anyone buying a pay-as-you-go SIM card in Malaysia must fill out a form giving their identity card or passport number.

In this case, police traced the number to a shop selling SIM cards in Kuala Lumpur.

They found it had been bought "very recently" by someone who gave a woman's name – but was using a false identity.

There has been speculation that Zaharie, 53, was linked to anti-government protest groups in Malaysia.

Everyone else who spoke to the pilot on his phone in the hours before the flight took off has already been interviewed.

Australian Air Force flight Lieutenant Russell Adams told reporters yesterday's search was frustrating because "there was cloud down to the surface and at times we were completely enclosed by cloud".

Speaking at the military base where the planes take off and land on their missions, Adams said nothing of interest to searchers had been found, but the search was worth it because "we might do 10 sorties and find nothing, but on that 11th flight when you find something and you know that you're actually contributing to some answers for somebody".

An official with Malaysia Airlines said on Sunday night that the flight was carrying wooden pallets but provided no further details, including the number of pallets.

When Brazilian searchers in 2009 were looking for debris from Air France Flight 447 after it mysteriously plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, they first found a wooden pallet. The military initially reported that the pallet came from the Air France flight, but backtracked hours later and said the plane had not been carrying any wooden pallets.

The southern Indian Ocean is thought to be a potential area to find the jet because Malaysian authorities have said pings sent by the Boeing 777-200's engines for several hours after it disappeared indicated that the plane ended up in one of two huge arcs: a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia, or a southern corridor that stretches toward Antarctica.

Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet, but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.

Authorities are considering the possibilities of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board.

Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein holds satellite images as he speaks about the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 26.
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein holds satellite images as he speaks about the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 26.
A satellite photo, showing the locations and co-ordinates of unknown objects reported by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) in the Indian Ocean. The images were taken on March 23 and released on March 26.
A satellite photo, showing the locations and co-ordinates of unknown objects reported by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) in the Indian Ocean. The images were taken on March 23 and released on March 26.
A satellite photo, showing the location of unknown objects reported by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) in the Indian Ocean. The images were taken on March 23 and released on March 26.
A satellite photo, showing the location of unknown objects reported by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) in the Indian Ocean. The images were taken on March 23 and released on March 26.
Solid matter is pictured floating in the southern Indian Ocean seen from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
Solid matter is pictured floating in the southern Indian Ocean seen from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
INDIAN OCEAN - This handout Satellite image made available by the AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) shows a map of the planned search area for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 on March 24, 2014.
INDIAN OCEAN - This handout Satellite image made available by the AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) shows a map of the planned search area for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 on March 24, 2014.
A still image taken from video shows an image of an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean by the Gaofen-1 high-resolution optical Earth observation satellite of CNSA.
A still image taken from video shows an image of an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean by the Gaofen-1 high-resolution optical Earth observation satellite of CNSA.
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein holds up a note that he has just received on a new lead in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, during a news conference at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 22, 2014.
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein holds up a note that he has just received on a new lead in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, during a news conference at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 22, 2014.
Family members of passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 raise their fists as they shout "return our families" to protest against the lack of new information after a routine briefing given by Malaysia's government and military representatives at Lido Hotel in Beijing March 22, 2014.
Family members of passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 raise their fists as they shout "return our families" to protest against the lack of new information after a routine briefing given by Malaysia's government and military representatives at Lido Hotel in Beijing March 22, 2014.
Map of the southern Indian Ocean locating site where a satellite may have found debris related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; includes satellite images of possible debris. MCT
Map of the southern Indian Ocean locating site where a satellite may have found debris related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; includes satellite images of possible debris. MCT
Satellite photos from March 20 show the objects "possibly associated" with the search for the missing plane. The images were released hours after Australia announced it had "credible" leads in the search for flight MH370.
Satellite photos from March 20 show the objects "possibly associated" with the search for the missing plane. The images were released hours after Australia announced it had "credible" leads in the search for flight MH370.
Satellite photos from March 20 show the objects "possibly associated" with the search for the missing plane. The images were released hours after Australia announced it had "credible" leads in the search for flight MH370.
Satellite photos from March 20 show the objects "possibly associated" with the search for the missing plane. The images were released hours after Australia announced it had "credible" leads in the search for flight MH370.
A crew member aboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion uses binoculars as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 March 22, 2014.
A crew member aboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion uses binoculars as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 March 22, 2014.
Pilot Dave Smith (R) gives a pre-flight briefing aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft before taking off to search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, at RAAF base Pearce near Perth, March 22, 2014.
Pilot Dave Smith (R) gives a pre-flight briefing aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft before taking off to search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, at RAAF base Pearce near Perth, March 22, 2014.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd and USS Pinckney are seen en transit in the Pacific Ocean in this US Navy picture taken May 18, 2011.  Kidd and Pinkney have been searching for the missing Malaysian airliner and are being re-deployed to the Strait of Malacca off Malaysia's west coast as new search areas are opened in the Indian Ocean.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd and USS Pinckney are seen en transit in the Pacific Ocean in this US Navy picture taken May 18, 2011. Kidd and Pinkney have been searching for the missing Malaysian airliner and are being re-deployed to the Strait of Malacca off Malaysia's west coast as new search areas are opened in the Indian Ocean.
A crew member from the Royal Malaysian Air Force looks through the window of a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a Search and Rescue operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A crew member from the Royal Malaysian Air Force looks through the window of a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a Search and Rescue operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A family member of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 covers her face as she cries after a routine briefing given by Malaysia Airlines at Lido Hotel in Beijing, March 22, 2014.
A family member of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 covers her face as she cries after a routine briefing given by Malaysia Airlines at Lido Hotel in Beijing, March 22, 2014.
Selamat Omar shows a picture of his son, flight engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat who was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Selamat Omar shows a picture of his son, flight engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat who was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
A woman writes another message of hope and support for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at a mall outside Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2014.
A woman writes another message of hope and support for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at a mall outside Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2014.
A girl reads some of the messages of hope and support for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at a mall outside Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2014.
A girl reads some of the messages of hope and support for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at a mall outside Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2014.
A woman writes on a banner of well wishes for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 14, 2014.
A woman writes on a banner of well wishes for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 14, 2014.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (bottom C) takes part in a special prayer for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque in Putrajaya March 21, 2014.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (bottom C) takes part in a special prayer for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque in Putrajaya March 21, 2014.
A family member of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as he watches a message board dedicated to passengers.
A family member of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as he watches a message board dedicated to passengers.
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows two maps with corridors of the last known possible location of the missing plane.
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows two maps with corridors of the last known possible location of the missing plane.
Chinese relatives of the missing passengers who were travelling onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 watch a television displaying a Malaysian press conference at Lido Hotel in Beijing.
Chinese relatives of the missing passengers who were travelling onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 watch a television displaying a Malaysian press conference at Lido Hotel in Beijing.
Students watch as a group of artists put the finishing touches to a three dimensional artwork at a school in Makati city, metro Manila. According to the artists, the artwork is their way of expressing sympathy towards the relatives of passengers onboard the missing Boeing 777-200ER.
Students watch as a group of artists put the finishing touches to a three dimensional artwork at a school in Makati city, metro Manila. According to the artists, the artwork is their way of expressing sympathy towards the relatives of passengers onboard the missing Boeing 777-200ER.
Students from an international school in east China city Zhuji pray for the passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Students from an international school in east China city Zhuji pray for the passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
 A relative of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 answers media questions at Lido Hotel.
A relative of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 answers media questions at Lido Hotel.
An object sits in the water in satellite imagery released by China.
An object sits in the water in satellite imagery released by China.
Clouds hover outside the window of a Vietnam Air Force search and rescue aircraft An-26 on a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, off Vietnam's Tho Chu island.
Clouds hover outside the window of a Vietnam Air Force search and rescue aircraft An-26 on a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, off Vietnam's Tho Chu island.
The zone where the mystery objects were found.
The zone where the mystery objects were found.
What appears to be fuel sits on the water in the area where three large objects were found.
What appears to be fuel sits on the water in the area where three large objects were found.
Malaysia's police chief, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar, addresses a news conference.
Malaysia's police chief, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar, addresses a news conference.
 Satellite images reveal a possible crash site for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, where three large objects were seen in the water.
Satellite images reveal a possible crash site for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, where three large objects were seen in the water.
Indian sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik works on a sand sculpture of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at golden beach at Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
Indian sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik works on a sand sculpture of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at golden beach at Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
A charity worker comforts an emotional relative of a passenger.
A charity worker comforts an emotional relative of a passenger.
Military personnel look out of a Singapore Air Force plane during the search.
Military personnel look out of a Singapore Air Force plane during the search.
A combination photo shows two men whom police said were travelling on stolen passports onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane.
A combination photo shows two men whom police said were travelling on stolen passports onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane.
A Chinese relative of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines MH370 is comforted by a staff member of the airport as she shields her face from journalists at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
A Chinese relative of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines MH370 is comforted by a staff member of the airport as she shields her face from journalists at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

People believed to be relatives of passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are escorted to the VIP section of the Beijing Capital International Airport prior to flying to Kuala Lumpur.
People believed to be relatives of passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are escorted to the VIP section of the Beijing Capital International Airport prior to flying to Kuala Lumpur.
A family member of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 waits for news at Lido Hotel on March 10, in Beijing, China. Investigative teams continue to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the 293 passengers that were travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
A family member of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 waits for news at Lido Hotel on March 10, in Beijing, China. Investigative teams continue to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the 293 passengers that were travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Dato' Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation briefs the media over latest updates on missing Malaysia Airline MH370 on March 10, in Kuala Lumpur.
Dato' Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation briefs the media over latest updates on missing Malaysia Airline MH370 on March 10, in Kuala Lumpur.
An officer looks out of a helicopter during a mission to find the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, near Tho Chu Island.
An officer looks out of a helicopter during a mission to find the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, near Tho Chu Island.
A map of a flight plan is seen on a computer screen during a meeting before a mission to find the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, at Phu Quoc Airport.
A map of a flight plan is seen on a computer screen during a meeting before a mission to find the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, at Phu Quoc Airport.
A woman stands in front of a giant screen showing the number hours since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing, in Beijing on March 10.
A woman stands in front of a giant screen showing the number hours since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing, in Beijing on March 10.
Relatives of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cry inside a hotel they are staying, in Putrajaya. China has urged Malaysia to step up the search for the jetliner that went missing with 239 people on board, about two-thirds of them Chinese, and said it has sent security agents to help with an investigation into the misuse of passports.
Relatives of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cry inside a hotel they are staying, in Putrajaya. China has urged Malaysia to step up the search for the jetliner that went missing with 239 people on board, about two-thirds of them Chinese, and said it has sent security agents to help with an investigation into the misuse of passports.
Journalists place their recorders as they get ready for the first briefing of the day at a news conference at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on March 10.
Journalists place their recorders as they get ready for the first briefing of the day at a news conference at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on March 10.
Life vests and lifesavers are seen onboard a Vietnam Air Force search and rescue aircraft on a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, off Tho Chu island.
Life vests and lifesavers are seen onboard a Vietnam Air Force search and rescue aircraft on a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, off Tho Chu island.
Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik applies the final touches to a sand art sculpture he created wishing for the well being of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, on a beach in Puri, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik applies the final touches to a sand art sculpture he created wishing for the well being of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, on a beach in Puri, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
A relative (left) of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is escorted by a caregiver from Malaysia Airlines as they walk in a corridor at a hotel in Beijing.
A relative (left) of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is escorted by a caregiver from Malaysia Airlines as they walk in a corridor at a hotel in Beijing.
Admiral Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish, Director General of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, looks at a radar screen while searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the South China Sea.
Admiral Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish, Director General of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, looks at a radar screen while searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the South China Sea.
A view of oil slicks (pale line near the bottom right) spotted in an area of the South China Sea about 100 nautical miles (185 km) from Tok Bali Beach in Malaysia's Kelantan state.
A view of oil slicks (pale line near the bottom right) spotted in an area of the South China Sea about 100 nautical miles (185 km) from Tok Bali Beach in Malaysia's Kelantan state.
An aerial view of an oil spill is seen from a Vietnamese Air Force aircraft in the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, 250 km from Vietnam and 190 km from Malaysia, in this handout photo from Thanh Nien Newpaper taken on March 8.
An aerial view of an oil spill is seen from a Vietnamese Air Force aircraft in the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, 250 km from Vietnam and 190 km from Malaysia, in this handout photo from Thanh Nien Newpaper taken on March 8.
Volunteer rescue workers and religious organisations pray during multi-religion mass prayers for the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
Volunteer rescue workers and religious organisations pray during multi-religion mass prayers for the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
Vietnamese Air Force officers sit in the cockpit of a search and rescue aircraft as they fly over the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
Vietnamese Air Force officers sit in the cockpit of a search and rescue aircraft as they fly over the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
Malaysia Airlines Commercial Director Hugh Dunleavy (centre) speaks to journalists about information of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Malaysia Airlines Commercial Director Hugh Dunleavy (centre) speaks to journalists about information of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A relative (front) of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she walks past journalists at a hotel in Beijing March 9, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER aircraft carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew was presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast on Saturday.
A relative (front) of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she walks past journalists at a hotel in Beijing March 9, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER aircraft carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew was presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast on Saturday.
Journalists attempt to interview a woman who is the relative of a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as she crouches on the floor crying, at the Beijing Capital International Airport.
Journalists attempt to interview a woman who is the relative of a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as she crouches on the floor crying, at the Beijing Capital International Airport.
The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement.
The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement.
A spokesman (centre) of Malaysia Airlines is surrounded by journalists as he gives a briefing about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a hotel in Beijing March 8, 2014.
A spokesman (centre) of Malaysia Airlines is surrounded by journalists as he gives a briefing about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a hotel in Beijing March 8, 2014.
A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries, surrounded by journalists, at the Beijing Capital International Airport on March 8, 2014.
A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries, surrounded by journalists, at the Beijing Capital International Airport on March 8, 2014.

- Fairfax NZ, AP

The saga begins on March 8, when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 departs Kuala Lumpur at 12:41am, local time. On board are 227 passengers and 12 crew.
The saga begins on March 8, when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 departs Kuala Lumpur at 12:41am, local time. On board are 227 passengers and 12 crew.
Captaining the flight of the Boeing 777-200 is 53-year old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, shown here on the right.
Captaining the flight of the Boeing 777-200 is 53-year old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, shown here on the right.
At 1:21am the MH370's transponder stops signalling, halting the regular responses it usually gives to radar signals. The plane makes a series of strange but controlled movements, turning west sharply, then climbing above its designed height limit and back down.
At 1:21am the MH370's transponder stops signalling, halting the regular responses it usually gives to radar signals. The plane makes a series of strange but controlled movements, turning west sharply, then climbing above its designed height limit and back down.
At 1.30am, on point 4, the plane is spotted for the last time on civilian radar. At 2.15am, on point 5, military radar spots it, although it is not clear at the time that this was MH370. Satellite data suggests the plane could also have angled towards point 6.
At 1.30am, on point 4, the plane is spotted for the last time on civilian radar. At 2.15am, on point 5, military radar spots it, although it is not clear at the time that this was MH370. Satellite data suggests the plane could also have angled towards point 6.
At 6.32am air traffic control in Kuala Lumpur sends a radio signal on an emergency channel asking MH370 to contact them. The plane is now overdue at Beijing Airport, shown.
At 6.32am air traffic control in Kuala Lumpur sends a radio signal on an emergency channel asking MH370 to contact them. The plane is now overdue at Beijing Airport, shown.
Relatives of passengers despair, and the search begins.
Relatives of passengers despair, and the search begins.
International news media focus on the story immediately.
International news media focus on the story immediately.
Multiple false leads pop up, like this oil spotted by a Vietnamese search plane.
Multiple false leads pop up, like this oil spotted by a Vietnamese search plane.
Malaysian government and airline officials have released confusing and contradictory information. Here, Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, left, and Department of Civil Aviation director general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman take questions at a press conference.
Malaysian government and airline officials have released confusing and contradictory information. Here, Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, left, and Department of Civil Aviation director general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman take questions at a press conference.
Concerns are raised when it becomes apparent that two Iranian men, shown here, boarded the plane with stolen passports. Interpol rejects the suggestion of terrorism, however, concluding the men were probably asylum seekers.
Concerns are raised when it becomes apparent that two Iranian men, shown here, boarded the plane with stolen passports. Interpol rejects the suggestion of terrorism, however, concluding the men were probably asylum seekers.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
Theories abound. Fellow pilot Chris Goodfellow has suggested that a tyre may have caught fire, causing the pilots to turn towards the closest suitable airport, with the rapid ascent and descent perhaps representing an attempt to extinguish the fire. Critics of this theory have pointed out that the change in path was programmed into the plane's computer 12 minutes before the calm toned "good night" transmission, suggesting the change in course was planned.
Theories abound. Fellow pilot Chris Goodfellow has suggested that a tyre may have caught fire, causing the pilots to turn towards the closest suitable airport, with the rapid ascent and descent perhaps representing an attempt to extinguish the fire. Critics of this theory have pointed out that the change in path was programmed into the plane's computer 12 minutes before the calm toned "good night" transmission, suggesting the change in course was planned.
Given the amount of fuel on board, the plane could have made it as far north as Kazakhstan, on a possible flight path shown in orange.
Given the amount of fuel on board, the plane could have made it as far north as Kazakhstan, on a possible flight path shown in orange.
Or somewhere southwest of Australia, on a possible flight path shown in orange.
Or somewhere southwest of Australia, on a possible flight path shown in orange.
Others have speculated that the pilot or co-pilot may have intentionally crashed the plane. The FBI is trying to restore deleted simulator-flights from Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah's computer – but these could be innocuous. Critics of the crash theory say neither the pilot nor co-pilot had ever expressed any kind of radical sentiment or displayed mental issues, and both possessed adequate flying experience.
Others have speculated that the pilot or co-pilot may have intentionally crashed the plane. The FBI is trying to restore deleted simulator-flights from Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah's computer – but these could be innocuous. Critics of the crash theory say neither the pilot nor co-pilot had ever expressed any kind of radical sentiment or displayed mental issues, and both possessed adequate flying experience.
The ever-present worry of terrorism remains. No groups have claimed responsibility for the incident, and a political motivation is unclear - but that doesn't rule it out.
The ever-present worry of terrorism remains. No groups have claimed responsibility for the incident, and a political motivation is unclear - but that doesn't rule it out.
On March 20, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told his parliament that objects had been spotted in waters hundreds of kilometres off the western Australian coast. Further searches, by Australian, New Zealand and US planes, were needed to find out if they were part of the missing plane.
On March 20, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told his parliament that objects had been spotted in waters hundreds of kilometres off the western Australian coast. Further searches, by Australian, New Zealand and US planes, were needed to find out if they were part of the missing plane.
The crew of one of two Chinese Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft used in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 walk away from their plane in Perth.
The crew of one of two Chinese Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft used in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 walk away from their plane in Perth.
Thirty-eight days after the plane went missing, an Australian navy ship is guided into position by a Royal New Zealand Airforce P-3K2 Orion aircraft. Officials say they will deploy an underwater robot to aid in the hunt.
Thirty-eight days after the plane went missing, an Australian navy ship is guided into position by a Royal New Zealand Airforce P-3K2 Orion aircraft. Officials say they will deploy an underwater robot to aid in the hunt.
Announcing that an underwater drone will be deployed imminently, Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre chief Angus Houston says an oil slick has been detected in the search area for the missing plane.
Announcing that an underwater drone will be deployed imminently, Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre chief Angus Houston says an oil slick has been detected in the search area for the missing plane.