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Australia and Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

On Saturday, 8 March 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:42 am (MYT) and was expected to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 am (MYT). The Boeing 777-200ER was carrying 12 crew and 227 passengers. Communication with the aircraft was lost when it was in the vicinity of waypoint IGARI over the South China Sea. Instead of proceeding toward Vietnam en-route to China the aircraft made a turn-back west across the Malay Peninsula; changed direction again and flew north west towards the Andaman Sea; and then turned south. Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

Six Australians and two New Zealanders were on board flight MH370. One of the New Zealanders had moved to Australia so his family was living there when MH370 went missing.

Australian media reported the incident with updates as Malaysia Airlines released each media statement.

The initial search for MH370 began in the South China Sea, east of Malaysia, and continued until 15th March. However, a concurrent search was conducted west of the Malay Peninsula, covering areas in the Strait of Malacca, Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, and West of Sumatra. Australia and New Zealand joined ten other countries contributing to this stage of the search for MH370.

Search areas were redefined to northern and southern corridors and then focussed on the southern Indian Ocean. At the request of the Malaysian Government, the Australian Government accepted responsibility for initial search operations in the southern part of the Indian Ocean on 17 March 2014[1].

The search was coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

On 30 March 2014, the then Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, established the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) to coordinate the Australian Government's support for the search for missing flight MH370.[1].

The Governments of Malaysia, The People's Republic of China, and Australia entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, forming a Tripartite and a cost sharing arrangement for an ongoing underwater search for MH370.

When the Malaysian Government instituted an independent international Investigation Team known as The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370, Australia appointed an Accredited Representative from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The ATSB opened an External Aviation Investigation AE-2014-054, and the ATSB's role has been to assist the Malaysian Government’s Annex 13 safety investigation. The ATSB has been supported by other government agencies, companies and individuals.

Further detail is provided in articles indexed below:-

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Operational Search for MH370, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 3 October 2017