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Malaysia Air Flight 370: The Latest

The very latest on the Malaysian passenger liner Flight 370 that just vanished.

Indonesian Air Force officers examine a map of the Malacca Strait during a briefing following a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, at Suwondo air base in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 12, 2014.  (AP)

Indonesian Air Force officers examine a map of the Malacca Strait during a briefing following a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, at Suwondo air base in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. (AP)

Six days and counting, and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is still missing.  Gone.  Vanished.  No trace.  239 souls aboard, and no idea where they and the big Boeing 777 that was supposed to fly them to Beijing have gone.  As families anguish, the governments of Malaysia, Vietnam, China have begun to feud.  Reports of path and wreckage and radar and pings have come and gone.  Reports of the plane flying on for hours, to who-knows-where.  Every air transport mind in the world is fixated at this point.  We’ve got some of the best with us.  This hour On Point:  where is Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tom Costello, correspondent for NBC News. He covers aviation and transportation. (@tomcostellonbc)

Col. J.F. Joseph, retired U.S. Marine Crops Colonel. Deputy director of aviation for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Patrick Smith, blogger at “Ask The Pilot.” Author of “Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers and Reflections.” (@askthepilot)

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times:  Malaysia defends search for missing jet as cooperation falters — “As of sunset, the fifth day of the search had passed with investigators no closer to locating the aircraft. The length of the hunt has surpassed the 36 hours it took in 2009 to locate the first debris from an Air France flight from Rio De Janeiro to Paris that crashed into the Atlantic, a far deeper body of water than the Gulf of Thailand, where the Malaysian flight was last detected.

Wired: How It’s Possible to Lose An Airplane in 2014 – “Whatever happened, it happened quickly, aviation experts said, and catastrophically. The fact it happened over the ocean–presumably the South China Sea, but possibly the Gulf of Thailand–means it could be months or years before we know exactly what went wrong. The ocean is a very big place, and finding clues will be slow. It took investigators two years to recover the black box data recorder from Air France Flight 447, which went down over the Atlantic on June 1, 2009.”

Ask The Pilot: The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — “All we know for sure is that a plane went missing with no warning or communication from the crew. That the crash (assuming the plane did in fact go down) did not happen during takeoff or landing — the phases of flight when most accidents occur — somewhat limits the possibilities, but numerous ones remain. The culprit could be anything from sabotage to some kind of bizarre mechanical problem — or, as is so common in airline catastrophes, some combination or compounding of human error and/or mechanical malfunction.”

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