As it happened: Malaysia missing flight MH370 briefing

Key Points

  • China begins searching its territory for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
  • The plane went missing on 8 March with 239 people on board
  • Malaysian officials are trying to narrow the search area, which now covers about 2.24m square nautical miles (7.68m sq km)
  • Search efforts are focusing on two vast air corridors north and south of the plane's last known location. Malaysia says the plane was intentionally diverted
  • Relatives of the missing Chinese passengers threaten to start a hunger strike as they demand more information
  • All times GMT

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    Welcome to our live coverage as Malaysian authorities are shortly expected to hold a news conference about missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.


    The Malaysian government believes the plane was intentionally diverted and could have flown on either a northern or southern arc from its last known position in the Malacca Straits.

     Indonesian Air Force officer with ruler and map plots a flight path

    Search efforts are focused on two corridors - one stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and another from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean. Click here to find out more about how operations are being carried out.

    Australian Aviation

    tweets: AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) leads Indian Ocean search for #MH370 - pic of the @USNavy P-8A Poseidon arriving at Perth Airport today

    Agence France-Presse

    tweets: Australian authorities say searching for flight #MH370 in remote Indian Ocean like looking for 'needle in a haystack'

    Foreign editor @ABC Jon Williams

    tweets: Australians beginning #MH370 search in 1158 sq mile area, southwest of Perth. Involves US P-8 "Poseidon" sub hunter.

    CCTV News

    tweets: Chinese ambassador to Malaysia: China has begun searching within its territory of the northern corridor. #MH370


    Investigators are looking into the possibility that the aircraft's crew - or other individuals on the plane - were involved in its disappearance. China says that based on background checks, there is no evidence to suggest that the 153 mainland Chinese passengers on the plane were involved in hijacking or launching a terror attack.


    The Malaysian minister of transport opens the press conference, saying that the search has taken on "a new international dimension".


    The minister says that the search is now focused on four main points:

    1. Gathering information from satellite surveillance
    2. Analysing radar information
    3. Additional deployments of air and surface teams
    4. Increase the number of technical experts

    The entire search area is now 2.24million square nautical miles, the transport minister says.

    The Straits Times

    tweets: Malaysia opposition leader Anwar admits #MH370 pilot is his relative


    The last known position of the plane was in either the northern or the southern corridor, he says.


    The US, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, UAE and China are all deploying ships or aircraft to help in the search. In total 25 countries are now involved in operations, Malaysia says.


    Among the 239 people on board flight MH370 was a party of Chinese calligraphers and a couple returning to their young sons. Here are some of their stories.

    American Philip Wood

    Malaysia has also asked its foreign partners to take another look at their satellite data.

    Opposition leader in Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim

    tweets: Blog: MH370 - Desperate attempt by the powers that be to drag me into it: MH370 - Desperate attempt by the powers that be to drag me into it #fb


    Now the Malaysian defence minister speaks. He says the search operation is "a very complex issue" because it involves so many countries with different technical abilities.


    "Our main objective is to locate where the aircraft is", he says, adding: "Politics is not important."

    Times columnist @VictoriaPeckham

    tweets: Am getting to stage in my MH370 obsession where I need to join a specialist conspiracy forum.


    China has previously accused Malaysian authorities of releasing confusing information about the aircraft's last sighting. There has been growing anger and frustration among relatives of missing passengers about the lack of knowledge regarding flight MH370's fate.


    tweets: Short version of the Malaysia press conference on the missing plane: "We don't have a clue what really happened" #MH370

    TV journalist in London, Will Tooke

    tweets: #MH370 press conf - again, 'don't make the search political' - perhaps a euphemism for 'don't criticize the government's response'?


    Do the final communications from MH370 hold a clue? The BBC's transport correspondent traces its last known movements.


    Malaysian authorities confirm that the plane's Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was switched off at some point between 01:07 local time, "approximately when the aircraft reached the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, and the last ACARS transmission occurred - to 01:37, which was the next scheduled reporting time".

    Marion Doyle, in Ireland

    tweets: @SkyNews Checking every half hour hoping for good news on MH370 or any news at this stage :((


    Investigators still believe "the aircraft's movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane", the transport minister has said.


    Authorities tell the press that they cannot comment on the specifics of the ongoing investigation into the passengers and crew of MH370.


    Malaysia's defence minister says that the ACARS data implies the plane's movements were deliberate.


    Malaysian authorities say they have contacted every country with relevant satellite data and asked for deep sea detection help to find the missing plane.


    Australia is leading search efforts along the southern arc from MH370's last known location.

    Australia search team

    "All efforts are being used to reduce the [search] area," the transport minister insists.


    Search efforts are focused on two corridors - one stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and another from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean.

    MH370 search graphic

    The CEO of Malaysia Airlines, who is also part of the press conference, says the company has been in close contact with the relatives of missing Chinese passengers.


    Earlier, Chinese families in Beijing vented their anger during a meeting with representatives sent by Malaysia Airlines on Tuesday, and demanded to see the Malaysian ambassador.

    "You're always going back and forth," one man said. "I think your government knows in their heart why we want you to answer us. Because you're always tricking us, telling us lies."


    Some Chinese family members have even threatened to go on hunger strike until the Malaysian government tells them what happened to the plane.


    The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has raised the disturbing question of how a modern aircraft packed with communications equipment can apparently vanish without trace. So how do you track a plane?

    MSN UK's Duncan Hooper

    tweets: At last, a theory about MH370 that is actually believable (and some more that aren't)


    The transport minister refuses to answer questions with regards to the fact that one of the pilots, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, is an in-law relative of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. "I will not go down that line of questioning," Hishammuddin Hussein tells journalists.


    The Malaysian transport minister says he has spoken to US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel about the use of satellite data in the plane search.


    Malaysia's minister of defence, acting transport minister and foreign minister say efforts are continuing to reduce the search area.

    Malaysia"s Minister of Defence, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (C) and Malaysia"s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (R)

    The press conference has wrapped up, leaving many questions unanswered. The Malaysian authorities were unable to comment on the ongoing investigation into the passengers and flight crew, or narrow down the location of the plane.


    Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said the searchers would re-examine previous information collected by China's sophisticated satellite and radar network. The same technology will be used to comb Chinese territory for current signs of the Boeing 777.


    Meanwhile, Chinese officials in Beijing have also held a press conference. They said that at Malaysia's request, China is using high-resolution satellites and radar to search the vast Chinese section of a northern air corridor the Malaysians believe might have been one of the plane's possible routes.

    Reporting on #Malaysia for @ChannelNewsAsia, Sumisha Naidu,

    tweets: The press conference is now over. We had some bizarre questions - from @anwaribrahim to Transport Min's family link to Prime Minister #MH370


    Checks into the background of all the Chinese nationals on board the missing Malaysian jetliner have uncovered no links to terrorism, the Chinese ambassador in Kuala Lumpur said on Tuesday.

    Messages of support for passengers onboard MH370

    Malaysia says the plane was intentionally diverted and could have flown on either a northern or southern arc from its last known position in the Malacca Straits. But how easy is it to change a flight path? The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes found out how by going inside a cockpit simulator. You can watch the video here.

    3 News Political Editor, Patrick Gower

    tweets: Intense experience reporting on the MH370 families conference in Beijing today. Click here for the story.


    Relatives of the missing Chinese passengers are threatening to go on a hunger strike if the Malaysian authorities do not provide them with more accurate information on the search efforts. This woman is holding a sign saying: "Hunger strike protest, Respect life, Return my relative, Don't want become victim of politics, Tell the truth."

    A relative of a Chinese passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 shows a paper reading "Hunger strike protest, Respect life, Return my relative, Don"t want become victim of politics, Tell the truth"

    You can read the latest statement from the Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein in full here. In it he says the Malaysian authorities along with multinational teams have been trying to narrow the search areas.

    Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein
    11:26: Pilot Chris Goodfellow

    blogs on Google+: A lot of speculation about MH370. Terrorism, hijack, meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN - almost disturbing. I tend to look for a more simple explanation of this event... Read Chris' story here.

    11:42: Jonathan Head BBC News, Bangkok

    tweets: #Thai air force takes 10 days to acknowledge it did track #MH370 turning west - makes Malaysian government look swift. Click here for the report.


    Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has condemned speculation that the captain of the missing aircraft may have had political motives to sabotage the plane, AFP news agency says. Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah is reportedly a supporter and distant relative of the politician. Mr Anwar said he was "disgusted" by what he saw as an attempt to smear the pilot, the AFP report says.

    BBC News website reader

    texts: Every passenger should be more thoroughly checked, especially if they purchase one way tickets in cash... This must be treated as a threat to world security as I am sure it is.


    The investigative spotlight has focused on the pilot and co-pilot since Malaysian officials said they believed the plane was deliberately diverted by someone on board. But Chris Nissen, a close friend of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, said his friend wouldn't have done anything to jeopardise the safety of the passengers. He said: "I think he would do anything he could to preserve the lives of his passengers, the cargo, the property of Malaysia Airlines. He was very proud of that company and he would've done anything for them."

    Anna Tian

    comments on the BBC News Facebook page: I just hope tomorrow when I wake up see news headline change to 'We found MH370. All passengers are safely landed'. Prayers and thoughts with these families.

    12:26: The New York Times' Matthew Wald and Michael Schmidt

    quote officials saying that instead of manually operating the plane's controls, whoever altered flight MH370's path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer. You can read their story here - Lost Jet's Path Seen as Altered via Computer.


    Paintings for passengers on board the missing flight are on display at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

    Paintings for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane are pasted on a wall at viewing gallery at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, 18 March 2014

    A multitude of theories about the plane's fate are circulating on forums and social media. The BBC has spoken to former pilots and aviation experts to examine 10 of those theories here.


    We are wrapping up our live coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight now. You can carry on following all the latest updates on the main BBC News pages.


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