For Malaysia Airlines, an unsolved mystery and an uncertain future

For Malaysia Airlines, an unsolved mystery and an uncertain future
A board bearing solidarity messages is seen during a gathering to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur on March 6, 2015.

SINGAPORE - What happened to the Malaysia Airlines jetliner that vanished a year ago while flying over the South China Sea? No one knows.

The Boeing 777, with 239 passengers and crew aboard, last made voice contact with air traffic control at 1:19 a.m., March 8, 2014, while over the South China Sea. That was less than an hour after takeoff. The plane, on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, then changed course. Malaysian military radar tracked it as it crossed the Malay Peninsula over the Andaman Sea.

MH370 was eventually piloted out of the Malaysian military's radar range. Where it ended up remains one of aviation's biggest mysteries.

A search is ongoing. But Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia, which is leading the effort at the behest of Malaysia, recently cautioned that the operation could be scaled down. On March 5, he told parliament he could not promise that the search "will go on at this intensity forever."

The Malaysian government has concluded that all passengers and crew are dead. But no bodies, nor even a trace of debris, has ever been spotted.

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