Timeline: the hunt for flight MH370

Timeline: the hunt for flight MH370

HONG KONG - The search for Malaysia's missing plane shifted to a new patch of the remote Indian Ocean on Friday, with an international fleet of ships and aircraft racing to solve a mystery now approaching its third week.

Here is a timeline of major developments in the hunt for the Boeing 777:

Saturday March 8 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 takes off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 am, bound for Beijing. It vanishes from Malaysian civilian radar at 1:30 am, just before passing to Vietnamese air traffic control. It blips on military radars until 2:15 am, but that sighting is only later identified as flight MH370. - Vietnam launches a search operation that expands in the following days into a multinational hunt in the South China Sea. - Vietnamese planes spot two large oil slicks near the plane's last known location, but they turn out to be a false alarm. - It emerges that two passengers were travelling on stolen EU passports, fuelling speculation of a terrorist attack. The two Iranian men are later revealed as suspected illegal immigrants.

Sunday March 9 - Malaysia's air force chief says the plane may have turned back towards Kuala Lumpur for no apparent reason, citing radar data. - A Vietnamese plane spots possible debris off southwest Vietnam - another false alarm.

Monday March 10 - Malaysia sends ships to investigate a sighting of a possible life raft, but only flotsam is found.

Tuesday March 11 - The search area now includes land on the Malaysian peninsula, the waters off its west coast, and an area to the north of Indonesia's Sumatra island - all far from the flight's scheduled route.

Wednesday March 12 - Malaysia expands the search zone again to include the Malacca Strait off its west coast and the Andaman Sea north of Indonesia. - Malaysia's air force chief says an unidentified object was detected on military radar north of the Malacca Strait early Saturday, but says it is still being investigated.

Thursday March 13 - Chinese satellite images of suspected debris in the South China Sea are found to be yet another false lead.

Friday March 14 - The hunt spreads to the Indian Ocean after the White House cites "new information" that the jet may have flown on after losing contact.

Saturday March 15 - At a dramatic news conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announces that the plane appears to have been flown deliberately for hours, veering sharply off-route at roughly the same time that its communications system and transponder were manually switched off. - Satellite data now places the jet anywhere in one of two huge corridors of land and sea - a northern one stretching into Central Asia and a southern one swooping deep into the Indian Ocean. The search in the South China Sea is called off.

Sunday March 16 - As the number of countries involved in the search jumps to 26, suspicions focus on the pilot and co-pilot, with experts examining a flight simulator installed in the home of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

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