Timeline: The hunt for flight MH370

Timeline: The hunt for flight MH370
A giant screen shows the number of hours since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing, in Beijing.

KUALA LUMPUR - The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 entered its fourth day on Tuesday. Here is a timeline of the main developments since the Boeing 777 vanished early Saturday with 239 people on board, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing:

Saturday, March 8

- Malaysia Airlines says the plane lost contact with air traffic control at around 1.30am, about an hour after take-off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Initially, authorities had put the last contact time at 2.40am.

- Vietnam says the plane went missing in its airspace. It launches a search operation that expands into a huge international hunt in the South China Sea - now involving 41 ships and 36 aircraft from Southeast Asian countries, Australia, China, New Zealand and the United States.

- Tearful relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers gather at a Beijing hotel, criticising Malaysia Airlines over a lack of information.

- Late evening, Vietnam says its planes have spotted two large oil slicks near the plane's last known location and sends boats to the area, but they find no sign of the plane.

- It also emerges that two passengers on board were travelling on EU passports that were stolen in Thailand, fuelling speculation of a terrorist attack.

Sunday, March 9

- Malaysia says it is probing a possible terror link to the jet's disappearance. The US sends FBI agents to assist in the investigation.

- Malaysia says the plane may have turned back towards Kuala Lumpur, for no apparent reason.

- Late Sunday, a Vietnamese plane spots possible debris in the sea near Tho Chu island, part of a small archipelago off southwest Vietnam. It proves a false alarm.

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