Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Saturday, March 8.
It left Kuala Lumpur around at 00:41 (03:41 AEST) Saturday morning and was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 06:30 (03:30 AEST).
Malaysian authorities say they lost contact with the plane at 01:07 (04:07 AEST).
The flight slipped off radar screens between Malaysia’s east coast and southern Vietnam, near the IGARI waypoint.
The last communication from the plane’s cockpit were these words: “All right, good night”. It is unclear who uttered these words.
There were no distress signals from the plane before it disappeared.
The Malaysian PM today announced that new data shows the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 crashed into the ocean.
“Its last position was in the middle of the India Ocean west of Perth,” Razak said.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing site.”
“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that according to this new data flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”
What kind of search effort is under way?
Search efforts are now focused on an area in the southern Indian Ocean. Australian, French and Chinese satellites have detected objects that could be possibel debris in the the region, which is around 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth.
Bad weather has hampered the search and countries including China, the US, Australia and Japan have sent aircraft and ships to search for the wreckage.
Since the plane went missing on March 8, several countries have spotted possible debris floating in the ocean but nothing has been confirmed as wreckage from MH370.
READ MORE: Full coverage of the MH370 story
The initial search area was in the South China Sea between the east coast of Malaysia and the South China Sea.
The search area has been expanded several times. The first included a wider area of the South China Sea as well as land in and around western Malaysia. The second search area widened to a 100 nautical mile (185 km) radius around the last known radar location.
Now authorities have expanded the search area to cover 8,000 kilometres focusing on a northern and southern flight corridor.
The northern corridor strecthes from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand. Meanwhile, the southern corridor is border by Indonesia and the southern Indian Ocean.
Source: Malaysian government, Reuters
Who was on board?
On board the flight were 239 passengers and crew members, including six Australians and two New Zealanders.
Two passengers onboard were using stolen passports, which fuelled suggestions that terrorism was behind the plane’s disappearance but it’s now believed the pair were asylum seekers, who have no links to terror organisations.
What are some of the theories about the plane’s fate?
There have been several theories as to what has caused the disappearance of flight MH370 including bad weather, pilot suicide, technical failure and a terrorism plot.
US authorities investigating the dissapearance have recently focused their recent efforts on the plane’s pilots.
Speaking on Fox News, US Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul said there were many pieces of information which pointed to the pilot and co-pilot.
“I think from all the information I’ve been briefed on from, you know, high levels within homeland security, national counter-terrorism centre, intelligence community, that something was going on with the pilot,” he said.
“I think this all leads towards the cockpit, with the pilot himself, and co-pilot.”
Malaysian authorities have launched a fullscale criminal probe, expanded the search area, and searched the homes of both pilots, examining the captain’s home flight simulator.
Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said here was evidence to suggest that someone on board had deliberately diverted the plane and switched off its communication systems but said investigators were not ruling anything out.
“Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear, we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path,” he said.