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March 25, 2014

Malaysian officials say Flight 370 “ended” in southern Indian Ocean


Officials announced Monday that new data shows that Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 almost certainly crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean, killing all passengers onboard.

The new data came from British firm Inmarsat, and reportedly shows the final satellite ping from the plane west of Perth, Australia, flying south, meaning the plane was surely lost.

Officials have not yet pinpointed the exact location of the crash, though an Australian air force plane spotted four pieces of debris. They dropped smoke to alert others and photographed the evidence.

Based on those possible sightings, MH370 crashed 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth, 43 degrees south of the equator. It is an area long known to mariners as the “Roaring 40s” because of its unpredictable eddies and sudden violent storms.

When Air France Flight 447 was lost in the Atlantic, it took two years to find the fuselage. With nothing but computer models of currents, submarines had to map the sea floor to locate the plane and its data recorders.

Warm up questions
  1. Where is Malaysia?
  2. Where is the Indian Ocean?
  3. What are some ways that pilots communicate with the air traffic controllers?
Discussion questions 
  1. Why did the Malaysian Prime Minister announce that the plane almost certainly crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean more than two weeks after the plane disappeared? Why now? Why not earlier?
  2. The families of the victims of the plane crash were given the news through a text from the Malaysian government. What are the risks and benefits of revealing the news this way?
  3. Will it be possible to find the missing plane? Who should be responsible for the mission and how long should they look?
  4. How has the weather impacted the search for the missing aircraft?
Writing prompt

Put yourself in the shoes of a family member who lost a loved on Flight 370. In a narrative essay, reflect on how the situation was handled, what questions you still have and how you are going to move forward.

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