The terrible wait for news of Malaysia Airlines 370, a Boeing 777-200, continues.
At this stage, little is known, but the sudden disappearance of a modern airliner is distressing and ominous. There are no reports of an emergency call from the flight crew and the aircraft appears simply to have vanished off the radar early in its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Until its disappearance, and around the time it was over the sea close to Vietnam, the flight appears to have been progressing normally and weather in the area was reportedly good.
This points to something catastrophic happening. Officials will be considering a possible act of sabotage or terrorism. Or perhaps a catatrosphic structural failure.
The Boeing 777 has an excellent safety record; it has become a highly popular workhorse of airlines around the world with an unmatched efficiency and safety reputation.
Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record. The flag carrier began in 1947 as Malayan Airways, becoming Malaysia Airlines in 1987. Its worst-ever accident was back in 1977 when one of its 737s was hijacked and crashed, killing all 100 people onboard. Its last fatal crash was in 1995 when a Fokker 50 crashed on approach, killing 34 people.
The only certainty for now regarding Flight 370 is that the air transport industry will work together to ensure first that the aircraft is found and then that the cause of its disappearance is established and understood. No matter how long that takes, the answer to this perplexing and tragic event utlimately will be known.