Key numbers in the mystery of flight MH370

2017-01-17 14:58
People attend a press conference organised by an organisation representing the relatives of missing MH370 passengers, on December 5 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. (Rijsalo, AFP)

People attend a press conference organised by an organisation representing the relatives of missing MH370 passengers, on December 5 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. (Rijsalo, AFP)

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Canberra - The Indian Ocean search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been suspended almost three years after the Boeing 777 vanished. Here's a look at some numbers associated with the tragic mystery:

40: Number of minutes Flight 370 had been flying before air traffic control lost contact with the plane on March 8, 2014. The plane was on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing when it disappeared from radar and communications and went off course for reasons that remain unknown. Investigators used automatic signals sent to a satellite to determine the plane had flown thousands of miles to the eastern Indian Ocean before crashing.

239: Lives lost in the disaster — 227 passengers and 12 crew. Most of the victims — 152 — were Chinese.

3: Countries most involved in the search: Malaysia, China and Australia. The plane is believed to have crashed closest to Australia's shores.

27: Number of months spent on the search, which took longer than initially expected, mainly because of hostile winter weather.

$160 MILLION: Amount of money spent on the search. Australia has agreed to pay $60 million and China $20 million. Malaysia has paid $80 million and has agreed to pay the balance of the final search cost.

120 000: Size of search area in square kilometers. The search initially only covered half as much ocean, but an announcement was made on the first anniversary of the tragedy that the search area would be doubled.

1 800: Distance in kilometers from the search area to the search ships' port in Fremantle, Australia. Traveling between the two takes a week.

4.6 MILLION: Area in square kilometers of the Indian Ocean's surface that was searched — fruitlessly — by ship and plane.

MORE THAN 20: Pieces of debris confirmed or thought to have come from the plane since a wing flap was found on a west Indian Ocean island in July 2015.

25 000: Size, in square kilometers, of the area immediately to the north of the search zone that experts now believe is the most likely place for the plane to have crashed.

A December report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau based that conclusion largely on ocean drift analysis of recovered debris. There are no plans to actually search this area. Australia, Malaysia and China previously agreed to search beyond the search zone only if credible evidence identifies the aircraft's specific location.

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